British printmaker Matthew Tyson founded imprints studio in 1984 to promote and publish artists’ books and prints. Isabella Oulton joined him in 1991, the same year that they moved to Piégros, La Clastre in southeastern France. imprints has published books and prints by many international artists and writers, including: François Morellet, Bruce McLean, Jerome Rothenberg, Gottfried Honegger, Antoine Emaz, David Rabinowitch, Heiner Thiel, Stephen Chambers, and Jacques Jouet. Imprints works with artists and writers on a collaborative basis using relief printing and etching facilities at the imprints studio in the Drôme region of France.
Sky Blue Sky includes original prints and artists’ books by Matthew Tyson, as well as works done in collaboration with other artists at imprints. Several new works created in response to pieces from RAM’s Permanent Collection during an artists’ residency in Riverside are also be shown and have never before been exhibited.
Tyson has worked closely with RAM staff to select several pieces from the museum’s collection that connect with Tyson’s artistic influences (including British Romantic painter J.M.W. Turner and Japanese Ukiyo-e artist Andō Hiroshige) and the history and architecture of the RAM building, which was originally designed by Julia Morgan in 1929 as a Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). The selected collection pieces include 19th century prints after Turner, 16th century ornamental engravings by Daniel and Lambert Hopfer, 18th century architectural prints by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, and a 19th century Hiroshige woodblock print. These collection pieces are on display alongside the new works Tyson created in response to them during his residency in Riverside, as well as older collaborative works by Tyson. Tyson also integrates the specific history of the gallery in which the exhibition is held (which was formerly an indoor swimming pool), by creating an artistic representation of where the pool originally existed.