Defining Art at Burnie Regional Art Gallery

Above: Arthur Boyd,  Narcissus, Skull and Webbed Bird, 1978, etching and aquatint, 76.6 x 58 cm
Right: Jeffrey Smart, The Dome, 1979, etching and aquatint, 76 x 56 cm
Below: Sidney Nolan,  Miner Smoking, 1972, lithograph, 80.7 x 79.2 cm

Birgitta Magnusson-Reid explores the exhibition ‘Defining Art’. 

Imprint: What were some of the foundation ideas for ‘Defining Art’ in showcasing the gallery’s collection?

BM: It is well known that the Burnie Regional Art Gallery’s permanent collection, which is focused on works on paper, is of National reputation.

The Gallery is celebrating it’s 40th birthday in 2018 and we wanted to really show the depth of the gallery’s collection after 40 years of acquiring works of art.

What may not be quite so well known is that the collection includes works by many significant Australian artists, who all had a big effect on the development of art in Australia in the 20th century.

Imprint: What are some of the print-based works in the exhibition?

BMR: The vast majority of the works on display are print based.  And many of these works are editioned and thus true to the saying   that editioned prints are affordable collect for young institutions such as the Burnie Regional Art Gallery. And this would be particularly true for the prints in this exhibition that are from the 70ies and the 80ies.

Imprint: Are there any of these works in particular that you feel drawn to – why?

BMR: My absolute favourite work  is a lithograph from 1977 by Brett Whiteley  ‘View of the Garden’ (‘View From the Window’)  showing his glorious drawing and compositional  skills, both done with such  ease.

I have also fallen in love with a work by Rosalie Gascoigne. She was the first female artist to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale in 1982. The Birdhouse is an assemblage created from found objects, including Rosella Parrots from Arnott Biscuit packaging, which was exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1982. So it is a well-travelled work with a bona fide Venice Biennale stamp.

When I was a fresh immigrant to Australia I discovered the works of Fred Williams in art books and was immediately taken by the colours and his calligraphic way of depicting the sparse flora in the dry outback. Immigrating can be hard on the mind but I found solace in his works and felt less lonely and very excited to have discovered an amazing landscape artists! The works by Williams has not been on display for some 25 years and this is a wonderful opportunity to share his works.

Imprint: What are some of the possible ways of seeing these works in a new light, in terms of the connections that might arise with other works in the show?

BMR: The exhibition is a who’s who of Australian Art history!  The works themselves are from a time period of say 25-30 years but of course the artists themselves represent different generations and it the exhibition will give the viewer an idea of developments in visual art in Australia.

The artists included in Defining Art are:  Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd, John Brack, Pat Brassington, Ruth Faerber, Rosalie Gascoigne, Alun Leach-Jones, Roger Kemp, Bea Maddock, Sidney Nolan, John Olsen, Desiderius Orban, John Peart, Lloyd Rees, Jan Senbergs, Martin Sharp, Jeffrey Smart, Tim Storrier, Imants Tillers, Tony Tuckson, Brett Whiteley and Fred Williams.

Curator: Birgitta Magnusson-Reid, Gallery Project Officer

Defining Art is at Burnie Regional Art Gallery until 14 January

Victorian College of the Arts graduate exhibition

Above: Ben Stephens, Untitled, #1, 2017.
Right: Elias Arce Toner, Untitled #2, 2017
Below: Ben Stephens, Untitled #4, 2017
Bottom: Elias Arce Toner, Untitled #4, , 2017

 

Two graduates discuss their work showing in the graduate exhibition at the Margaret Lawrence Gallery at the Victorian College of the Arts. 

BEN STEPHENS

(who recently completed a Bachelor of Fine Art in Drawing and Printmedia at the VCA where he has studied from 2015-2017)

Q: What were some of the foundation ideas for your work in the VCA Graduate Exhibition?

BS: It was all a bit of a happy accident.  I had done some small prints earlier in the year and the textures that came out were really striking, way more than the actual image that I had made, so I wanted to play around with that a lot more.

I just worked with photos I had taken around campus and nearby buildings as a reference point.  I knew I wanted to do something print based, but the whole thing really came together in a short period of time- a few weeks, and then once I had a bit of a framework for I wanted to do I just started making, making, making.

Q: How did you develop the work and what were some of the challenges involved? The work was really just developed from trial and error. A lot of editing… mostly editing.  I tend to just make as much stuff as I can and then try and find what works and what doesn’t and then build a body of work from there.

BS: It was mostly practical things, but thankfully the staff in the print workshop were very patient and helped me to solve those issues.

Q: How has your relationship with print-based media evolved during your time at the VCA?

BS: I came into the degree knowing very little about printmaking, outside of some screen-printing I had done in high school. I didn’t really do an awful lot of printmaking until my final year, and it just felt like a natural fit.  It was a good medium for me to get all my random ideas and experiments of the last three years and get a little more focused.

Q: What are your plans for future print-based projects?

BS: I want to mix up things a bit. Rather than just using photo-lithographs I want to do more hand drawn plates.  Mostly I just want to refine, less detail, more colour.

 

ELIAS ARCE TONER

(who came to Melbourne from Costa Rica in late 2014, specifically to apply to VCA. He began a Bachelor of  Fine Arts majoring in Drawing and Printmaking in 2015.)

Q: What were some of the foundation ideas for your work in the VCA Graduate Exhibition?

EAT: Being bilingual, I have always been very interested in that moment in translation where I am not interpreting the information through either language but as a whole. I found that whenever I would try to translate an idea from one language to the other, some parts of that idea were lost while others were gained, although at the moment of conceiving that idea, in my brain, it would be whole.

