Elaine Camlin: Micro-Worlds

Above: Elaine Camlin, Object from and Imagined World #21 (detail), 2017, two plate intaglio with cooper leaf, 12cm x 9cm
Right: Elaine Camlin, Discovering Unknown Objects #03 Day 2, 2018, two plate intaglio on BFK Rive, 6cm x 9cm
Below: Elaine Camlin, Discovering Unknown Objects #104 Day 1, 2018, two plate intaglio on BFK Rives, 6cm x 9cm
Bottom: Elaine Camlin, Mapping Growth, cyanotype and gouache on BFK Rives, 2018, 14cm x 10cm

Elaine Camlin discusses her investigations of the minutiae of the organic world..

Imprint: What is the premise for this exhibition and how have you been working towards it?

Elaine Camlin: The underlying theme in my art practice is the ephemeral nature of growth and decay and the vital role of regeneration in our environment. Over many years, I have collected and documented a variety of organic objects – from livestock skeletons and nests, to seedpods and fungi.  In recent years there has been an obvious shift of interest in my practice. Although the objects in my studio remain the same, my interpretation and appreciation of these objects has changed. The static objects have grown, as I have, and they are constantly reimagined. The very idea of reimagining objects to create new ideas, new forms and most of all new worlds is the catalyst of this body of work.

To prepare for this exhibition, I have worked from three studio spaces. The majority of preparatory work is created at my home studio when my Husband and toddler are asleep.  Once I am ready to etch, I travel across to Canberra to visit Megalo, where I usually put in a few intensive days to prepare my plates. I value my time at Megalo, as this is the time I am surrounded by likeminded creators, and I can have a dialogue with experienced printmakers. To edition the prints I work from my own press, located at The Makeshift Studio – the name I give to the corner of my parents showroom I have monopolised. My press, inking station and drying rack, all live between two shower screen displays.

Imprint: What are some of the foundation ideas for the work in the exhibition, and what are visitors likely to experience?

EC: The foundation for Micro-Worlds was to create a suite of new objects that map the discovery of an ‘unknown’ yet vaguely familiar world.  This exhibition documents and explores the nuances and intricacies of organic objects. The microscopic forms, which have been created intuitively, are influenced by personal moments, memories and reflections over time.  There is an obvious departure away from realistic or immediately identifiable forms, however, the works evoke feelings of familiarity.

The objects, primarily documented through small prints, are precious, yet intangible, traces of personal musings. Many of the works are microscopic, and require a close investigation to reveal the subtle marks and textures. I hope that this close engagement will encourage visitors to view the objects subjectively, to discover and uncover new forms familiar to them, impacted by their own personal history.

Imprint: How was the work developed technically and what were some of the challenges involved?

EC:  The exhibition includes a range of printmaking, drawing and sculptural works, explored as a form of documentation. The body of work begins with a series of observational graphite drawings based on a variety of collected objects. From here, I usually reconstruct, simplify and alter the forms to create linear drawings suitable for line etchings.

Micro-Worlds consists of a suite of two-plate intaglio prints that have been etched with inconsistent aquatints and have been burnished and printed in multiple stages. My aim was to enhance the textural qualities of the image, and to evoke the feeling of an archaeological discovery, and uncovering of new objects. This process was challenging, as I had to relinquish control, and allow the acid to do its thing, leaving much of the background to chance.  It was quite an uneasy process proofing the prints for the first time, not knowing what to expect.

Moving from micro to macro, I have also developed large scale cyanotypes and linocuts which document spatial investigations and typographic contours. Developed in a similar method to the small intaglio prints, these works are also based on my personal interpretations of organic forms. The linocut has been carved and printed in stages, until the form grows to fill the full block. While the cyanotype was created by exposing a large sheet of Fabriano, and then the acetate drawing was cut and exposed again to develop shrinking forms. My biggest challenge with these works was developing large scale images which maintained the same intricacies as the smaller pieces, while still working as a whole composition.

There are also a number of objects in the exhibition, including small drypoints, which have been printed, and displayed as scientific slides and handmade paper clay fossils.

Imprint: What future projects are you working on?

EC: At the conclusion of this exhibition, I will be launching into a new series of work based on the wetlands in the Riverina Region. The first in the series will focus on the environment at Fivebough & Tuckerbil Wetlands in Leeton. The prints will be exhibited nationally from October as part of the Overwintering Project: Mapping Sanctuary, which has been curated by Kate Gorringe-Smith.

I am also working on a solo installation, Seed Pods- Structures of Growth, which will be displayed at the Window Gallery, Eastern Riverina Arts in September. This installation will feature over 100 small papier-mâché forms, that have been built up using printed tissue and rice papers.

Micro-Worlds: Interpretations & Observations of Organic Forms is at Form Studio and Gallery, 1/30 Aurora Avenue Queanbeyan until 18 March, opening 1 March at 6pm. www.formstudioandgallery.com.au

Under Pressure: Arts Project Australia

Above: Fiona Taylor, Fiona and, 2017, print on paper, 30.5 x 20 cm Right:  Lisa Reid, Katherine, 2017, print on paper, 30 x 20 cm Below: Fiona Taylor, Bowie, 2017, print on paper, 30.5 x 20 cm

Curator Yoshe Gillespie discusses the annual show at Arts Project Australia.

Imprint: What is the premise for this exhibition and how have you been working towards it?

