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Item Name: Print
Title: Sunflower
Maker: Shirley Wales
Year: 1963
Country: Canadian
Materials: etching
Measurements: in frame: 48 cm x 72 cm; work: 29.8 cm x 50.8 cm
ID Number: ART 007
Legal Status: ART RENTAL

Extended Label Info: Using the image of a sunflower as a starting point, Shirley Wales created this abstracted pattern using the print-making process of etching. Wales spent time at Atelier 17, the celebrated print studio in Paris. Established by S. W. Hayter, the central philosophy of this studio was the belief that printmaking could be more than a "reproductive" art; it could be a medium for creative expression. It was a collaborative atmosphere as techniques, imagery, and methods were freely shared by the studio artists. In addition to intaglio techniques (etching, engraving, and drypoint), they developed new methods of printing, such as soft-ground etching, and simultaneous color printing. Hayter also incorporated ideas from Surrealism, such as developing imagery through “psychic automatism”, a method of drawing without conscious planning. Wales used this approach to image making, and experimented with multi-coloured, textured prints, often overlapping colours to create visual rhythm and geometric patterns. Shirley Wales (1931 – 1978) was both a sculptor and a printmaker, known internationally for her work in etching. Born and raised in Montreal, Wales studied with the painter Ethel Seath, and at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal from 1949-51. In 1954, Wales travelled to Paris and studied at Académie Julian, Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and most influentially, at the Atelier 17 with Stanley William Hayter. In 1956, Wales obtained her own printing press and continued to experiment in deep-relief copper etching. During the early 1960s, Wales invited a new generation of Quebec printmakers, including Richard Lacroix and Albert Dumouchel, to travel to Paris and study at Hayter's printmaking studio. In 1962, Wales and Lacroix helped to organize the International Printmakers in Paris exhibition which later toured Canada. In 1967, her work was featured in the exhibition, “Eleven Canadian Printmakers” which toured in the United States. From 1965 until her death in 1978, Wales resided in England. Her artwork has been featured internationally, and is held in numerous private and public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada and the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris, France.