About Takahashi McGil and Emma Lawrenson: Balance and Form

Balance and Form brought together the complementary practices of exquisite woodworkers Takahashi McGil and the intuitive printmaking of Emma Lawrenson.

Emma Lawrenson explores the formal processes and techniques involved in screen printing, with particular emphasis on hand-drawn details combined with interactions of subtle colour. Minimal, abstract and understated in style, she takes inspiration from the rural Yorkshire landscape as well as artists such as Agnes Martin and the American Colour Field painters. With a carefully considered approach to form and space, Lawrenson creates a thoughtful and harmonious balance of colour, tone and shape. Her recent works are weighted towards a hand drawn element, using scraping and scratching to produce different textural surfaces within each print and sometimes working into them with white conte crayon or pencil. Each piece of work is hand printed, meticulously layered and built up the little by little; a labour-intensive process that is testament to the artist’s sincerity and craftsmanship.

Lawrenson has an MA in printmaking from Royal College of Art. Her work has been exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition multiple times, including the 2023 exhibition, and she has exhibited across the UK and Europe. Her work is held in collections internationally and she has been commissioned by organisations including Faber & Faber, Netflix, and NBC Universal.

Working from their studio in Cockington, Devon, husband and wife team Kaori Takahashi and Mark McGilvray work collaboratively on the creation of decorative vessels and functional homeware, formed from locally sourced sustainable hardwoods. Combining ancient Japanese traditions honed in Tokyo with Western techniques and hand tools, the pair work together to plane, chisel, turn, wax and lacquer the pieces. McGilvray works on the shape and form while Takahashi carves the surface, always celebrating the imperfections inherent in the materials used. Urushi laquering – a Japanese technique where several layers of lacquer are applied within a warm and humid wooden chamber – is often used to heighten the character and depth of a piece.

Members of Make Southwest, Takahashi McGil was formed after McGilvray and Takahashi graduated from Wimbledon School of Art, having studied sculpture and fine art respectively.

All works in this exhibition will be available to purchase exclusively at YSP Shop, in-person and online. YSP is a registered charity and your purchases help to support our work.

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