YG: Arts Project Australia’s annual exhibition program is really distinct. It aims to present Arts Project Australia artists in a curated program that also places our artists work alongside other contemporary national and international artists.

Under Pressure is a group exhibition that opened on Saturday 10 February, and a lot of artists, their family and locals came to see their work. The show represents the broad spectrum of talents and interests of the Arts Project Australia printmakers and provides a unique opportunity to view the rich and varied output of the printmaking studio. Arts Project printmakers have been working towards the exhibition over the past year, developing their proofing and editioning skills in the process.

Imprint: What are some of the foundation ideas for the work in the exhibition, and what are visitors likely to experience?

YG: The adventurous and exploratory characteristics of the medium have allowed the artists to translate their personal interests and ideas in a creative way. Each artist approaches the process in a unique method and their interactions with the materials are fuelled by their urge to discover their method of image making.

Visitors will have the opportunity to explore a series of work by five key established and emerging printmakers: Lisa Reid, Chris O’Brien, Fiona Taylor, Michael Camakaris, and Bronwyn Hack, and a salon hang of framed and unframed prints by all APA Printmakers…and even some print sculptures.

Imprint: How was the work developed technically and what were some of the challenges involved?

YG: The artists begin by doing research around their particular area of interest. Then a printmaking process will be identified before creating the work. Intaglio and relief processes are currently available in the Arts Project Australia print studio and the artists in Under Pressure have utilised etching, engraving, collagraph, linocut, and monoprint processes to translate their ideas.

The main challenge is time: there are small windows of time each week for the artists to make the work. There are also limitations in terms of access to equipment and tools – the studio is a shared space so we need to be mindful of what else is happening creatively throughout the week. Saying that, the artists are able to achieve a lot each year.

Imprint: What future projects are you working on? 

YG: The studio is a lively place on any given day. The artists exploring printmaking will continue to develop printing techniques and explore unique ways to approach the process. Each artist has a particular focus in his or her individual practice, and we are always on the lookout for works and series’ of works to exhibit, enter into art prizes or to show to collectors. So, at this stage, we’re not sure what’s next on the horizon. However, given the standard of work being produced that you can currently see on show in Under Pressure, I’m sure there will be many exciting opportunities ahead.

There is always the opportunity for the public to contact Arts Project Australia, make an appointment and come in to our beautiful gallery space in Northcote and view artist’s folios in person and in-depth. The gallery is free and open to the public six days a week.

Under Pressure is at Arts Project Australia, 24 High Street Northcote, until 10 March. 


Sydney Printmakers 2018

Above: Works from the show – Susan Baran, Jardines del Alcazar I, 2017, Photopolymer intaglio and hand colouring, 52 x 40 cm
Right: Sandi Rigby, Rainforest, SW Tasmania, 2017, etching, 12.5 x 12.5 cm
Below: Rew Hanks, Playing for Keeps, 2016, linocut, edition of 30, 75 x 106 cm
Bottom: Hannah Hutchison opens the Sydney Printmakers 2018 exhibition

Opening the new Sydney Printmakers 2018 exhibition, Hannah Hutchison, the Assistant Curator of Australian Prints, Drawings and Watercolours at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, reflects on Sydney’s printmaking history and her own journey in the world of print.

As someone who has a keen interest in prints and printmaking, Sydney is a really exciting place for me to now be working in as a curator. Sydney has such an interesting print culture and history, and in thinking about my own career, I have been reflecting on an experience that first triggered my interest in prints and made me want to pursue a career as a print curator.

I can recall it quite clearly—in fact, it was viewing prints that were made in Sydney that first sparked my interest in printmaking. Several years ago, while working as an intern at the Art Gallery of South Australia I was looking through solander boxes, when I came across the vivid flat colour and bold, angular lines of prints made in the 1930s by modernist female artists. These dynamic relief prints by Margaret Preston, Thea Proctor and Dorrit Black immediately captured my attention. The colours of Proctor and Preston’s woodcuts were so clear and vivid and the sense of movement in Black’s linocuts was so spirited. I immediately wanted to know more about this exciting time of printmaking in Australia and about Australian printmaking more generally.

Fast forward a year or two and I was very fortunate to move to Canberra to work with the National Gallery of Australia’s exceptional collection of Australian prints and drawings as the Gordon Darling Graduate Intern. Here I viewed, catalogued and researched a myriad of Australian prints dating from 1800 to the present day. It was at the NGA that learnt about the printmaking revival of the 1960s and that in the decade or two prior, fine art printmaking had, in general, fallen out of favour with artists and had almost ceased to exist in Sydney. However, as many Sydney practitioners know, in 1960 the Sydney Printmakers society was formed, holding its inaugural exhibition in 1961 at Blaxland Gallery. This cohort of artist printmakers injected the Sydney contemporary art scene with dynamic works that challenged notions of traditional printmaking. I became familiar with the works of many of the founding members of the Sydney Printmakers. I pored over the bitingly satirical etchings by Elizabeth Rooney and the lyrical colour of Eva Kubbos’ prints. I was excited by the gestural mark-making utilised by Earle Backen and the sophistication of design of Frank Hinder’s lithographs. The Sydney Printmakers became advocates for the vital place of printmaking within contemporary Australian art, one that continues today, notably due to the sustained efforts of the members of Sydney Printmakers over thepast fifty-eight years.