Printmaking can be very similar to translation; you have an idea of what the final image might look like, but once you start translating that onto the copper or stone, it can change drastically and gain or lose meaning. I’ve been reading a lot of the works of H.P. Lovecraft and have become so inspired by his reluctance to describe the horrors his protagonists perceive that I felt like that moment of being so stunned by a concept or feeling that you cannot put words to it is very similar to the impasse that happens when I try to translate an idea from non-language to Spanish or English. For these prints, I’ve tried to show recognizable forms and spaces that actively deny description, trying to capture that impasse: images that can’t be corralled by words.

Q: How did you develop the work and what were some of the challenges involved?

EAT: I went through a lot of rounds of drawing, each time making sure I wasn’t equating the forms and spaces with words, something much easier said than done. I also wanted to use different schools of printmaking, not only etching but also lithography. This proved difficult since, having focused in copper etching techniques for most of my three years at VCA, my lithography skills weren’t up to par. I was advised to make the most of my etching and so I did.

Q: How has your relationship with print-based media evolved during your time at the VCA?

EAT: Before I started at VCA, I had never done printmaking other than a couple of relief prints here and there. As soon as we were taught copper etching, I became enamoured by the possibilities it presented for my work. Having always focused on linework during my development as an artist, hard-ground became very attractive to me and so I based my main practice around etching. Copper has a very alluring quality to it: just stare at your distorted reflection in a freshly polished piece of copper and you’ll see what I mean. So many of the processes surrounding a copper etching have to be so precise and well planned out that I take great pleasure in traversing that journey, and finding little accidents that enrich the work. It took me a while to understand these mistakes and embrace them as an essential part of the printmaking process.

For most of my course, I was so involved in etching that I neglected lithography, but in this last year, I’ve become increasingly interested in it and have expanded my skillset a little to include some lithography techniques, although I have much to learn.

Q: What are your plans for future print-based projects?

EAT: Learning the deep history of printmaking and all the little tips and tricks you can use is so much fun that I feel I will never stop learning, and that really excites me. I will continue my etching practice but mainly I want to focus on developing a strong set of lithography skills, and become “bilingual” in printmaking as well, enriching my vocabulary so once I have learnt enough, I can start my un-learning stage and hopefully find something new.

_

 

Jilamara at Collins Place Gallery: Past, present, future

Above: Pauletta Kerinauia preparing etching plates.
Right: Timothy Cook, Kulama, 2017, etching with screenprint, editor of 20, 39.5 x 49.5 cm.  Created by the artist during a bush workshop at Jilamara in collaboration with master printer Basil Hall in 2017. Editioned by Basil Hall and staff at Basil Hall Editions, Canberra. This project was supported by Arts NT.
Below: Pedro Wonaeamirri, Timothy Cook and Pauletta Kerinauia exploring the Tiwi Collection at MAGNT 
 

Ngini Parlingarri Amintiya Ningani (Past, Present, Future) is an exhibition by artists from the Tiwi Islands’ Jilamara Arts & Crafts Asscositaion. President Michelle Woody Minnapinni talks about the show. 

 

Q: Jilamara Arts & Crafts Association was established in 1989 – can you outline the history of the organisation, why it was established and what it does in the community?

MWM: Before Jilamara was incorporated in 1989 it was an Adult Education and Training Centre. Anne Marchment and Ian Foster were running the centre out of what is now the Muluwurri Museum on the grounds of the Art Centre.

Anne was training up people with skills in screenprinting, sewing and leather work.

Artists like Kitty Kantilla, Freda Warlapinni, Mary Magdalene Tipungwuti, Patrick Freddy Puruntatameri, Paddy McMillan and Pius Tipungwuti helped to turn it into an Art Centre.

The old ladies wanted to develop their skills in painting, weaving and screenprinting and the old men wanted a place for carving and painting. They wanted a place where they could teach the young people these skills. James Bennett became the manager when it turned into an Art Centre.

Jilamara is Milikapiti’s cultural centre. People from the community can come and engage in the activities at the Art Centre. Jilamara also looks after the Muluwurri Museum, which is Milikapiti’s Community Museum. Jilamara artists, elders and the Executive are the custodians and caretakers of the Museum. The Museum was named after a traditional owner of the country around Milikapiti. He was a senior and well-respected warrior of the Tiwi people around Milikapiti and had 40 wives.

Jilamara also teaches culture classes to children from the Milikapiti Primary School. The Museum is an important resource for teaching classes and for promoting Tiwi Culture to visitors.

In 2012 a new building was constructed. It is a gallery and office space which was named Kutuwulumi, which is Kitty Kantilla’s traditional Tiwi name.

There is a men’s shed named after Paddy Freddy who was a senior carver in the community. It is called Murrunungumirri after his Tiwi name.

We are currently renovating the women’s shed where the women paint so that we can begin textile screenprinting again.

 

Q: Earlier this year, with funding from Arts NT, Jilamara took a group of younger and older generation artists from Melville Island to Darwin to look at Tiwi art. What was the intention and the outcome of the trip?

MWM: With funding from Arts NT, eight artists travelled to Darwin in April to see the work of our ancestors, to get ideas for a print workshop that Basil Hall conducted at Jilamara later that month. The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) has a lot of works that were from the collection of Sandra Le Brun Holmes. She spent a lot of time in Milikapiti in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s working with the Tiwi people to help them look after and promote their culture to the outside world.

Many of the barks and tutini poles that the artists looked at in the collection are illustrated in Sandra’s book The Goddess and the Moon Man. The younger artists had not seen these works in the flesh, so it was a very important to them to see the works of their ancestors and know they are carrying on the traditional Tiwi ways.

Some artists took ideas they garnered from the visit and made new prints in the workshop Basil Hall conducted and then these ideas started feeding into new paintings they made.

