Robert Sargent Austin (1895 – 1973)
Austin was born in Leicester and studied at the local art school before taking up a place at the Royal College of Art, where he was later to become a tutor in engraving before taking over the Professorship of the Graphic Department. His prints of the 1920s and 30s were admired for their simplicity and clean lines and he led the revival of interest in engraving in Britain during the inter-war years. Austin found inspiration in the everyday – domestic scenes, landscapes, animals and still lifes – but his taut line and controlled composition impart a sense of hypertension to even the most serene setting. To make an engraving the artist uses a sharp tool (a burin) to cut a design into a metal plate, ink is then driven into the cut lines and printed. A major exhibition of Austin’s prints and drawings was shown at the Royal Academy, London in 2009.
Thresholds, British Council 2010
The arrangement of elements or details in an artefact or a work of art.
An intaglio process whereby lines are cut into a metal or wood plate using an engraving tool (a burin), which is pushed in front of the hand to achieve a sharp controlled incision capable of great delicacy. This technique requires a great deal of control and is not suited to spontaneous mark-making.
Metal is a medium frequently used by artists to make art works - from sculpture to printmaking. Surfaces can display an array of colours and textures, and are capable of being polished to a high gloss; metal can be melted, cast, or fused, hammered into thin sheets, or drawn into wire.