During my time at the NGA, the Gallery was generously given the Boundless and Borderless portfolio that many members of Sydney Printmakers contributed to along with Canadian printmaking contemporaries. I spent much time looking through the prints and was impressed by the collaboration, exchange of ideas and the myriad of printmaking processed I encountered with each artist responding to the theme of the portfolio with diverse subject, style and method.

One of the many things I think is really special about the Sydney Printmakers group is its all-encompassing attitude to printmaking—there is no dominant printmaking technique or style imposed on the members and as I look around this exhibition I am struck by the range of styles and techniques utilised. This eclectic group of works embraces print in an array of forms, ranging from methods grounded in traditional printmaking techniques, prints incorporating collage and mixed media, through to digital print methods. The works in this exhibition are dynamic, gentle, observational, lyrical, some injected with humour, but most of all they are a celebration of print. They reveal Australian printmaking as the ideal medium for reflecting and capturing contemporary life, and a medium that is always in flux.

One of the other things I think is distinctive about Sydney Printmakers is that as a group it is a community  initiated and fostered by a group of artists passionate about print, and whose ability to constantly reinvent themselves has ensured the continuing relevance and vitality of Sydney Printmakers. In the exhibited works, I can see the clear influence of early members shining through—the rich tradition from where the Sydney Printmakers has sprung. However, at the same time the works being created today look to the future of Australian printmaking. Many of the members of Sydney Printmakers are represented in state and national collections such as the NGA and AGNSW. This is a testament to the strength of the work being created.

This is an exhibition that showcases printmakers who are continuing the tradition of the Sydney Printmakers in a manner that is lively and compelling. Together, current and past members of Sydney Printmakers have etched and impressed their way into the rich history of Australian Printmaking.

Sydney Printmakers 2018 is at Artsite Gallery, 165 Salisbury Road, Camperdown, until 24 February.


‘Editions’ at the new Tacit

Above: Robert Hague, Mine – Yours (after Dance), 2016 , hand coloured lithograph on cotton rag paper, 70 x 70 cm (image), 79 x 79 cm (framed), edition of 25
Right: Andrew Weatherill, Climb, 2017, intaglio & relief print, 60 x 60 cm. Courtesy of artist & Tacit Galleries
Below: Sunny He, HeHeMade 1, 2017, photolithograph, 63 x 54 cm (image), 74 x 65 cm (framed), edition of 3
Bottom: Kasia Fabijanska, Coupe 507-0020, 2017, etching & aquatint, hand coloured, 22 x 15 cm (paper), 30 x 23 cm (framed), edition of 10
Far bottom: Megan McPherson, Cartographer’s chain: cloak-territory-affect, 2016, relief printed rice paper, pigment inks, silk, otton, archival glues, 200 x 200 cm

Editions 2018 is to be the biggest print-exhibition yet for Tacit Galleries at its new Collingwood venue in Melbourne, with twice as much space as previously. Director Keith Lawrence talks about the annual go-to event for the printmaking community.

Imprint: What is the premise for this recurring exhibition and how has it evolved to become one of the big annual print events in Melbourne?

Having moved to bigger premises, we looked to build on the exhibition’s reputation as well as the relationships with artists and audiences, new and returning. Editions 18 is therefore the biggest yet—55 artists and almost 200 works.

But we also knew there needed to be changes—new venue, new ideas, new structures.

A by-invitation ‘featured artist’ was introduced and the inaugural invitee is Damon Kowarsky. A survey of the last ten years of his practice, the focus is on portraiture and the figure, work less seen as Damon’s oeuvre is generally identified with land- and cityscapes.


Imprint: What are some of the results, in terms of the artwork in the exhibition, and what are visitors likely to experience when they visit?

The new Tacit is experiential and has been described as a mini-NGV. Unlike the old premises, there are no little corridor-like rooms—there’s a real sense of space where the artist and the art can be celebrated. With eleven galleries in total and work from 55 artists, there’s a great deal to see.


Imprint: Is the new space a chance to celebrate some more non-traditional formats?

The new premises are so much bigger than Johnston St and some of the galleries have been designed to showcase big works. Tacit and Editions provide a safe platform for artists to explore new and exciting print processes and approaches to image-making. We have introduced a multi-media gallery where Lisa Sewards, in a first for Editions, presents her art projection Silence of the Falling White Parachute.August Carpenter, in Rockwalls (Gariwerd) #1 and #2, has produced two monumental works on paper of 1.2 x 1.8 metres each specifically for the exhibition: Megan McPherson’s three large-scale installation pieces, none of which have been seen in Melbourne, challenge the viewer in their understanding of what constitutes a print (the works were finalists in the Burnie and Fremantle Print Prizes, so they qualify!). And then there’s multiple large framed works by single artists – such a rarity in group exhibitions.


But in looking for big, the baby hasn’t been thrown out with the bathwater! Editions celebrates printmaking in all its diversity and in all forms. So there’s work in all shapes and sizes, from etchings and linocuts with 10 x 10 cm plates through to those Carpenter monoprints—and a great deal in-between.


Imprint: Do you continue to get new names in the exhibition?

Yes. There are 14 new artists and 10 who exhibited for the first time last year. But there are also several ‘returners’ from the earlier editions of Editions who, for various reasons, have not exhibited with us for a few years. What’s interesting is the fact there are only four artists who have appeared in all six Editions exhibitions and in that time we have presented 115 Victorian-based printmakers.