Q: What did the following collaboration with senior printer Basil Hall involve and what were the results?

MWM: Jilamara artists have been making prints since the early 1990s. Anne Virgo and Martin King from the Australian Print Workshop were the first printmakers to visit Jilamara and to conduct bush workshops. Anne organised for a printing press to be shipped to Melville Island so that future bush workshops could take place at the Art Centre. Many Jilamara artists such as Janice Murray, Pedro Wonaeamirri, Timothy Cook, Glen Farmer and Raelene Kerinauia have been involved in lots of workshops with APW since then. We have also worked with Northern Editions at Charles Darwin University, Franck Gohier from Red Hand Print, and now Basil Hall.

For some of the artists who did the workshop with Basil like myself, Barbara Puruntatameri, Dino Wilson, Tina Patlas and Pamela Brooks, it was our first time making prints.

The funding from Arts NT allowed for Basil to come up and work at Jilamara to make new prints. There were only supposed to be 12 artists to take part in the workshop. It ended up being 22 artists with 28 new prints made. When we have workshops at Jilamara everyone gets excited and wants to be involved. Some of the artists got inspired to make new paintings referencing the prints.

The prints have shown at Nomad Art Gallery in Darwin and at Tarnanthi Art Fair in Adelaide and now here in Melbourne at Collins Place Gallery.

 

Q: What are some of the themes that emerge in the artworks produced?

MWM: Some artists responded to the works of their ancestors in the MAGNT Collection. Pauletta Kerinauia’s work Japarra and Japalinga references an old bark by Deaf Tommy Mungatopi. His bark is about the celestial cycle of the moon and stars. Japarra and Japalinga are the Tiwi words for Moon and Stars.

Colleen Freddy made a work about her totem the Tjurukukuni (owl). Her work was also inspired by Agnes Carpenters work from the MAGNT collection.

My work titled Purukapali, Japarra Amintiya Minga is about Purukapali the Tiwi ancestor that bought death to the Tiwi Islands and Japarra (the Moon), Purukapali’s brother and minga, the tribal body scarification that were marked on the body. People used to get these marks so that everyone knew which clan you were from and sometimes it showed how many wives or husbands you had.

Glen Farmer’s print is the Wutjurrini (seagull). This is Glen’s dance. The Wutjurrini have been made into tutini poles in Glen’s print.

Tina Patlas’s print is called Timrambu. This was her Grandmother and Grandfather’s favourite fishing, hunting and camping place. Her family would go there for gatherings. Tina still goes there to fish.

Johnathon Bush’s print is called Regeneration. In his print he shows his grandfather and father handing down important knowledge and 40,000 years of indigenous culture.

Janice Murray’s figures are based on Tiwi mythology about Tiwi hairy people that live in the mangroves. If you are by yourself in the bush they will take you away. Tiwi believe they are out there and don’t want to make contact with the modern world. We tell our children these stories, so they won’t wander off and get lost in the bush.

Q: What are the benefits of exhibiting in urban centres such as Melbourne?

MWM: It is good for us to have shows in cities so that new audiences can learn about our Tiwi Culture. It gives us Tiwi mob an opportunity to have artistic careers and to earn money for our families when our work sells. When we travel to other places we meet new people from different cultures and share our stories about our culture.

 

Artists from Jilamara will be “In Conversation” at the Collins Place Gallery, 45 Collins St, Melbourne, (near Sofitel entrance), from 11am-2pm on Tuesday 5 December and Wednesday 6 December. Pedro Wonaeamirri, Johnathon Bush, Timothy Cook, and Michelle Woody Minnapinni will give demonstrations and talk. 

The official opening is at 6pm on Wednesday 6 December. Dr Jacqueline Healy, Curator of the Medical History Museum, University of Melbourne, and former Director and current ambassador of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, will speak.

RSVP by Tuesday December 5, 5pm to Marguerite Brown generalmanager@printcouncil.org.au

Romancing the Skull: Art Gallery of Ballarat

Above: Jose Guadalupe Posada, Calavera del Cine, print on woven paper. Private collection
Right: Jose Guadalupe Posada, La Calavera de Cupido Cupids Calavera, c.-1905. Relief engraving on typemetal woven paper. Private collection
Below: Jose Guadalupe Posada, La calavera de Emiliano Zapata, 1912. Print on woven paper. Collection of David Hulme and Brigitte Banzige
 

Andrew Stephens finds out what is so alluring about skulls, with the new Art Gallery of Ballarat exhibition.

Curator Julie McLaren went to Mexico in 2015 to experience the Day of the Dead for herself. She knew the festival had the same origins as Halloween, but that the two events had branched off from each other to develop completely different meanings. During the visit, she went to the town of Aguascalientes, birthplace of Jose Posada (1852-1913), the artist now famed for his broadsheets of skulls, skeletons and cadaverous ghouls. She fell in love with his works.

In putting together the exhibition Romancing the Skull for the Art Gallery of Ballarat, McLaren was aware that Posada had been an artist whose life had ended with him being poor, and an unknown talent. It wasn’t until decades later that he was re-discovered by artists such as Diego Rivera. The grounding idea for Posada’s work was that although some of us are rich and powerful and others are not, underneath we are all the same because we have a skull and skeleton.

‘That is a really beautiful concept,’ says McLaren, who has taken that foundation through the entire exhibition, tying it in with ‘dance of death’ imagery from the Middle Ages and works as diverse as those by contemporary Australian artists Fiona Hall, Sam Jinks and Sally Smart.

One of the things McLaren admires in Posada is his ability to make what might be a grim concept into something that is fun: ‘He portrays everyday people going about their business as a skull—from a garbage collector and water collector to political figures and anyone else you can think of. When placed alongside more recent works, they have a really contemporary feel.’

