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Greg Fuller, Technical Demonstrator in the University’s Department of Art and Design, took part in The Common Ground Project, which explored the idea of collaboration between printmakers. Three artists, who all make work from the landscape, using walking, drawing and print, decided to explore the same subject. Using the River Mersey, they each took the others to areas that inspired them for walks, taking the other two out of their usual routine. The walks and conversations became integral to the pieces that each individual produced. The pieces from the project, produced by Greg, along with artists Tracy Hill and Jason Hicklin were exhibited at The Brindley, in Halton and Editions Gallery, Liverpool in the North West of England.

The trio were then invited by Lisa Heaton, who owns the Curve Gallery in Newcastle, New South Wales, to explore the Hunter Estuary in Australia. This residency took place in collaboration with the Lock Up arts centre NSW in December 2016. It included an exhibition at the Curve, of work produced about the Mersey, work produced for an exhibition entitled Breath, at the Lock Up, followed by a symposium at which they were the key note speakers. There were also talks and demonstrations to Australian printmakers at Newcastle printmakers and the TAFE (a technical college).

The research gathered from the 2016 trip, fed into new work referencing the Hunter Estuary and Australian landscape which was created on returned to the UK. These pieces made up the exhibitions shown in at the Curve Gallery and The University of Newcastle Gallery in New South Wales earlier this year.  

Greg’s work included screen prints and collagraphs depicting comparative images of the Mersey and the Hunter rivers, Jason’s etchings and monotypes as well as Tracy’s etchings and woodblocks.

Greg said: “Having travelled to the other side of the world, I expected to find a landscape and culture so alien to my own and wasn’t disappointed. The majesty and beauty of the natural environment, fauna and flora left me lost for words. The constant sunshine and clear blue skies that intensified the colours left me lost for ways to describe it.

“As time went on, the warmth and sincerity of the people we met made me recognise a sense of home. From the shared heritage of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Runcorn Bridge, to the Anglican Cathedral, watching over the dependable ferry, dodging the tugs and ships. The reality of a working port creates a similar ebb and flow of honest lives lived by the river. From the culture this creates, I found common ground between the Mersey and the Hunter.”

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