Editions is also committed to presenting recent graduates from tertiary educational establishments and 2018 sees the VCA (Sunny He, Ben Stephens) and RMIT (Liam Haley) represented. The joy of Editions to me is to see these three printmakers sitting alongside such established artists at Robert Hague, Jim Pavlidis and Andrew Weatherill, all three of whom are also new to Editions.

Imprint: What are your observations of the Australian print community

While Editions focuses on Victorian printmakers, nothing exists in a vacuum—and Tacit of course runs throughout the year and exhibits a number of printmakers from around the country. So there’s plenty of exposure to the interstate and New Zealand print communities, a community that is generally incredibly supportive of each other.

Editions opens on Wednesday 7 February at 6.30pm at Tacit Galleries, 123a Gipps St, Collingwood, and shows until 18 February.


Melissa Smith: The Blue of Distance

Above: Melissa Smith, Momentary Worlds (shower), 2017, intaglio collagraph/linocut  Ed. 5, 42.5 x 32 cm
Right: Melissa Smith, Worlds beyond Worlds II, 2017, linocut Ed. 2, 76 x 113 cm (diptych)
Below: Melissa Smith, Longing, 2017, intaglio collagraph/linocut  Ed. 4, 34 x 114 cm (diptych)

IMPRINT: What were some of the foundation ideas for ‘The blue of distance’ – its title indicates an interest in landscape and the world around us?

Melissa Smith: My prints have always referenced aspects of the landscape, in particular shifts that have occurred as a consequence to climatic changes. This work evolved from several visits to the isolated landscape of Melaleuca in the South West of Tasmania. Visiting such remote areas and the resonance of the history they contain can have a powerful impact on one. Such places are on the edges of our worlds where the blue at the horizon, the blue of land and sea that seems to dissolve into sky, is the blue of distance. There is solitude, a desire and a longing associated with such places.

IMPRINT: What is the history of your relationship to the South West of Tasmania and how have you interacted with this area?

MS: I was privileged to visit Melaleuca several times in the past 18 months in my role as a Roving Curator with Arts Tasmania. I was working with the Friends of Melaleuca Inc. on the development and implementation of an interpretation plan associated with the establishment of the Deny King Heritage Museum. The remoteness of these landscapes does have an impact on your senses and I was instantly seduced.

IMPRINT: Tasmania is rich with isolated landscapes – what are some of the echoes of this that make their way into your work?

MS: It is the ‘quietness’ of these landscapes and that feeling of truly ‘being’ in the place. There is also a sense of needing to hold on tightly to these landscapes, which remain precious, and warrant protecting within our ever-changing world that balances on a tipping point. There is a unique sense of self-awareness realised in such environments that is difficult to describe but that in turn emanates a sense of life and hope.

IMPRINT: What are your plans for future projects?

MS: I would like to explore the notion of distance in the landscape further and how it is interpreted. Rebecca Solnit’s writing has certainly inspired me. Potentially one of my future Roving Curator projects could take me to King Island in Bass Strait which would provide me with another isolated landscape to explore and be inspired by.

The Audrey MacDonald Project

Above: John Robinson, Moroccan Top, 2018, lithograph/linocut, edition 1/8, 32 x 42 cm
Right: Gabrielle Falconer, 2018, The Bus Trip to Moscow, linocut, edition 1/6, 61 x 61 cm
Below: Jenny Dean, 2018, They Burn Thistles I & II (detail), collagraph & watercolour, 91 x 36cm each
Bottom: Jan Hogan, Audrey Macdonald’s Turkish Suite (detail), 2018, suite of 14 collages; lithographic print on Japanese paper on European rag paper in solander box, 15 cm x 21.5 cm each, solander box 17 x 25 x 4 cm

Artists involved with the Audrey MacDonald Project in Tasmania discuss their responses to a chance find in a second-hand store.

Imprint: How did your involvement with the Audrey Mac Project come about, and what is the premise for the exhibition?

 A few years back John Robinson bought a second-hand book and found three items among the pages. An address for Audrey MacDonald typed onto a piece of brown paper, a handwritten list of clothing and travel items and a luggage label from the ‘Hotel Rossiya’ that dates somewhere from the 1950s to 1970s. He often thought that it would be interesting to have different people interpret what all of these things could be. After encouragement from a few friends the ‘Audrey Mac Project’ became reality. The exhibition opened with 21 artists represented on at the Schoolhouse Gallery, Rosny Hill Rd, Rosny, Tasmania and continues to 4 February.

 Imprint: What are some of the foundation ideas for the work in the exhibition, and what are visitors likely to experience?

There are a few recurring ideas that appear in the work. Travel, particularly to Russia during the 1960s and 70s. Gaby Falconer has used her Mother’s trip on a Contiki tour to Moscow in 1968 as the basis of her Slavic folk style linocut.  The handwritten list is comprehensive in its description of clothing, making note of the colours and brands of various items. One of the items on the list is a Bangkok orange kaftan, which meant there was an orange colour to much of the work. John Robinson has used travel by train from Edinburgh to Moscow then return to Scotland as the basis for his Lithographs with linocuts of clothing in the middle. Burning thistles and the idea of a Turkish rebel reflect the cover from the book. Jenny Dean has developed her interest in ancestors invading the Tasmanian land with no understanding of how to care for it. Her collagraph is a poignant image of spreading thistles across a hill.