They are such charming images that the enlarged versions on posters at the front of the Gallery have been attracting passersby to pose for selfies with them.

The gallery is showing 20 of the Posadas which are on loan from a Sydney collector-couple who McLaren says were more than happy to lend the original prints along with original woodblocks.

Another exhibition highlight is a woodcut print from the renowned Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493 depicting one of the earliest Danse Macabre (Dance of Death) images. ‘It is really playful, with skeletons and some rotting corpses having a jolly old time dancing over a grave. A number of other artists have replicated this playful aspect.’ There are specially commissioned works for the exhibition by Fiona Hall, Reko Rennie and Sally Smart, as well as works by contemporary Australian artists Sam Jinks, Rona Green, and Ben Quilty. Shaun Gladwell’s Virtual Reality work Orbital Vanitas 2016, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, is also showing.

McLaren’s excitement in curating the show was amplified by her awareness that in popular culture, we can buy almost any product with a skull on it. ‘The skull used to have so much meaning to it as a “memento mori” and knowing that you will die; this has been diluted in a way, and people are now attracted to the symbol as one of rebellion,’ she says. ‘It is a safe way of rebelling, wearing skull clothing.’

As she moved through the curatorial process, however, McLaren found that what she had initially interpreted as the primary symbolism she associated with the skull—death—began to change. ‘I have really turned around completely and now see it as an image that represents life.’ After all, the “memento mori” tradition wasn’t intended to make us think about death in a negative way but to remind ourselves that because we will inevitably die one day, we should therefore make the most of life while we are living it.

‘We live such fast-paced lives and we are always connected to social media and we are always having to do so much,’ McLaren says. ‘The skull could be seen as a reminder to sit back and think “Am I living my best life”?’ – Andrew Stephens

Romancing the Skull is at the Art Gallery of Ballarat until 28 January.  www.artgalleryofballarat.com.au

Gerhard Richter: ‘ATLAS: Overview’ at GOMA

Above:
‘Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images’ Exhibition Curator Rosemary Hawker (right) and QAGOMA Curator Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow at the Gallery of Modern Art, 2017. Photograph: QAGOMA.
Right and below:
Installation view of Atlas overview 1962-ongoing. Collection: Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany © Gerhard Richter 2017. Featured in ‘Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images’ at the Gallery of Modern Art, 2017. Photograph: QAGOMA.
 

Andrew Stephens discovers an enormous room at GOMA in Brisbane that offers a rare insight into the working mind of renowned German artist Gerhard Richter.

The idea of the ‘edition’ is something that Gerhard Richter has contemplated continually throughout his 50-plus-year career. In the book Gerhard Richter–Unique Pieces in Series, Hubertus Butin writes that in his painting editions, photographs, prints, drawings and multiples, Richter has developed various ways of variegating individual works in their appearance.

While painting is his primary form of practice—hence the focus of the stunning new exhibition Gerhard Richter—The life of images at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art—Richter is also interested in showing audiences how he develops his ideas.

At the centre of this exploration is ATLAS, a collection of more than 800 panels of images that Richter has been archiving since the 1960s. First exhibited in the 1970s, this collection of photographs, press cuttings and sketches was arranged on loose pieces of paper. It incorporated family photos, Holocaust images, photos Richter has taken of landscapes and still-lives, and much if it has been source material for his paintings.

Stored at Munich’s Lenbachhaus art museum, ATLAS has become too fragile to travel, even though it has been exhibited in part a number of times. To get around this, GOMA has managed to present ATLAS: Overview, a collection of about 400 images drawn from the original. It is, in essence, an edition—and Overview is an idea Richter applauds and has been heavily involved in curating. Curators Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow and Rosemary Hawker say they have been thrilled with the results.

Dr Hawker, a Senior Lecturer, Fine Art, Griffith University, says the extraordinarily high-quality reproductions of the original ATLAS are just a fragment of Richter’s encyclopaedic sampling of the images in his life in the 20th and 21st centuries.

‘Within that he has given us his sampling and refinement of the project,’ she says. ‘The fact that this is his edit of ATLAS is in some ways very curious. He has organised it and some of the juxtapositions are quite startling. Some of the imagery is quite confronting.’

Dr Hawker says the organisation of all these images is a circle from start to end, with some of the more confronting images at the start, moving through the family photographs and clippings and more easily consumed landscaped images. ‘Yet there is no way of describing ATLAS because it is so deeply based in diversity,’ Dr Hawker says. ‘It is so much about a view into Richter’s thinking. Some of the images have tape and paint and dirt on them: it is very much like an artist’s notebook.’

Because the original ATLAS is so large and cumbersome, galleries have in the past found it almost impossible to exhibit. Over time, some of the magazine clippings have yellowed and become brittle, even though Richter is a careful artist who monitors such things. As time has passed, the curators and conservators at Lenbachhaus have found it very difficult to deal with requests to exhibit it. ‘Nobody wants to display the whole thing because it is so enormous,’ says Dr Hawker, ‘but everybody wants a little bit of ATLAS for their Richter show.’

Thus the museum devised a large reproduction of the entire ATLAS and published it in a four-volume set. While Richter has decided that ATLAS itself does not travel anymore, GOMA managed to negotiate this new work, the edition called ATLAS: Overview. ‘This is the first time it has been shown and there is only one full edition in the world.’

While this edition will go on to show elsewhere, Dr Hawker says the original remains an organic work that will grow. ‘It was expected that Richter would put an end date on it but the still hasn’t done that. He can’t let go—which is good for us.’

