David Ferry

David Ferry
Cardiff School of Art and Design



David Ferry RE was born in Blackpool, and studied painting at the Camberwell School of Art and printmaking at the Slade School in London. He is currently Professor of Printmaking at the Cardiff School of Art, Wales.
Solo exhibitions: New York (2003), Berlin (2004), Seoul (2005), Poznan (2006), New Zealand (2012) and London; 2013. Represented the UK in the Krakow, Senefelder and Tallinn Triennials.
A Pollock/Krasner Grantee 2002, and Bronze Medal at the First International Book Arts Competition Seoul 2004. Collections include Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Art Institute of Chicago, Ginsberg Collection, RSA, KUMU, Estonia Museum of Modern Art New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Co-author of paper with Stephen Clarke.

Academic paper

Summerisle Revisited: The Artist’s Cut
The printmaker David Ferry advocates the application of a ‘collage mentality’ to printmaking. Ferry’s visual re-scripting of the 1970s cult horror film ‘The Wicker Man’ is an example of this approach. This paper contains a discussion of Ferry’s thirty-two-panel montage ‘May Day in the Centre of England’ that reworks the film’s stereotypes, locations, and iconography into two parts ‘Day’ and ‘Night’.

The paper is structured as a script for a film that follows a fictitious single day in the real location of the Sidney Nolan Trust on the Welsh border. Composed from several conversations between David Ferry and the writer Stephen Clarke the paper is itself a collage.

The dialogue examines how David Ferry has developed his project from sketchbook through to storyboard and how his version of the film relates to other overlapping interpretations. Ferry and Clarke discuss the fabrication of location and how we read a sense of place, and the exaggeration of the stereotype in the conflation of the village character with characters from pagan rituals. Ferry argues that the constructs of time, location and stereotypes provide the co-ordinates by which we can circumnavigate our surroundings. “I am very clear in my mind that those aspects of the self never leave you despite new adventures and experiences. They are the pertinent bottom of the structure and rather like veins coming up through a structure they can be readily tapped into.”

It is the acts of interpretation and re-interpretation that are at the centre of the ‘collage mentality’ which Ferry infuses into the process of printmaking by his tactics of layering, colliding, and the intrusion of the misplaced fragment.


The Wicker Man; & A fictional Scottish Island Cir. 1973; (a ‘printed and collaged homage)
Translation and interpretation combine, in contemporary photomontage and mixed media works related to the original British Lion films production of the cult feature film ‘The Wicker Man’, Directed by Robin Hardy in 1971/2.
Set in the mythical Scottish Island of Summerisle. A ‘modern day’ Pagan ‘adventure’ set in an early 1970’s social, visual, and socio political culture, the film is predicated on ancient fertility rites, iconographies, symbols and prevalent social structures.

The work consists of sequences of stencil and photomontaged panels depicting ‘a dawn to sunset of a fictional ‘May Day’

The visual influence in these panels is a combination of reading and understanding the film as a type of factual but now historical social dialogue; such as we are now familiar with in period soap opera or ‘documentary soap’ type productions, as well as realizing and accepting the screen play as nothing more than a fiction!

What is interesting with this film, and a further complication within reproduction/ transcription issues are that the actual novel of the film ‘The Wicker Man’ 1978, by Anthony Shaffer (screen writer) was a collaboration with Robin Hardy (the films director), after the film was produced and finally released in 1973!
The fictional Scottish Island of Summerisle is both believable but nonsense! So in short we have a screenplay, and a novel, the actual film itself (in fact, a cinema release and a ‘directors cut’, again some years apart) and an artists interpretation influenced through the suggestive travel of the film, and experience of social conditions, people stereotypes and location (a fictional, but no less believable Scottish island.)