Audrey MacDonald the person and where she lived in Edinburgh is also present in many works. Audrey was still living at the found address when she celebrated her 100th birthday in 2013. Jan Hogan has assumed the persona of Audrey as an artist who studied in Edinburgh in the 1930s and travelled to Turkey in the 1960s. Gaining rare access to Persian miniatures from which a suite of Lithographs has been printed.

Imprint: How was the work developed and what were some of the challenges involved?

Much of the work has evolved from the research that artists have made on the 1960s and 1970s and then incorporated links to personal stories. Other artists have used imagery that comes directly from the information provided. The works include drawings, linocut, collagraph, collage, screenprint on fabric, lithography, digital prints, photography and a movie.

One of the challenges has been to make work that can fit in a suitcase, so that it can be transported to Wharepuke Gallery, Kerikeri, New Zealand where it will be exhibited later this year. This has meant much of the work is pinned and not framed.

Imprint: What future projects are you working on?

John, Gaby and Jenny are all interested in pursuing the themes that they have been working on. John will continue exploring new ways of how the found items relate to each other. Gaby will keep working on projects that connect with her mother’s past. Jenny wants to acknowledge the injustices perpetuated by invaders including her ancestors.

Many of the other artists have expressed interest in reworking the prints that they have made for this exhibition and perhaps presenting a new state or a new work in the New Zealand exhibition. There may be the possibility for a print exchange with some of the international participants and print studios’ that they are associated with.  There is much life left in this project.

John Robinson is the director of an independent printmaking studio in Lindisfarne, where printmaking classes and open studio sessions are regularly held.

Jenny Dean and Gabrielle Falconer are both graduates of UTAS and are the proud owners of an Enjay press. They have held regular exhibitions together.

Jan Hogan is the head of printmaking, School of Creative Arts, UTAS.

Dallas Richardson:

Above: Dallas Richardson, Trees Pipers Brook, 2005, etching and aquatint20 x 24 cm
Right: Dallas Richardson, Four Aspects of Ascent, Cocooned in time, 1996, etching, aquatint, deep bite, colour relief roll, 53 x 52 cm
Below: Dallas Richardson, Rock Series 17 – Blue Mist, 1994, etching, aquatint and deep bite, 75 x 50 cm
Bottom: Dallas Richardson, Rock Series No. 1, 1989, etching, aquatint and deep bite, 30 x 30cm

 Dallas Richardson discusses her retrospective at Gallery Pejean in Launceston.

Imprint : What are some of the foundation ideas for the work in the exhibition, and what are visitors likely to experience?

Dallas Richardson: This exhibition will show prints made from the 1980s to 2013

Most of them are etchings including some of which I named, the ‘Rock Series’ prints. Generally, these works are about transition and renewal of the fluctuating and fragile human condition where the rock becomes a metaphor representing ‘the self’

It began in 1989, when I set up a still life using a granite rock that I picked up from our garden. I set it on a small, Ceylon tea, timber box and it developed from there. To start with, my aim was to simply make an etching, which showed the characteristics of a rock.

After this first still life the rock liberates itself from its tactile surroundings and is found in many varied, imagined environments; a theme develops from one print to the next as the rock finds itself in a myriad of different contexts. Within the earth, floating above, just out of reach of prospective danger, cocooned in a quiet place, sometimes it is split in two and in an atmosphere of darkness and sorrow. Always it is moving in time, changing, and at times finding ecstasy in renewal.

Thus, this humble rock becomes the main motif of my etchings and the ‘Rock Series’ is born

Other etchings, reflect the place that I lived in which was rural northern Tasmania.  I was always keen to trial different etching techniques in relation to these various scenes and so as well as making an etching I was depicting something local. These prints have more immediate appeal whereas the ‘Rock Series’ prints provide a more cerebral and intriguing view but which, I hope relates to the viewer’s varied experiences of life.

Imprint: How was the work developed technically and what were some of the challenges involved?

DR: In the ‘Rock Series’ prints my intention was to create the quality and character of a rock. This presented quite a challenge. Etching, however was the perfect medium. I therefore used zinc plate and nitric acid to achieve the results.

I started by using the sugar-lift technique to give the pock like marks of a rock. Before I began the technique, I blocked out the plate leaving open only the shape of a rock. I then splattered this rock shape randomly with sugar lift solution after which it was covered with a blockout solution. The dry plate was then submerged in warm water to lift the sugar solution. This worked well. I had a plate, which was mostly masked excepted for these random, pock like areas.   After this, I used a strong 4: 1 nitric acid to deeply bite into the plate. This created the surface I was looking for. I then needed to develop tone and texture to create a 3 dimensional appearance. For this I used both hand-held and dust box aquatints.

Originally, these works were black and white but after a while, I decided to introduce colour. I did this by firstly inking up the plate intaglio, then placing a transparent colour over the surface with a relief roller. I had to use a large roller and the roller could travel once only over the inked plate as it would pick up the intaglio ink and redeposit where it wasn’t needed. Because of this, it had to be washed each inking. This was time consuming and as I was using oil based inks, very messy and smelly, especially when using a solvent. However, the results were exactly what I wanted. So I persevered.

Imprint: What future projects are you working on?

