Lisa Sewards: Thousand kisses deep

Below: Parajelly, 2/8, etching, edition of 8, 64x48cm Right: Sea-scroll I, 2017, etching, hand rolled and hinged, 12x19x11cm Bottom: Alluring, 1/3, etching, edition of 3, 46x36cm Far bottom: Maritime Wreath, 2017, etchings, 17 assembled panels, unique state, 138x96cm

 

Lisa Sewards explores her continuing engagement with parachutes and jellyfish.

Imprint: What is the premise for your investigation of parachute-based images and how have you been working with it for your new show?

LS:  My imagination was captured many years ago by the parachute object, from its symbolic meanings to its rich associated stories that I have uncovered, in particular during wartime.  My first solo exhibition entitled White Parachute was replete with a personal family story that was both romantic and tragic.  More recently marine parachutes captured my imagination.  An article about the remarkable abundance of transparent ghostly jellyfish that live in the lagoons of the Chuuk Atoll, the location of Truk Lagoon in Micronesia, and the resting place for hundreds of sunken vessels, aircrafts and their ghosts, instigated my research.

 

Imprint: What did your research about Truk Lagoon involve?

LS:  Initially the medusozoa image in that particular article captured my interest as in my mind it had a visual lineage to parachutes.  A military attack, Operation Hailstone, on Japan’s naval stronghold in the central Pacific during WW2, transformed Truk Lagoon into a macabre and haunting graveyard.  Over time nature has healed and hidden the scars of this event and today this watery grave is a time capsule within a peaceful flourishing marine ecosystem.

Research material included historical books, newspaper articles, visiting aquariums, and snorkelling in the pacific at a sunken ship location.  A key resource was my communication with a resident islander on Truk Lagoon.  Via social media I posted a general callout to anyone connected to this event.  Six months later one resident of the Chuuk Islands made contact and shared her Grandmother’s stories. Her Great Grandfather died in the battle of Operation Hailstone as local islanders were forced to work on the ships and many lost their lives.

I was also fortunate to source small US military pilot release parachutes from the estate of an American airforce serviceman.  These have provided me with an integral physical item enabling me to develop my imaginary “parajellys”.  

 

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

LS: My challenge was not to create a historical body of work but rather a body of work that was inspired by the events and location of Truk Lagoon.  Suites of drawings were transformed into etchings using photopolymer intaglio solar plates. To master rich evenly etched solar plates from ones original drawings is very different to the acid based process with zinc and copper plates.  The process is relatively non-toxic however almost scientific and requires time to technically achieve successful results.  My intention was to create a large scaled work on paper for one entire gallery wall depicting ‘fractured lagoons’.  This was technically challenging with the constraints of my printing press size and the challenges that working with large sized solar plates present.  Ultimately individual A2 etchings were achieved (two of these original etchings are framed and in the exhibition).  The next steps included scanning, and with the assistance of printer Gary Upton six large scaled archival pigment prints were printed on cotton rag papers A1 in size.  The final result, “The fractured lagoons I-VI’ for one entire wall at fortyfivedownstairs.

One special personal challenge I set myself was to create a small etching that would appropriately honour the Great Grandfather of my kind provident.  All male elders in her islands are known as ‘Papa’ and my work entitled the same will soon be gifted and make its journey to Truk Lagoon.

 

Imprint: There are several paintings in this exhibition – what is the relationship between your print work and painting?

LS:  I am a Printmaker who paints and for Thousand kisses deep developed a suite of oil paintings to pair with groups of etchings.  In each arrangement the connections of the paintings are through their aspect, imaginary and palette.  The contrast of the two mediums allowed me to grow and develop moving from the process driven printmaking discipline through to the freedom and fluidity in painting.

 

Imprint: What future projects are you working on?

LS: The parachute object has been pivotal in my previous bodies of work and will continue to be central moving forward.  I intend to develop a new work for Print Council of Australia’s upcoming biannual print exchange 2018.  Soon thereafter I will begin the process of searching for the next story to research and develop which excites me!

