Julia Atkinson British, b. 1943


Screen printing was popularised as an artistic medium in the early 1960s by Andy Warhol who used the medium to capture the American post-war zeitgeist through now iconic works such as the 1962 Marilyn Diptych.


Although screen printing was taken up by prominent pop artists across the Atlantic such as Eduardo Paolozzi and Joe Tilson, in the same context the medium became associated with Op Art principally due to the popularity of artists including Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely.


Around the same time, Julia Atkinson became the first student at The Slade School of Fine Art to specialise in screen printing, and she won an award for her success with the medium.


Over the following decade, Atkinson's practice centred on the Interchange Series in which the artist's mastery of screen printing reaches its apex. By methodically experimenting with colour combinations within grid formats, and informed by a rigorous study of contemporary colour theory, Atkinson produced tantalising optical illusions that appear to shimmer and pulsate.


Even today, 50 years after they were produced, the screenprints retain their full vibrancy and emanate a futuristic energy, while recalling the techno-utopianism that defined the cultural landscape in the late 20th century.


Artist statement: 

Since early childhood I have looked at and collected objects for their colour, pattern and texture, and learning to draw heightened my ability to observe detail and structure. I naturally enjoyed creating new colours through mixing pigments but when I was twenty three I took this further by experimenting with optical colour mixing. Screen printing is the perfect technique for portraying pure flat colour. I experimented with printing and contrasting matt and shiny surfaces, on paper or on fabric, using stripes and geometric shapes and patterns.

- Julia Atkinson, 2013



Education & qualifications

1964 National Diploma in Painting & Printed Textiles, Canterbury College of Art
1967 Diploma in Painting, Slade, London University
1969 Higher Diploma in Printmaking, Slade, London University
1987 Diploma in Fine Art Textiles (Released from teaching for part time study), Goldsmiths College, London University

Solo exhibitions

1969 Collegiate Theatre, London
1970 Rourke Gallery, Minnesota
        Lewis & Clarke College, Oregon
1980 Rourke Gallery, Minnesota
        Stephen's College, Missouri
2000 Sidell Gibson Architects, London
2002 Black Swan Arts, Frome
2003 Invention Arts, Bath
        The Poetry Place, Covent Garden
2004 La Strada, Frome
        Portico Gallery, Salisbury
2005 Arc Theatre, Trowbridge
2006 Vogan's Mill, London
2007 Fat Fowl Restaurant, Bradford on Avon
2012 The Parlour, Frome
2013 Retrospection: a 50 Year Retrospective at the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath
        Urmson-Burnett Gallery & Studio, Salisbury

Group exhibitions

1966/7/8 Young Contemporaries, London
1967-87 Shows in England, France, Germany, Japan and the USA. Venues include: Barbican Concourse Gallery, National Theatre, Leighton House and the ICA London, Ikon Gallery Birmingham, 3 Dimensions Gallery California, Gallery U Japan
1970 Moorhead State University, Minnesota
1971 Portland Art Museum, Oregon
1973/4 London Group
1973/5 Space Open Studios London
1975 Whitechapel Gallery, London
1989-90 From Prism To Paintbox Touring Show, UK
1996 6 Chapel Row Gallery, Bath
        Bath Festival Fringe 
1997-99 Fibre Art Synergy Touring Show, France
2000 Bath Festival Fringe
        Etc Gallery, Soho
2001 Bath Festival Fringe
2002/3 Bath Arts Fair, BANA at the Hotbath Gallery
2003/5/7/9 Wylve Valley Arts Trail open studio
2004 St Algar's Yard, Frome
2005 Sherborne House Gallery
2008 Art and Architecture shop, Richmond
        BANA at the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institute
2014 The Plant Project, Young Gallery, Salisbury
2016 Trowbridge Arts Centre

International Biennales

1968 Bradford
1975 Ljubljana
1976 Biella, Frechen, Fredrikstad
1978 Krakow
1980 Krakow (Prize)
1983 Cabo Frio
1993 Veracruz Mexico
1996 1ere du Lin, Haute Normandie
1998 1st MX Espace, Barcelona
2000 2eme du Lin Contemporain, Paris


British Council, BP, Barnfield College, Cabo Frio, Eastern Arts, English Courtyard Assocciation, Form International, Government Art Collection, Krakow Museum, Lodz Museum, London Borough of Camden, National Bank of Canada, Salisbury Library & Galleries, The Slade, University College London, William Coldstream


1971 Lewis & Clarke College Mural 3m x 9m
1975-6 British Council Travelling Exhibition on the "Processes of Printmaking"
1975 Curated for the Medici Gallery, a show "4 Women Printmakers"
1977 Curated for the Plains Art Museum Minnesota, "11 British Printmakers"


1966/69 Slade Prize for Screen Printing
1967 Slade Prize for Painting
1967 Perugia Art School Scholarship

Teaching appointments

1969-70 Moorhead State University, Minnesota
1970-71 Lewis & Clarke College, Oregon
1976-90 Barnfield College, Luton
1980 Stephen's College, Missouri (Lecturer exchange)

Part-time & visiting lectureships

1972-91 Anglia Polytechnic, Kent Institute, Kingston Polytechnic, London Institute, Norwich School of Art, Surrey Institute, Wimbledon School of Art

Study tours

1971 USA, Japan, SE Asia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Iran, Egypt