Chloe Barnes (b. 1996) is a Bristol-based contemporary artist who explores emotion and perception of through monoprinting. She is particularly interested in how she could alter the perception of her subjects by incorporating masks, costumes and anthropomorphic characteristics to evoke a deeper sense of storytelling. These ‘stories’ are inspired by personal experiences, found photography, mythology and folklore.
In January 2023, Chloe exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artist’s Annual Exhibition, where she won the Hahnemühle Fine Art Award.
Chloe creates her monotypes by first applying ink onto a metal or perspex plate. She uses light and dark field techniques to create her image – this typically involves juggling from brushes, rollers and scrim to paint and wipe ink from her plate. Once happy with the painted image, Chloe places dampened paper on top before running them through an etching press.
Whilst this process transfers the ink to the new surface, the result is unpredictable as the image is ‘destroyed’ from the plate simultaneously. As a result, unlike other printmaking techniques (which can produce multiple), only one print can be made of the image, hence ‘mono’-type. With only several hours to paint and print, the process is spontaneous and intuitive, producing energetic and expressive imagery.
When it comes to paper, Hahnemühle Museum Etching Paper (300gsm) is one of Chloe’s go-tos. As ink tends to be thicker on the plate, compared to etching or lithography, it’s necessary to select thick paper to avoid tearing – 300gsm is a reliable and a strong enough weight to prevent this! It is also worth noting that when used for monoprinting, Hahnemühle requires less time to soak when compared to its use in etching – this is because the fibres do not need to press into incisions made in the plate.
The main reason why Chloe loves this paper is that it picks up ink beautifully, displaying a subtle range of tones and brush marks – perfect for capturing the emotional nuances in her monotypes.