I am honoured that Tacit Galleries have invited me as their feature artist for Editions 2019 and as a result a small survey of previous works will be included, along with a new suite of prints to be developed this year.

In the long term I have a plan to return to the personal family story and walk in my mothers footsteps as a child: from Belarus to Berlin.  The parachute will be fundamental in this journey and I am excited by what connections and stories the project will in time unveil.

Thousand kisses deep is at fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne until 17 March.

Sister City Prints

Above: Lady Lumps, 2017, Kate Zizys and Tosh Ahkit, Digital image, 42 x 59.4cm, edition of 30. Photography by Kate Zizys Right: Reef, 2017-18, Glenda Orr and Kathy Boyle, Mixed print media – digital, monoprint linocut, embossing, etching, screen print), archival box with digitally printed interleaving, Prints: 20 x 20cm, Box: 22 x 22 x 16cm, 30 Unique state prints. Photography by Glenda Orr Below: Floating Worlds 1, 2017, Sandra Starkey Simon and Fanny Retsek, Monotype, chine collé, 76 x 56cm, Unique state, Photography by Alex Makeyev Bottom: Re-Navigate, 2017, Suzie Lockery and Kristina Paabus, Screen print & synthetic polymer on matte polyester film, 178 x 224cm (irreg.), Unique state. Photography by Mu Young

Sister City Prints: an intercontinental collaborative project

The Sister City Prints project adopted a novel approach to art making and turned it into a show brimming with inspiring stories and exciting artworks, all with a printmaking flavour.

In the spirit of true global cooperation, Adelaide artist and occasional curator Andrea Przygonski has brought together 11 contemporary Australian printmakers with 11 international artists and asked them to create something together.

Artists from Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth were teamed with artists from Chicago, Ohio, San Francisco, New York, Ireland, France, Estonia, Canada and New Zealand.  The catch – most had never met each other before.

The project was borne out of a desire to reconnect with colleagues from overseas. After a residency in Canada in 2009 and study in Chicago 2012-2013, Przygonski returned to Adelaide with a directory full of new contacts. Yet, distance inevitably sees many friendships fade and she began to ponder how she could maintain the wonderful connections she’d made. What better way than to create something together. The seed of Sister City Prints was planted.

Being involved in collaborative partnerships and working alongside international artists throughout her career, Przygonski was curious to see how these two things might blend together in a broader group context. Acutely aware of the struggle women artists have in the art arena, she also wanted to develop a project that enabled women artists to be conspicuous in a space that is invariably male-dominated.

In late 2015 while on a road trip from Adelaide to Mildura to attend the inaugural Print Triennial, the focus of her idea sharpened, and in 2016 Przygonski began inviting artists from across Australia and the globe to participate in the Sister City Prints project. Twenty-two artists in total. All women. All ages. All stages of their careers. Various disciplines.

Eleven contemporary Australian printmakers were each teamed up with an international artist. Many of the Australian artists knew one another, however most had never met their international partner before, so it became a leap of faith to engage at this level.

Keen to move away from the usual prescriptive thematic exhibition style, Przygonski left concept development up to the artist-teams. The only parameter was for the work to contain or allude to printmaking. Each team was tasked to create artworks in any scale, medium or format.

Emerging from this is a group of fascinating works that test the boundaries of printmaking, some with very tenous connections indeed, yet this becomes part of the delight of this project, to see what happens and accept whatever emerges. Traversing the globe as they were being created, the artworks are signifiers of the deep connections developed and of the forging of individual sensibilities into one voice.

“What happens when we open the door, invite somebody else into this strange and intimate process? What happens when, rather than jealously protecting the treasures hidden within us, we trust another creator to help us bring them forth, in an entirely new way?