At 6PM on Wednesday 29 November, Charles Green, Professor of Contemporary Art, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne, will give a lecture focusing on memorisation and the information retrieval embodied in the concept of an artistic atlas, drawing upon ATLAS: Overview in ‘Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images’. GOMA | CINEMA B | www.qagoma.qld.gov.au

Australian Print Workshop: Print Fair

Clockwise from above:
Lisa Roet, The mark of no human hand I, etching: hard ground printed from 1 plate. Image size: 120cm × 90cm, paper size: 136cm × 101.5cm. Drawn on the plate by the artist and printed by APW Senior Printer Martin King at Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne, 2011.
Rick Amor, Lost Time, stone lithograph: printed from 1 stone. Image size: 51.5cm × 64cm, paper size: 56cm × 76cm. Drawn on the stone by the artist and printed in an edition of 15 (plus proofs) by APW Printers Martin King and Chris Ingham at Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne, 2014.
Laith McGregor, ‘ROOTDOWN’, photo-lithograph: printed from one plate. Image size: 38cm × 27.5cm, paper size: 56cm × 38cm. Image created by the artist and printed in an edition of 20 (plus proofs) by APW Printers Martin King and Chris Ingham at Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne, 2013.

The Australian Print Workshop Print Fair is being held this weekend, 18-19 November. APW Director Anne Virgo OAM discusses ways in which the fair will celebrate fine art printmaking.

 

 

Q: What is the history of the APW Print Fair and what are its broad aims?

AV: All of Australian Print Workshop’s (APW) activities – supporting artists, education programs and special projects – reflect in part a commitment to finding new ways to engage with the public and broaden interest in and knowledge about printmaking. The 2017 APW Print Fair is the second fair APW has held in recent years, designed to attract new and existing audiences.

In 2014 APW presented the inaugural APW Print Fair which provided opportunities for 14 individual artist/printmakers to display, discuss and sell their work. Artist-run stands were set up throughout the APW’s Open Access Studio, and visitors were able to go ‘behind the scenes’ in our world-class facilities, see print demonstrations, and experience a pop-up exhibition at APW Gallery.

In 2017, printers are the focus of the APW Print Fair, providing a rare opportunity for the public to engage with representatives from leading fine art printers from Melbourne, interstate and overseas. Visitors can wander through the APW Print Studio, see printing demonstrations and visit the Print Fair stands to view (and hopefully buy) original fine art prints.

The APW Print Fair is, at its heart, about promoting an understanding and appreciation of fine art original limited edition printmaking. We hope to educate the public to understand and appreciate the difference between original fine art limited edition prints and signed reproductions.

Q: Who are some of the participants in the fair?

AV: Representatives from Albicocco Printing Workshop (Italy), Cicada Press (Sydney), Negative Press (Melbourne), Sunshine Editions (Melbourne) and, of course, Australian Print Workshop will all have Print Fair stands.

Q: What else will visitors experience while attending?

AV: In addition to seeing contemporary original limited edition fine art prints created by these print workshops, visitors will be able to learn about the printers’ approach to working with artists, see linocut and etching print demonstrations, and view works in APW Gallery by contemporary Australian Artists made in collaboration with APW printers. There will be hundreds of works for sale and the opportunity to buy affordable original fine art prints.

 Q: How does the fair reflect the ethos of APW?

AV: APW is committed to promoting printmaking as a progressive contemporary art form. We are fortunate in Australia to have many skilled printers working with great artists to make great prints, and we are excited to play a role in promoting their work.

Q: Does the fair have an educative role about the world of print for the more general, non-artist visitor?

AV: The APW Print Fair will feature educative displays with the tools and equipment used in lithography, etching and relief printing, and print demonstrations will be happening throughout the weekend. Everyone is welcome to attend the APW Print Fair, whether they have limited or advanced knowledge of printmaking, there will be something to learn for everyone.

APW Print Fair is at  Australian Print Workshop, 210 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy,

Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 November, 10am-5pm each day. Free Entry.

 

Postcard from San Francisco: Simone Tippett

Clockwise from above: The print folio being collated; rainbow flags flying in San Francisco; a snippet of Amy Milhinch’s print Shak-Shake for the ‘Political’ portfolio; a snippet of Leo Greenfield’s print The Forcefield from the ‘Skin deep’ portfolio; making the folios; Simon Tippet.

 

Adelaide’s Simone Tippett reports on her printmaking odyssey to San Francisco.

The International Print Run was a surprise crowdfunding gift from the Adelaide printmaking community last year, one which enabled me to tour print studios and galleries in San Francisco in September.

It was a gift that was as invigorating and inspiring as it was generous, and one for which I am so grateful. (You can read more about the crowdfunding project here – https://pozible.com/project/international-print-run-2 – I’m still slightly in shock!)

For me, a big part of the trip was paying the gift forward. It was also about connecting with printmakers across the world in the wake of the Trump election. (The crowdfunding gift was given in the same week that the world woke in shock to learn Donald Trump had been elected.)

With the International Print Run Folios, I took – and gave away – 11 folios of themed prints to fantastic printmakers, studios and galleries in San Francisco. The gift folios went to folk in San Francisco who are quietly making fantastic things happen in their printmaking communities – a no-strings gift to see what would happen – and the reception was fantastic.

The lucky recipients of the four themed folios are:

Message in a Bottle folio

Robynn Smith of Blue Mouse Studio & MPC Printmakers

Noah Lang of SF Electric Works (at the Minnesota Art Project)

Cheryl from the San Francisco Centre for the Book who spent hours showing us around

Political folio

The San Francisco Centre for the Book

Fanny Retsek, printmaker

Max Stadnik from Tiny Splendour

Skin Deep folio

Brett of M&H Type & Arion Press

Denese Sanders of Open Ground Studios

Dan Hendel, fabulous personal tour guide & print collector

Nature/Nurture folio

MPC Printmakers

Sam Vaughan of Dead Duck Press

The folios are beautiful. They are glorious collections of colour and life, generously and humbly presented. In all, there are four themed folios, each consisting of 10 x A3-sized original hand-made prints from 41 Adelaide artists.

