Gabriel's Wharf and Covid-19: Rebecca Denton, Southbank Printmakers

Flight II

Rebecca Denton, an artist at Southbank Printmakers in Gabriel's Wharf, has written a blog for our series about the impact that Covid-19 has had on her over the past 18 months. 

My name is Rebecca Denton and I’m a painter/printmaker and member of an artist collective called Southbank Printmakers Gallery (founded 20 years ago) based in the quirky, beautiful, and interesting Gabriel’s Wharf on London’s South Bank. 

I make narrative etchings and large one-offs of people and places. My work sells around the world and I exhibit all over the UK; my prints have a permanent home in Gabriel’s Wharf. It’s great to have an all-year-round exhibition space in the heart of London.

There’s an intimacy in the size of the gallery. It’s a place where the public can meet with the artists and often be the first to see new work, fresh off the press. There’s a real mix of techniques and styles and our members range from established names to emerging talent, all producing high quality handmade prints - meaning no digital reproductions.

It’s no secret that the last 18 months have been challenging. Juggling kids, a husband and my own work at home has been interesting! 

During the lockdowns, I missed the contact with fellow printmakers (it’s a lonely business being an artist) but I was lucky to have a small studio space at home, so I could continue working. It did mean getting up earlier some days just to get some quiet time.

I had to adapt my practice a bit and experiment with alternative techniques as I don’t keep the chemicals for acid etchings at home.  

I started making more drypoint engravings (a direct, acid-free etching process) and monotypes, one-off paintings on steel or perspex, pulled through the etching press. 

During lockdowns I sketched outside more, often feeling like a stalker as I hurriedly drew walkers, dog walkers and runners, from behind. 

With more time at home, I started to teach myself how to film the printmaking process, playing with camera angles and light; I became a bit too obsessed with Instagram reels. I love editing clips to music. My kids tell me I’m on my phone too much and it has got to the point of hiding in the loo so I can finish a Reel!

I’m so pleased that Southbank Printmakers Gallery is open and busy again. We managed to keep it going online but it’s not the same as having a real live gallery, meeting and talking to people and seeing the original prints on the walls. Since restrictions have been lifted, people are coming out again, enjoying the outdoor eateries and music and we’ve had a good flow of visitors and sales. 

For many people of course there’s an expected caution but overwhelmingly there’s an energy and buzz in Gabriel’s wharf again. It feels good to be back!

See her page on the Southbank Printmakers website here
See her Instagram here