Artists participating in the Sister City Prints collective exhibition have expressed surprise at the unexpected ways that creating in collaboration with a partner has changed their work. Surprise, yes, but also delight. Stories of artists posting half-finished pieces across the Pacific Ocean, scribbles and sketches and all the vulnerability of sharing that which has not yet been polished to perfection, to find that upon arrival it has found new life in her partner’s hands, and has moved in a direction that she would never have dreamed of alone, towards expressing the deep ideas and beliefs shared between the two collaborating artists. Perhaps collaboration is the quiet form of rebellion we have been searching for.

Here, female artists and printmakers surpass the boundaries of distance, age and vastly different degrees of commercial success to build relationships and create work that expresses individual interests and concerns. Women’s stories at the forefront, but interwoven with explorations of home and place, of immense love and concern for oceans and the land, and of the still-strange, still-new, barely-yet-tested world of digital communication.

The egalitarian nature of this collaboration joins together women artists and asks them to create something together, regardless of age or seniority. By resolving the difficulties involved in communicating across borders and time zones, the artists are able to discover the myriad possibilities that come from creating works together. Collaboration gives permission for women to be kind to one another, and to lift each other up; simply, it gives us permission to care. Nothing feels more radical.”[1]

Sister City Prints project exemplifies the essence of cooperation across the barriers of race, class and nation. It is about women as innovators, it builds awareness of the possibilities no matter distance or age and it is about the right of all women to be heard. – Andrea Przygonski, BVA MVA, Adelaide, South Australia

Sister City Prints is at West Gallery Thebarton, 15 March-15 April.

www.westgallerythebarton.com.au/

Participating artists: 

Amanda Lawler (Vic) and Traci Horgen (New York, USA)

Andrea Przygonski (SA) and Victoria May (California, USA)

Glenda Orr (Qld) and Kathy Boyle (NZ)

Hanah Williams (SA) and Rea Lynn de Guzman (California, USA)

Jess Boyce (WA) and Kate Conlon (Chicago, USA)

Kate Zizys (Vic) and Tosh Ahkit (NZ)

Loique Allain (Vic) and Rosie Teare (France)

Lorelei Medcalf (SA) and Gwen Davies (Nova Scotia, Canada)

Robyn Finlay (SA) and Ruth McEwan-Lyon (Belfast, Ireland)

Sandra Starkey Simon (SA) and Fanny Retsek (California, USA)

Suzie Lockery (SA) and Kristina Paabus (Ohio, USA/Estonia)

[1] [1] Moffatt, Lucy Only Connect, Sister City Prints exhibition catalogue essay, Adelaide: Andrea Przygonski, 2018, pp5-6

Monika Lukowska

Above: Monika Lukowska, Recalling home, 2017, lithograph, 56 x 76 cm. Image courtesy of the artist
Right: Monika Lukowska, Riverside Drive, 2017, lithograph on Kozo, 64 x 73 cm. Image courtesy of the artist
Below: Monika Lukowska, Riverside Drive, 2017, detail. Image courtesy of the artist
Bottom: Monika Lukowska, Residues, 2017, lithograph on Gampi, dimension variable. Photograph Melanie McKee.
Right; 
Below:

 WA artist Monika Lukowska discusses her academic and artistic practice.

Imprint: How did your PhD come about, and what is the thrust of the topic area you have investigated?

Monika Lukowska: The idea for this project originated from my ongoing interest in place, which I see both as a geographical location and as a site that triggers emotions and memories. In the last few years, I have frequently moved and travelled between places, either for study, work or vacation. I lived in Europe, the United States and now Australia. Places that I have visited often leave strong impressions on me which I attempted to weave into to my prints. Thus, I thought that my PhD would be a great opportunity to extensively examine the idea of place and analyse how places can affect people and influence art practice.