The folios will be exhibited in several Adelaide locations later this year: at the new #6Manton Gallery in Hindmarsh and Artlab Australia in the Adelaide CBD. The #6Manton opening will launch the gift of folios back to all participating artists. (Stay tuned for dates and further information… )

If you’d like to see more of the International Print Run, or my trip to San Francisco, check out the following Instagram feeds: @internationalprintrun (folio stuff), @unionstprint (general print/art stuff) and @tipchick (for a more personal response to San Francisco), plus the Facebook page www.facebook.com/internationalprintrun.

The project was such a success that I hope to make it annual thing. My plan is to organise several beautiful, meaningful folios each year for Adelaide/South Australian artists to be involved with. Which means, every year, one or two printmakers travelling overseas have a no-strings gift to take with them… thereby spreading the Adelaide Printmaking Love far and wide. Yay!

And San Francisco? Wow. What a fabulously vibrant, diverse and liberated city. There is so much printmaking, and so many great studios and galleries. You all should visit!

Simone Tippett is the founder of Union St Printmakers, where she teaches a variety of printmaking techniques. As an artist, she works with drawing, printmaking and photography.

Vale: Joan McClelland

Above: Joan McClelland, circa 1930.
Below: Joshua McClelland Print Room catalogue cover, 1964, featuring Pablo Picasso’s
Tancerze (Flecista, koza I tancerz), 1959.

Following the recent death of the much-admired art world figure Joan McClelland, aged 104, we republish the PCA’s tribute to her life’s work, which first appeared in Imprint last year (vol.51 / no.3, Spring 2016).

Interview by Marguerite Brown.

Joshua McClelland opened the doors of The Little Gallery at 172 Collins Street Melbourne in 1927. Some years later he and his wife Joan McClelland established the Joshua McClelland Print Room with a focus on prints, Chinese porcelain, and paintings amongst other fine and decorative arts. When Joshua passed away in 1956, Joan continued the gallery and today this family business operates in association with Rathdowne Galleries at 310 Rathdowne Street, Carlton. I met with Joan McClelland, and her daughters Philippa Kelly and Patricia Williams, for an insight into the remarkable history of the Joshua McClelland Print Room, Australia’s oldest continuously operated gallery.

Joan McClelland: My father was interested in prints. He’d been in Oxford in England, and I think it was probably in the back of my mind all along.  We had a small collection of prints, but you can cover the walls overmuch. I think my mother probably kept him in control with his print collecting.

My real interest was in Australiana – the prints from the early voyages and early topographical prints. In my view the pre-eminent Australian print is not one of the early Sydney views, but the marvellous West Australian panorama Panoramic view of King George’s Sound, part of the colony of Swan River a print after Robert Dale, 1834. I first saw the Dale in Sir Russell Grimwade’s house and lusted after it. Some years later I found it at an Antiquarian Book Fair for $2,000. Being a trader, I traded it on, regrettably as it has since sold for as much as $40,000.

The Australiana market is a wayward business with highs and lows. I think you could say that we would not have survived if we had dealt only in prints. When Australiana was in the doldrums, a few good paintings could save the day, or a piece of Chinese porcelain could find a good home. Prints were our steady diet, but the paintings could put the icing on the cake.

I lean to anything with an Oriental flavour, and I had some good tutoring in Chinese porcelain through both my husband Josh, and some dedicated collectors. We have continuously had good exhibitions of Japanese woodblock prints. I did travel to Japan and became very interested in these astonishingly skillful, richly detailed works of art.

An exhibition of Japanese prints from Geraldine Hall’s collection sold out immediately due to a member of the Japanese consulate who took the red stickers from us and placed them firmly on twenty-five prints in the first ten minutes, causing a rush by other collectors. We hang Japanese prints three deep in a ladder frame of natural wood, which is very effective and means they need only to be carefully mounted to size.

There were a group of talented women making adventurous prints whose works seemed to have been ignored. Margaret Preston was ahead of her time. Violet Teague and Geraldine Rede had made the first hand printed woodblock book in Australia, as early as 1906. We were selling the early Australian women printmakers later, in the 80s and 90s, and it was at this period there was a growing realisation of the important role they played. The main galleries, the national galleries, were anxious to represent all the women artists, and they did buy a lot from us.

Locally, we persuaded Helen Ogilvie that there really was a market for her tiny wood engravings, which she had put away for many years, and we sold them regularly over quite a long period.

There were much fewer galleries when we started. I mean there were the main galleries, like the Australian National Gallery and the Sydney Gallery [AGNSW] and so on, but there were not so many private galleries, very few in the beginning.

Prints were something that young people could afford. They couldn’t afford paintings, and even the main galleries were very happy to get things at a more reasonable price than going to auction and buying them there. Often they would find something quite special from us. We sold an awful lot to galleries; the West Australian Gallery, the Adelaide Gallery, the Darwin Gallery, and Queensland.  If you got something interesting and that you knew was rare, you’d immediately think of a gallery or a few private collectors. But often we’d think, well the gallery ought to have this, it’s important and they haven’t got it and then at least people can go and see it on the walls. It was a very interesting time.

We put out regular illustrated catalogues. They were a good record of the things that we did. We’d post these out and we’d be very disappointed if a few galleries didn’t ring up the next day and say we want this and this … because we did get some very interesting and some rare things, which we were very happy to have, and the galleries were very happy to have. They were quite small catalogues compared to how people produce them now.

