This print was published by Edinburgh Printmakers and was the result of a curatorial project, An indirect exchange of uncertain value, developed with Collective gallery in Edinburgh in 2011. In producing this print Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan were keen to push conventions in as many aspects as possible, with carefully considered clashes in style, technique and content.
The pair went against printmaking conventions by combining screenprint and etching into a single work – two distinct methodologies which are traditionally very separate practices. Stylistically the ‘clip art’ nature of the parrot clashes with the more ‘authentic’ drawing of the figure (by artist Simon Manfield), while the constructed phrase ‘an indirect exchange of uncertain value’ contrasts with the found text of the parrot’s speech. These textual elements have an abstract quality but suggest a narrative taking place, which is left unresolved for the viewer.
The artificial frame adds another layer to the viewer’s interaction with the image, and is designed to be deliberately problematic. The frames is screenprinted as a dot matrix, which has been exaggerated to draw attention to this particular printmaking process and provide yet another contrast to the parrot screen print and etching.
Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan have worked collaboratively since 1995. They have exhibited widely, including group exhibitions at the Musee d’Art Contemporaine, Lyon (2009), Frankfurter Kunstverein (2008), Villa Arson, Nice (2007) and in 2005 they represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale. Their solo projects include You can take it as a thing or you can take it as a thing at La Salle de Bain, Lyon (2009), Direct serious action is thereforenecessary at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts (2010) and An indirect exchange of uncertain value – a curatorial project developed with Collective in Edinburgh that positioned artworks by themselves and others in relation to the context of Fettes College, one of Scotland’s most well-known independent schools.