DR:  In my new studio in Legana Tasmania I have an excellent setup. I have two mangle presses and all the materials and tools needed so I can practice both intaglio and relief printing.

I have decided that I will practice only non-toxic printmaking so this means I no longer do etching and I use only water-based inks.

I am now making collagraphs, drypoints and linocuts

My present works portray evocative landscapes mostly imagined but sometimes I use local scenes that I develop. With these, I intend to create a body of new work that I can exhibit.

Dallas Richardson – A retrospective is at Gallery Pejean until February 17. 

Imaging the Margin

Above: Paradise, 2015 Imprinted and cast handmade paper
sculpture, 300cm x 60cm. PANELS LEFT to RIGHT: Sea Journey 2017 Watermarked and cast handmade
paper 250cm x 70cm; Off Shore 2017 Watermarked and dyed handmade paper 250cm x 70cm; Declaration, 2017 Impressed handmade paper
250cm x 70cm; Fortress Mentality, 2017 Impressed handmade paper
250cm x 70cm.
Right; Article One, 2017 (detail), handmade imprinted paper panel 250cm x 70cm,
Below: Imaging the Margin, 2017 (page 16) Contemporary ‘illuminated manuscript’ video artist’s
book, projected onto five, 250cm x 70cm handmade paper panels.

Artist Nathalie Hartog-Gautier discusses the exhibition Imaging the Margin: Journeys, Borders and Living on the Edge, a collaboration with Penelope Lee.

Imprint: What were some of the foundation ideas for Imaging the Margin?

NH-G: We have a shared passion for the art of print and paper that precipitated the collaborative work. Penelope’s work integrates the medieval origins of papermaking, printmaking and book binding with new media technologies in artefacts that explore the way we read the world.

My practice over the years has focused on the concept of the voyage, its transformations, attachments and associations, especially when place interconnects with memory and identity. Displacement and migration are continuing themes in my work.

The concept of the project started some years ago and, as often, discussion and sharing common interests in politic started the seed of an idea. Watching waves after waves of migrants/refugees risking their like for the hope of a better life is something hard to grasp in the comfort of one’s home, but we felt both angry and appalled by the refugees’ situation here in Australia, by the political collusion by both main parties on refugee policy and the harsh deterrent like Manus Island. We felt the critical voices were marginalised.

It was impossible to think we could be “in their shoes”. But we have a voice, so to speak, and we could relate our feeling with our artworks. But there is so much to say and how to relate so many words in our works?

The medieval book and their comments and drawings in the margins were a starting point for our research. After Penelope was awarded an AGNSW residency studio at the Cite Internationale des Arts, we both went to Paris to research manuscripts at the Bibliothèque Richelieu. Visual materials were also abundant in newspapers to provide a collection of images that could be used in collages.

When we came back from Paris, we had a dedicated space at Primrose Park in Neutral Bay, a studio awarded by North Sydney Council. It was a half way meeting place for both of us and “a studio away from home”.

Imprint: The subject matter is very topical, as well as complicated how did you work towards saying something new and powerful, or develop a different perspective on it?

NH-G: Medieval architecture had a strong influence on the series of works we made. Because of the level of literacy at the time, a lot of ideas were represented in sculptures and paintings on walls. Books were for the elite, people who could read and write.

After many trials and errors, discussions, we came up with the concept of the columns and its capital titled “Paradise”, a visual narrative, a monument in memory of the refugees and migrants who lost their life trying to reach Paradise/Australia with all their names written on the column. A list of names of those who have died at sea or in Australian custody is provided by the Australian Border Deaths Database http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/thebordercrossingobservatory/publications/australianborder-


The Australian Border Deaths Database maintains a record of all known deaths associated with Australia’s borders since 1 January 2000.

We also made 14 large hand made paper panels (250x70cm), 5 panels with watermarks alluding to stain-glass windows. These panels were designed to form a screen for the video projection of an “illuminated manuscript,” exhibited at the Grafton Regional Gallery.

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

NH-G: The works had to be a narrative, similar to walking in a medieval church looking at all the elements telling a story. The challenge was the initial large book we wanted to do. We both went to Burnie to make the paper but structurally we couldn’t get it to work. Where there is a problem there is a solution – a digital book!

“Imaging the Margin,” is video projection of a contemporary interpretation of the illuminated manuscripts inspired by our studies in Paris. We felt we had to talk about the Human Right charters on refugees, as Australia is a signatory of the treaty. We thought how could our government sign such an important document and walk away from it and say things like “we choose who come to Australia” or make up “fake news” with accusations of refugees throwing their children overboard.

Imprint: What are your plans for future collaborations?

NH-G: Penelope and I have collaborated on 5 projects with 4 in the last 3 years! We collaborated on the work “Underground” at the Coal Loader that won the work on paper award. The large body of work “Imaging the margins” will continue our collaboration with talk to travel the work overseas.

Imaging the Margin is at Mary Mckillop Place, 7-11 Mount Street, North Sydney, until 28 February

Eirene Mort: A Livelihood

Above: Wood and leather working tools c1920 belonging to Nora Weston, Mort Family Estate, photo RLDI
Right: Eirene Mort (right) and Nora Weston c.1905, Mort Family Estate, photo RLDI 
Below: Eirene Mort (1879-1977) Printing block and prints c.1900, Mort Family Estate, photo RLDI 
Bottom: Printing plate ‘S’ c.1903, courtesy Mort Family Estate, photo RLDI

Curator Dale Middleby discuss the work of Eirene Mort, an extraordinary woman. 