We lived in a time of great change with so many Europeans coming here (after WWII). It changed the whole of society, and also the art. You can think of a huge influence of all sorts of people. The Dunera Boys, Hirschfeld-Mack and so on – there were fascinating waves of influence. We’re much more civilised than we might have been otherwise.

In 1979 Conzinc Riotinto leased me the front first floor of 105 Collins Street, which they intended to demolish in due time and rebuild a high-rise tower. In the end we were there for six lovely years. The building was only partly occupied and we could change anything we wanted in our area. We knocked an extra doorway in and we had three connecting rooms across the front and another behind, with a further storeroom. They were the best years; what was more, we had the Print Council of Australia in the basement for company.

I do believe there should be room in Melbourne for a really orthodox print shop, dealing in good etching, and early Australian historical prints, etc. The London gallery I would like to be equated with is the Fine Art Society in Bond Street, which has an interesting and varied stock of minor artworks, always with something unexpected and surprising.

Today, I believe there is a climate of great respect for the print among contemporary artists, but less so with collectors. I have always felt the need to encourage younger printmakers to exhibit, which we do with varying success.

The current exhibition is of digital drawings. Printed – it’s a different thing all together. Chips Mackinolty, the artist, says it takes him fifty to sixty hours to do a drawing in endless marks. It usually takes a printmaker to really appreciate the work.

Now I’m just over 100 I’m not driving my car, so these two [Joan’s daughters] pick me up most days to come in here, which is very kind of them and probably an awful bore.

 

Patricia Williams: We get in serious trouble if we suggest a holiday, that’s off the list!

 

Elisabeth Cummings donation – NERAM

Above: Elisabeth Cummings, Dark Bush, 2010, coloured etching, edition of 30, 20.5 x 24 cm
Right: Elisabeth Cummings, Termite Mounds, 2009, etching, edition of 25
Below: Elisabeth Cummings, Self Portrait, etching, 5 x 5 cm, edition of 10

Curator Sioux Garside discusses the work of Elisabeth Cummings and her adventures in print and works on paper.

Q: Many people know and admire Elisabeth Cummings for her work as a painter. How does her history with works on paper connect with her broader oeuvre?

 

SG: Elisabeth has been experimenting with printmaking processes for many years making etching and aquatint at Cicada Press in Sydney.  Monoprinting has also been part of her evolving practice since the 1990 and I’ve included as many of her sketchbook drawings as possible. These give us an intimate and surprising insight into the subjects that appeal to her sensibility. The drawings and etchings demonstrate her consummate graphic skills; a quirky sense of constructing compositions and an ability to work on a smaller scale with speed and a vigorous fluent line.

 

Q: How did the exhibition come about at Drill Hall, and what sort of parameters did you set in curating it?

 

SG: The directors of King Street Gallery felt it was timely to have a retrospective to show Elisabeth’s important contribution to the advancement of abstraction and landscape painting in Australia.  There was also an aim to satisfy requests for a fully illustrated monograph on her work from private collectors and institutions.

 

Many years ago I worked closely with Elisabeth on her first survey at Campbelltown Art Gallery in 1996. That survey had presented Elisabeth with useful insights and an overview of what had been achieved from her earliest work as a young graduate from East Sydney Tech in the late 1950s, to the work made during a decade overseas in Florence, up to her break-through paintings of the early 1990s. Viewing the chronological development of her painting confirmed Elisabeth’s confidence and future direction and consolidated her growing reputation in Sydney as a luminous colourist and gestural expressionist painter.  Wedderburn spring, 1993 a highlight in the 1996 show would later be included in the big survey of Australian painting at the Royal Academy in London curated under the aegis of the National Gallery Canberra in 2013.

 

Essentially with Interior landscapes my aim was to show Elisabeth Cummings as the great painter she is, and include as many of her iconic large-scale paintings of interiors and landscapes as feasible. Since most of her paintings are held in private or corporate collections [with some notable exceptions], a major body of her work is rarely seen. I also thought it important to include her printmaking and ceramics, to demonstrate how a artist of maturity and insight can transfer an embodied form of painterly abstraction that is inspired by exterior or interior spaces, into vastly different mediums.

 

When asked to host the survey exhibition Director Terence Maloon immediately agreed. The depth of his scholarly knowledge provided an insightful consideration of the European influences of Bonnard and Vuillard on Elisabeth’s development, which gave us the title for the show. I know he was delighted by the irresistible public response to her exhibition at the Drill Hall Gallery ANU.

 

Q: What are some of the print-based works in the exhibition and what is most interesting about them for you?

 

SG: Printmaking offers another way of interpreting, it is another way of creating an image and Elisabeth’s approach to making a print is exploratory. She describes the medium as slower and more challenging. “At times it’s frustrating because it’s not as immediate as painting, one has to work through several processes. With printmaking it is not so easy to eliminate something you’ve created, so that slows the process down. And sometimes it works better in the print than the painting”.

She works directly on the plate, firstly making a line drawing in crayon then scraping and scratching over and over with tools, searching for a particular patination of aquatint and scribbly deeply bitten lines. Arkaroola landscape 2005, and Evening termite mounds 2011 are compelling examples of her feeling and experience in the landscape, evoking the texture of place and mood. For me there is also a subtle expressed concern and wonder for the earth and its fragile living ecology with her imagery of birds and metaphoric rocks and mounds eroded over eons by the elemental forces of wind and rain into sandy deserts. Elisabeth camps in remote places in the Kimberley and the Flinders ranges to make her drawings and gouaches. The resulting paintings may condense a panoramic vista, be attuned to the vibrating effects of light, heat and colour and are suggestive of the infinitesimal detail and rhythms of nature.

