Jazmina Cininas, WHO’S AFRAID OF THE BIG BAD WOLF, 1996, artist Book – detail
Jessi Wong, Migration IV, 2017, print collage, drawing
A new exhibition at RMIT celebrates the 20-year connection between its print-based programs and the acclaimed Australian Print Workshop. Andrew Stephens reports.
It has been a relationship based on quality, dedication and generosity, and many riches have sprung from it: since 1996, the Australian Print Workshop has sent representatives to RMIT to scout around for someone to take up the Collie Print Trust Emerging Victorian Printmakers Scholarship.
The recipients of the coveted scholarship get rent-free access to APW’s professional printmaking studio and equipment for a year and, at the end of it, the chance to exhibit in the APW Gallery. It has been a wonderful opportunity and many artists have cited it as integral to their continuing involvement with printmaking.
To mark this is Platinum, an exhibition of the work of six artists who have received the scholarship and continued to produce printmaking-related work – retaining traditional printmaking elements but sometimes exploring exciting new territory. Dr Richard Harding, studio coordinator of RMIT’s Print Imaging Practice (Photography and Printmaking), says that APW director Anne Virgo OAM has been involved in both the longstanding relationship between the two institutions and the selection of the six artists (Jazmina Cininas, Andrew Gunnell, Carolyn Hawkins, Clare Humphries, Deb Taylor and Jessi Wong).
Each artist has submitted work produced during their scholarship at APW along with an example of their more recent output – and sometimes the differences are considerable.
‘It is not a “compare and comparison” show but one that is moving forward,’ Harding says. ‘If you are really interested in the idea of then and now, then the gallery spectator/participant can enact that themselves without us directing them.’
Harding says that since its inception, APW has championed the tradition of printmaking and print-based works and, thus, the work selected comes from those traditions, even as it plays with it. Jessi Wong’s work, for example is printed traditionally but then chopped up and collaged back together.
‘And while some of the APW scholarship recipients in the show are just starting to find their feet in the art world, there are others who are well-established.’
In the catalogue for Platinum, Virgo writes that the Collie Print Trust scholarship is awarded to those early-career artists and recent graduates who demonstrate not only a talent and passion for printmaking but who are also committed to developing their printmaking practice.
‘APW is very proud of its scholarship alumni, many of whom are now engaged in arts leadership positions and whose prints have been exhibited and collected by major art galleries and museums throughout Australia and internationally,’ she says.
Platinum is at RMIT:ART:INTERSECT Project Space/Spar Room, building 94, 23-27 Cardigan Street, Carlton, until 11 May http://art.rmit.edu.au/calendar/opening-platinum/