Imprint: Eirene Mort was an extraordinarily talented and active person – how do you curate a show with so many possible avenues of enquiry, and what did you decide to focus on?

 DM: I was really spoilt for choice, Mort mastered an astonishing range of skills during her first study tour to London (1899–1903), and in two further visits in 1912 and 1926. She expressed her considerable skills in a wide range of media, and in addition was an inventor, a writer and a family historian. She practised interior design and occupational therapy before such professions were recognised. Add to these her role as a teacher and her prominence in numerous arts societies, and a picture emerges of an entrepreneur, a high achiever and an astute social observer.

The exhibition aims to explore the lived experience of a woman artist and artisan practising in the first decades of last century. As the title, Eirene Mort: a livelihood suggests, the exhibition reveals how Mort made a living from her art practice and teaching in the early years of the 20th Century. My curatorial decisions and object selections were based on how best to inform this overarching theme. As a consequence, Mort’s early influences, her training, and her personal and professional networks are subthemes that run as a biographical narrative throughout the exhibition.


Imprint: What is the history behind CMAG coming to have such a wonderful endowment of Eirene Mort’s art practice?

DM: Since opening in 1998 CMAG has acquired examples of Mort’s work and featured her etchings in a number of exhibitions.  Seeking permission from the Canberra branch of the Mort family to use and reproduce her work for such exhibitions fostered a fine rapport. It was very gratifying therefore in 2013 when Mort’s heirs offered to donate material to CMAG that related to her art practice. Their offer was accepted and the material is now a prized part of CMAG’s permanent collection; a generous gift from the estate of Eirene’s niece, Margaret Mort MBE.

Imprint: How did Mort contribute to issues around national identity in Australia?

 DM: Mort was in London studying art teaching and design when the Australian states federated and shaping a new national identity was foremost in the minds of public figures. Mort was particularly taken by the English Arts and Crafts Movement and when she returned to Australia applied its principles and her designer’s eye to Australian flora and fauna. Mort’s extensive use of Australian species in her work engendered pride in the unique flora and fauna of Australia.

In 1903 Mort made a less positive contribution to the burgeoning national identity in her design for a set of children’s alphabet blocks. An Aboriginal man stands for the letter ‘A’ in Mort’s ‘Australian Animal Alphabet’. Such racial prejudice was commonplace among non-indigenous Australians at the time and shows Mort held views that were typical of a privileged, middle-class woman of that time.

Imprint: What are some of the highlights among Mort’s print-related work and interests?  

DM: Mort’s bookplates and their associated etching plates, pen drawings, woodblocks and printer’s proofs are highlights of the exhibition. In 1908 Mort became member of the Ex Libris Society and actively pursued the society’s goal of promoting exchange among artists. A sample of her vast personal collection is on show and includes the work of Lionel Lindsay and Margaret Oppen. In a letter dated 1947 from fellow bookplate collector Gianni Mantero, Mort is asked to list the best Australian bookplate artists. She replies that it is “a very delicate question to ask a bookplate designer” but lists “a few of the best” including Adrian Feint, Allan Jordan, Eric Thake, GD Perrottet, P Litchfield,  Roy Davis, and Hilda Wiseman(NZ). Also on display is a checklist booklet which details eighty-eight of Mort’s designs made from 1907-1943.


Imprint: How is the exhibition organised in terms of the way a visitor might experience it?

DM: This exhibition begins with one of Eirene Mort’s (1879–1977) most important projects; her mission to record Canberra’s heritage. Mort had developed a fondness for the region when, as a child, she visited her Campbell relations at Duntroon and her Crace relations at Gungahlin. Knowing that the Canberra region was about to change because of its new status as the national capital, Mort compiled a portfolio of drawings and etchings of the Canberra district of the 1920s.

Following this module is an intense display demonstrating the many skills she employed to support herself. It includes examples of book binding, book illustrations, bookplates, calendars, ceramics, children’s books and toys, Christmas cards, dadoes, decorative panels, d’oyleys, ecclesiastical designs, etchings, gift cards,  illuminated addresses, inlaid wood designs, leatherwork, linocuts, magazine covers, mirror frames, prints, postcards, posters,  pyrography, repoussé work, sketches, stencilled borders, tablecloths, tapestries, wallets, wallpaper designs, watercolours, woodcarving designs and woodcuts. A detailed biography follows that examines Mort’s life through her creative legacy and social milieu.

Eirene Mort: A Livelihood  is at Canberra Museum + Art GAllery until 25 February

Canicular Days at Queenscliff Gallery & Workshop

Above: Lucinda Tanner, Porta D’Acqua, 2014, oil-based ink on paper/woodblock print, dimensions 210x200cm. Courtesy of Lucinda Tanner
Right: Lucinda Tanner, Basilisk, 2016, oil-based ink on paper/woodblock print, dimensions 150x100cm. Courtesy of Lucinda Tanner
Below: Lucinda Tanner, Der Brunnen, 2015, oil-based ink on paper/woodblock print, dimensions 170x130cm. Courtesy of Lucinda Tanner
Bottom: Lucinda Tanner, The Hodler Frieze I, 2017, oil-based ink on paper/woodblock print, dimensions 100x270cm. Courtesy of Lucinda Tanner

Lucinda Tanner discusses Canicular Days at Queenscliff Gallery & Workshop.

