Art exhibition: The Printing Girls, At The Table, April 17 to -May 8, 2021, Spin Street, Cape Town

At The Table- exhibition by The Printing Girls…a collective of female printers

Opens 11am Saturday April 17, 2021 at 11am
Where: Spin Street Gallery, Cape Town
On until: May 8, 2021
Closing event: Finissage on May 8- 11am to 1pm. This ‘finishing’ wrap up event will include taking the first print of a collaborative table block that will be carved by the participating artists during the exhibition

The Printing Girls #printlikeagirl

Instagram: theprintinggirls

This exciting exhibition, opens today, April 17, 2021 and runs until May 8 at The Spin Street Gallery. The Printing Girls was established in 2016, with three members and now has about 60 female print makers in the collective. Founder, Amy Jane van den Bergh explains: “Initially the group was started because there were six of us female print makers who graduated from Rhodes University’s Print department in 2009. Although we all had printmaking in our veins and desperately wanted to be full time artists and found it overwhelming and challenging to ‘get out there’. By joining forces we not only kept our tight knit university bond growing, but we also found such strength in supporting each other, and it made pursuing art exhibitions, galleries, fairs, seem more attainable. Together we could make our way through the SA art landscape. We very quickly realised that we wanted to expand and not just be the girls from Rhodes Uni. So we have been opening our doors annually for new members to join. This is possibly my favourite part of running TPG- meeting new printmakers from around the country. Our hope is to be a supportive, inclusive, demographic community consisting of every single female printmaker in South Africa. 

Our name, “The Printing Girls” was deliberately chosen by the three of us who started together. We had felt that we were never quite taken seriously because we were young female print makers. We knew we had a strength in who we were AS women, and so we decided to provocatively name ourselves the printing GIRLS, as opposed to women or the Female Printmakers. Along with phrases like, “You throw like a girl” or stereotypical expectations of girls to be giggly, or bossy, we thought, well, if you’re going to treat us like girls, let us show you REALLY how to ‘Print like a GIRL”. Behind every exhibition we have this attitude of wanting to show the audience that we are capable of producing artwork of exceptionally high standards both conceptually and technically. At the same time we show our capability to make our way through an oftentimes labour intensive, painstakingly challenging, body-breaking medium of expression. Printmaking is not for the feint of heart – and The Printing Girls are a force to be reckoned with. During Covid is was especially special realising what a powerful community we have become, and how even though we may feel isolated and lonely in our studios, or perhaps even unable to get to a studio, we have the emotional and technical support from every single member. We are in this together.”

Read below about The Table. Info as supplied:

Contact for more information: Laurel Holmes 082 480 4210
Opening: Saturday 17 April 11h00-15h00
17 April to 8 May 2021
The Printing Girls, Cape Town

Participating printers:

Mariette Momberg, Natasha Norman, Neeske Alexander, Noeleen Kleve, Yolanda Warnich, Emma Willemse, Georgina Berens,
Kristen McClarty, Laurel Holmes, Lucy Stuart-Clark, Marelise van Wyk

Finissage: Saturday 8 May. 11h00-13h00. This event will include taking the first print of a collaborative table block that will be carved by the participating artists during the exhibition.

Spin Street Gallery 

Closed Sundays and public holidays
Saturday 10h00-14h00
Monday to Friday 10h00-16h00
Spin Street Gallery, 6 Spin Street

“At The Table” takes the symbolism of the table as a means to investigate themes of homemaking embedded in artistic concerns with history, family and ecology. The individual interests of each Cape Town member of The Printing Girls is curated into a
contemplation of place, considering how the act of gathering around the table shapes the landscape of our city both literally and metaphorically, historically and ecologically in the gathering of lives at the foot of Table Mountain.

The table is a piece of furniture that manifests so many transient experiences in the home or workplace. It is the site of gathering where a community comes to eat, to talk, to work or to pray. An heirloom table is usually wooden in material: strong, supportive and marked in its woodgrain by the stains and scratchings of a family or trade. It seems metaphorical then,that the mountain around which Cape Town is nestled is called a table as well. Weatherfronts that generate deep mists which cover the mountain top are referred to as ‘the table cloth’, one of a multitude of weather systems particular to the region that has meant a unique fynbos biome is able to flourish along the greater Table Mountain escarpment.

Historically, Table Mountain has been a striking landmark to the arrival of ships bringing traders, colonialists, frontiersmen and refugees from abroad. The Hoerikwagga or ‘mountain in the sea’ is the geographical marker of a cosmopolitan melting pot of culture, marked by a history of oppression, liberation, tourism and ecology.

The Printing Girls is a collective of women printmakers with diverse interests. ‘At The Table’ showcases the work of the Cape Town based members of this collective with a focus on the variety of approaches that printmaking can encompass. Workshops in print techniques and demonstrations of various print processes will be on offer during the duration of the exhibition. In addition to this, the collective will be collaboratively carving a table top in the gallery and releasing an edition of prints from its surface at the end of the show.

The Printing Girls: The collective’s founder, Amy Jane van den Bergh, working in her studio. Supplied.

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