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Behind the print: "The Space Between"

Stephen Robson’s abstract screenprints explore overlapping shapes and juxtapositions of colour. He has recently made a new set of prints called “The Space Between”, which he is showing in his featured artist show at Greenwich Printmakers.

Abstract overlapping semicircles and rectangles in grey, yellow, maroon and cyan
"The Space Between", screenprint by Stephen Robson

"The Space Between" screenprints play with overlapping colours and shapes. Where did the idea for these come from?

I am very pleased to be putting up a new set of prints produced as a series or variation on a simple set of shapes.

The early stages of this work were still life shapes cut out of card and collaged together. I saw these tiny Picasso collages that I had never seen before (he did so much work!).

A photo of a collage by Picasso, with gold, red, blue, black and cream pieces of paper and some gold lace that hangs like curtains
One of Picasso's collages

I had still life paintings and drawings in the studio and I started to look at combining them in different ways.

Some small abstract paintings with white, grey, coral and sky blue shapes
Some of Stephen's paintings

How do you go about making your screenprints?

To start the screenprints, I made cut-out paper stencils and these were transferred to a screen on the exposure unit.

Bits of cut-out paper stencils taped together
Making stencils for the screenprint

Once the stencils have been made, it is a fairly simple job to start printing and combining the different elements.

This series seems to explore layers of opaque and translucent colours. Is that something you have become particularly interested in?

One thing that I decided on with this series was to have a background colour. You will hardly notice it, but in daylight you can see it – an off-white background was printed first to make an edge to the image and emphasise the space around the shapes, hence the title “The Space Between”.

The layering of the colours is something that I used more effectively in these print than previously, and I really enjoyed seeing these come off the press.

Something I will be using more of, I hope.

Stephen’s featured artist show runs at Greenwich Printmakers from July 17-August 6, and his prints are in the gallery and in our online shop all year round. For more information, visit his artist’s page and his website.

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