Imprint: How did your involvement with Canicular Days come about, and what is the premise of the exhibition?

LT: I exposed my first silkscreen in the solarium up at the local gym in our country town. I was experimenting with printing underglazes onto clay for my VCE art studies.

That was 30 years ago. I have since had many adventures with print in one form or another.

At a commercial screenprinters in Cairns, the strength of the sun was so constant we exposed the screens directly under the open sky. No exposure unit was needed.

In Melbourne’s CBD in the 1990s, I worked for fashion label Vixen Australia, hand-printing metres and metres of their divine silks and velvets.

Printing with master printer Osmond Kantilla in the screenprinting studio at Tiwi Design on Bathurst Island, was a particularly treasured time.

These past experiences were more practical applications of print. It is only since moving to Switzerland and falling in love with the woodblock print that I have steered in the direction of fine-art prints.

Maintaining an active presence as an artist in two countries requires quite a bit of energy. However, nurturing the connection with my home audience is important to me so I am happy to make that investment. I am grateful to Queenscliff Gallery & Workshop (QG&W) for the opportunities that my association with them makes possible, enabling me to cultivate an ongoing engagement.

Canicular Days is the gallery’s summer group show exhibiting current works of eight Australian printmakers.


Imprint: What were some of the foundation ideas for the work you have made for the exhibition?

LT: Not far from us, just over the border in France, is the Rixheim Wallpaper Museum. I have returned a number of times to view their Panoramics, or scenic wallpapers, landscapes formed from sheets of wallpaper pasted side by side to cover all the walls of a room. I love the notion of ‘setting the scene’ and this was one thing in mind when I approached this project.

The other was the question ‘what makes a place that place?’ The natural landscape to start with and then the cultural heritage that has been laid down over it. I have been contemplating heritage objects and what they represent by translating them into large format relief prints. Most recently, I printed a collection of objects found in the streets and houses throughout Baselland and Basel city. It was interesting to reflect on what they revealed about the differences between these two neighbouring cantons.

The Hodler Frieze (I & II of the series can be viewed at QG&W) is a large format, multi-coloured woodblock print consisting of 3 panels depicting a stylised mountain panorama. Inspiration for this vista was drawn from the landscape paintings of one of Switzerland’s greatest artists, Ferdinand Hodler (1853 – 1918).

The Hodler Frieze is an extension of the idea of translating cultural heritage into print. In this case I have ‘translated’ Hodler’s landscape paintings, capturing both landscape and cultural heritage. The Swiss landscape as informed by Hodler.


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

LT: The print is a continued investigation of a cross-hatching technique I have been working with, all about layering and intersections. I spent a long time considering how the printing plates, which I restricted to three per panel, should interact with each other to convey the image.

The use of multiple layers and the cross hatching was aimed at achieving colours with depth and vitality. I did a lot of sampling to see how the colours interacted with each other.

I also trialled many papers to see how they took the multiple layers of ink. I couldn’t afford long drying times between layers and wanted a uniform matt finish. I needed an absorbent paper of sufficient size.

In the end I opted for the Hahne Mühle Alt Lünen 350gsm etching carton that comes on the roll. I liked the soft, smooth texture of the paper and the way it absorbed the ink so uniformly, even the third layer.

Tearing the paper down to the required sheet size in preparation for printing took a day alone. A process that required its own forethought and planning.

When working in the large format, the normal problems that printmakers face become large format problems. When it comes to the actual print production, a clear visualisation of how the printing process is going to run from start to finish is essential to avoid unexpected hitches. For example, when you have eight oversized, ink-covered sheets of paper that don’t fit into standard drying racks, you need a system in place to house them while the dry. These issues all must be planned for in advance or you risk ruining your work.

To ensure colours matched across all three panels of the frieze sufficient ink needed to be mixed at the outset of the print run. At the same time I was mindful of not mixing so much ink that it was going to go to waste. It was tricky to judge these large amounts of ink.


Imprint: What future projects are you working on?

LT: Firstly, I’m not done with the Hodler Frieze series yet. Up until now I have worked with transparent inks but recently started with some opaques which has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities. I want to re-work the Hodler plates and continue the series with an investigation of what effects can be gained from the usage of opaque inks.

I am in the planning phase of a project that will mark the Carl Spitteler jubilee in 2019. Carl Spitteler (1845–1924) was a Swiss poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1919. He wrote epic poems and I plan to produce an epic panorama depicting parts of his most famous poem.

For this project I have initiated a collaboration with a puppeteer and a musician/actor. The goal is to bring the poems alive through theatre with my prints serving as the set. This is part of an ongoing effort to seek more engaging ways of sharing print with an audience.

I have recently become interested in the woodblock prints of German artist Anselm Kiefer (born 1945) and can imagine his and Paul Gauguin’s woodblock prints having an influence on my Spitteler panoramic. But of course, one thing always leads to another and you never know where things might end up…

Canicular Days, featuring Rona Green, John Kelly, Michael Leunig, Soula Mantalvanos, Adam Nudelman, Lucinda Tanner, Deborah Williams and Joel Wolter. is at Queenscliff Gallery & Workshop until 25 February. qgw.com.au

Lucinda Tanner will be in the gallery demonstrating woodblock printing on the 28, 29 and 30 December.