Garden (Working Title)
November 3, 2023 – November 7, 2023
Drop-in Conversation with Jillian Ross and Brendan Copestake
Saturday, November 4, 2023
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Free to attend, no RSVP required
Please join us in person at Open Studio for a drop-in conversation with Jillian Ross and Brendan Copestake as they discuss their collaborative printmaking process and work.
In 2024 in Aix-en-Provence, France, William Kentridge will be presenting a new theatrical production titled The Great Yes, The Great No. The production follows a boat trip from Marseille to Martinique – a small island that was an important site for many well-known figures including Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, André Breton and Josephine Baker. Using the potential of the boat as a metaphor for power, trade and migration, the production will draw on many of the processes and methodologies that have become central to Kentridge’s work.
Jillian Ross has been working closely with Kentridge since February 2023 to develop a new print series in response to this stage production and will be showing these working proofs at Open Studio. The prints are jungle-like scenes, which began as ink drawings and collages from one of the many backdrops of The Great Yes, The Great No, and are layered with insightful texts that relate to many of the production’s themes.
One of the prints, at 55” x 63”, is too large to make as a single print and is therefore made from 12 overlapping prints, which are tabbed and pinned together to form the final artwork. Techniques used include photogravure, photopolymer, drypoint, aquatint, hand-painting and chine collé, and the work is printed on Gampi, Hahnemühle and found dictionary papers.
A similar large-scale print by Kentridge and Ross titled The Old Gods Have Retired was co-published with the David Krut Workshop in 2023. It forms part of the Studio Life Gravures series, which gives insight into Kentridge’s studio practice. Some of the smaller prints from this series will also be shown at Open Studio.
Both these print projects, created in collaboration between Ross and Kentridge, involved multiple studios and skilled technicians to develop from beginning to end. Studios include the printmaking department at the University of Alberta (photogravure experts Steven Dixon and Luke Johnson) in Edmonton; Cone Editions (photopolymer expert Nathanael Kooperkamp) in Vermont; the team at David Krut Workshop (Sbongiseni Khulu, Kim-Lee Loggenberg, Sarah Judge and Roxy Kaczmarek) in Johannesburg; with Ross and Kentridge in studio resolving the prints to a finished state.
The importance of collaborative printmaking is highlighted throughout this process of making and co-publishing from conception all the way through to the editioning of the final print. Included in this life-cycle are platforms such as Open Studio, which help showcase and demonstrate this way of working through exhibitions, educational talks and programs.
With almost 20 years’ experience in professional printmaking, fine art and exhibitions, Jillian Ross Print has a focus on many aspects of printmaking, including:
- Collaborative printmaking with Canadian and South African artists and print studios.
- Contemporary fine art print exhibition design and development with public institutions and private galleries.
- Print education through artist talks and in-person workshops.
Jillian Ross, a leading South African collaborative master printer, returned to Canada in 2020. Ross was Master Printer and Director at the David Krut Workshop (DKW) in Johannesburg, South Africa, for 16 years, working with over 100 celebrated South African and international artists in collaborative printmaking during that time.
Ross’ most notable ongoing collaboration exists with William Kentridge. Since 2006 Ross has collaborated with Kentridge in creating over 190 editions. Among them are three major bodies of work published by DKW: the Triumphs and Laments Woodcuts, a series of six life-size, multiple-plate woodcuts with collage (2016–2020); The Universal Archive https://www.jillianrossprint.com/universal-archive, a series of 75 linocuts on dictionary pages (2011–2014); and The Nose, a series of 30 etchings (2006–2010). More recently, through her own studio in Canada and co-published with DKW, Ross and Kentridge have produced The Studio Life Gravures (https://www.jillianrossprint.com/gravures), a series of 6 photogravures (2021-2023) and the large-scale print, The Old Gods Have Retired (https://www.jillianrossprint.com/old-gods).
Brendan Copestake has been actively involved in the arts in South Africa as a freelance project manger, designer and consultant for close on two decades through his company Parts&Labour (https://www.partsandlabour.co.za/). This has included work as the Technical Director for the Joburg Art Fair, various exhibitions for the Apartheid Museum, The Nelson Mandela Capture Site and The Javett Art Centre, as well as the management of numerous public art installations in Johannesburg.
Copestake project-managed the South African Pavilion ( at the Venice Biennale in 2015, 2017 and 2019, attracting critical acclaim for the 2017 installation featuring Candice Breitz and Mohau Modisakeng. Copestake currently manages Jillian Ross Print and oversees the publishing, operations and administrative needs of the business. Once in a while he rolls up his sleeves, get his hands dirty and helps Jill with printing.