 

I enjoy her interpretation of light and shadow and contemplative feeling achieved by wiry lines and earthy greys and velvety blacks tones in Dark bush 2010. Her unique combination of wit and structure is compelling for the lively way she combines different perspectival views of a motif in a painting or an etchings such as Hill end glimpse 2009.

 

Q: Cummings has an interesting history in the arts – can you tell us some of the highlights of her experiences?

SG: There are so many highlights. She has always been a peripatetic artist and observant seeker inspired by remote and beautiful places of Australia, the Simpson desert, Lake Mungo, the Pilbara and the Kimberley. Walking with traditional Indigenous elders at Elcho island and observing the monsoonal tides changing the waters muddy yellow inspired After the wet Elcho island; travelling by boat down the Darling river with her sister and exploring Lake Eyre and the inland deserts led to her monumental canvases Edge of the Simpson 2011 and River bend 2008.

Equally importantly to the feeling and authenticity of her work is a constant reflection on subjects close at hand in her studio and a time-based focus on her surroundings in all seasons and lights from drought to flooding rain. She has worked for over forty years in the bush surrounded by sandstone and tall eucalypts at Wedderburn adjacent to the Dharawal national park in south west Sydney.

Right now Elisabeth is teaching a workshop in Morocco and exploring the vibrant colour of Fez and the Atlas mountains. I long to see her sketch books when she returns.

 

Q: How did the donation of an archive of 85 prints and etchings by Cummings to NERAM come about?

SG: The donation came about when Robert Heather the Director of NERAM was visiting King St Gallery’s store and expressed interest in acquiring a drawing of Elisabeth‘s studio. NERAM was considered an appropriate institution for the proposed gift as they want to build their print collection and were keen to host Elisabeth’s survey retrospective.  The art museum has a Museum of Printing and they have collected artists’s prints since the Hinton Bequest last century. The gift of Elisabeth’s etchings is intended to be ongoing because the aim is to have a complete and representative archive of her prints held in one public institution. This will be a focus point for further research.

Elisabeth Cummings: Interior Landscapes is a Drill Hall Gallery touring exhibition and is at the New England Regional Art Museum until 4 November. It then travels to Orange (from 17 November) and Newcastle.

Negative Press: a new era

Top: Printing with Simryn Gill, Malaysia, July 2017
Right: John Spiteri, Actress & Actor, 2015, etching printed in four colours from four plates, 32 x 23.5 cm, edition of 16 + 3 APs. Published by Negative Press.

 

Below: John Nixon, Untitled, 2017, screenprint printed in one colour from one stencil, 79 x 63 cm, edition of 8 + 3 APs. Published by Negative Press

 

Bottom: Negative Press studio

Trent Walter discusses a new move for the much admired Negative Press.

Q: Negative Press has been forging a significant presence in the printmaking landscape—what is the history of this venture?

TW: I’d never thought of starting my own studio until my friend Franck Gohier planted the seed in my brain in 2006. I also spent a formative time working at STPI in Singapore in 2007–08 which made me want to continue my collaborative practice on returning to Australia. Returning home, it seemed that the job I wanted to do didn’t exist, so through necessity I started Negative Press in 2009. Since then, Negative Press has operated as a custom printing and publishing workshop. The publishing projects have included prints and artists’ books, which are both areas of great interest for me, and this is becoming the greater focus of the studio.

Q: What are the advantages and potential outcomes for the new studio space?

TW: The advantages of the new studio are many: more space to work in; a showroom to launch published works and to host occasional exhibitions; and a space to run workshops. My brother, Andrew Walter, is an award-winning architect and he has helped me design the space to remain flexible to the various endeavours that Negative Press engages in. Most importantly, the advantage has been to transfer what was a rather clandestine operation into something far more public and visible.

Q: Who are some of the artists Negative Press has been working with and what are their various areas of interest in terms of print processes?

TW: The biggest projects that have seen completion this year have been with Brent Harris, Simryn Gill and John Nixon. After making the PCA fundraiser print in 2015, Brent and I started developing a five-print series titled The Other Side that Brent launched at Tolarno Galleries recently.  These were all photopolymer gravure and screenprints. The interaction between a tonal image (photpolymer) with the flat planes of the screenprint highlight the strengths of each process.

Simryn’s project was, like our 2016 project Pressing In, concerned with relief printing. We took a full impression of a coconut palm on a farm in Malaysia near the intersection of the states of Johor Bahru and Malacca. The tree was inked with various sized brayers and printed using bone folders onto virtually indestructible washi. It was the best way we could record as much of the surface of the tree as possible.

John Nixon’s screenprints and etchings have developed over the past 18 months. We’re up to 32 etchings so far, and two screenprints. John’s interest, I believe (and this can be attributed to many artists’ engagement with printmaking) is to see how printmaking might filter the concerns of his broader practice. Specifically, the interaction of line, plane, colour, form, texture etc. as it occurs in the medium of printmaking as opposed to his other areas of practice, which include painting, collage, photography and experimental music.

Q: What projects are you envisioning for the future of Negative Press?

TW: After the studio launch and release of John Nixon and John Spiteri’s etchings and screenprints, Negative Press will be participating in the Australian Print Workshop Print Fair on 18-19 November at the APW. Concurrent to this, the focus will also be on finishing a new group of screenprints with Julia Gorman. Into the not-so-distant future, there will be new projects with Elizabeth Newman, Kathy Temin, Rose Nolan and Emily Ferretti. They are all artists I’ve worked with before and in the short history of Negative Press I’ve continued to work with a relatively small group of artists, adding one or two each year. It mirrors the activity of the studio, like a pebble dropped into the water making ripples in slowly widening circles.