Joyce W. Cairns RSA: Monoprints

Joyce Cairns’ home in the former fishing village of Footdee has been central to the development of her monoprints which form the first in our series of Friends’ Room exhibitions.


In some of the works the sea forms a charged backdrop to the autobiographical fantasies where gulls, fish and cats have iconic significance. In her work, the female figure plays the leading role, sometimes idealised, sometimes painfully real: inhabiting a world of intermeshed fact and fantasy, luring the unsuspecting, and being herself unexpectedly lured. In different contexts this siren epitomises loss, fear, death, compassion, loneliness and hope.


"A monoprint is produced by painting an image in oil paint onto Perspex. The Perspex is then laid onto the bed of an etching press and a piece of dampened paper laid on top. The image is transferred onto the paper by the weight of the rollers as it is passed through the press.


Unlike other methods of printing the image produce is a ‘one off’ piece and though you can then repeat the painting process on the ghost image left on the Perspex, the result can never be identical. The images must be painted quite quickly and thinly, as the paint, even with the addition of lavender oil, dries out and will then not transfer to the paper.”


Joyce W Cairns, 2005


This exhibition is exclusive to the Friends of the RSA.
To find out further information about this exhibition and becoming a Friends please contact Rachel or Lynn in the Friends Office on 0131 225 3922 or e-mail