 

I became especially interested in the materiality of place, which I consider to be a combination of the physical aspects of place, such as its specific architecture and landscape, immaterial features like weather and smells, and experiences, feelings, meanings and sensations engendered through a bodily engagement with place. To examine the implications materiality had on my art practice, I compared the experience of place in my hometown, Katowice, Poland to my current home in Perth, Australia. I explored these places through walking; spending many months taking photographs, reflecting, recording and making sketches. My methodology and creative practice was a means of engaging with familiar and unfamiliar environments, re-discovering and discovering the feeling of belonging and attachment, which allowed me to gain insight into the complex experience of place. The tactile and sensorial knowledge of materiality, which I obtained through walking, became a main inspiration for my prints.

 

Imprint: What are some of the results, in terms of the art work in the exhibition, and what are visitors likely to experience as far as a connection with the written component of the PhD?

ML: Throughout this project my studio practice and exegesis have strongly informed each other. Looking at my prints that span 3 years of the studio work, there is a visible shift, both visually and conceptually in the representation of place in my work. Often my early prints reflect on physical features of Katowice and Perth such as its landscape and architectural elements. While creating these works I used photographs and drawings for reference, attempting to preserve the resemblance of the actual places.

 

As my research progressed, I focused on examining the experience, and the role that feelings and sensations have in the perception of place which have greatly influenced my work. My latter prints are guided by my memories of touch, movement, atmosphere and the textures of places. I consider my final prints to no longer be about two different places but to compress the essence of my experiences in Katowice and Perth; weaving past with present, familiar with unfamiliar, and distance with proximity.

 

My intention was to represent the materiality of place as experienced through walking, attentive observations and bodily engagement. I hope that by drawing upon personal experiences, I can provide an insight into the intricate relationship between materiality and the human experience of place.

 

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

ML: During this project, I worked mainly with lithography which as a process can be very challenging.  Even though, I have been utilizing this technique for many years, there were moments where I faced technical difficulties in terms of processing the stone and printing. Often these problems arose because the chemicals and materials available to me were different to those that I was accustomed to. I spent time trying to find the best acid solution for etching or trying to figure out why my image did not develop correctly. It took time and a lot of patience but in the end I was quite pleased with my results. I find the lithographic process very rewarding, as there is much room for experimentation with materials and techniques.

 

At the commencement of my studio work, I was focused on printing editions; whereas towards the end of my studio work a lot of my prints were only in unique state, combining multiple sheets of thin Japanese papers such as Kozo and Gampi.  Working with Japanese papers became an important aspect of my practice. Its flexibility allowed me to overcome the limitation of the press as the paper can be easily folded and run through the press without the risk of permanently breaking or tearing its structure. This encouraged me to work on larger scale pushing the boundaries of my practice by experimenting with the presentation of the work and collaging layers printed on individual sheets of paper.

 

Imprint: What future projects will this doctorate enable for you?

ML: I plan to work towards the exhibition Convergence, with my PhD colleague Melanie McKee which will be a continuation of our prior collaborations. The exhibition is concerned with the human experience dislocating from origins, and understanding new places, so it corresponds with some of my research subjects. I will also start to work on a group project, with other artists form WA with whom I connected during my studies. This project aims to examine how we comprehend and respond to unknown places. These two projects will be continuation of my research and hopefully they will allow me to unfold other undeveloped ideas that emerged during my PhD.

Encountering place is at Gallery Central, North Metro TAFE, 12 Aberdeen St, Northbridge, WA, 9- 17 March. Exhibition opening: 8 March.

 

 

Alice Oehr: Freshly Wrapped

Above, right and below: images from Alice Oehr’s ‘Freshly  wrapped’.

Artist Alice Oehr discusses her new show at Lamington Drive. 

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

AO: The theme of this show was born from me observing, week after week, the striking visual impact that occurs when you add bright plastic packaging to a natural item like a piece of fruit. I love this contrast of the natural with the highly unnatural—melon peel, citrus skin, fluoro foam, stickers, etc. The pieces in the exhibition are a collection of fruit and vegetables in which I found this contrast of natural patterns and forms with unnatural additions to be particularly obvious. The result is very bright and hopefully quite over-stimulating—exactly how I find it when I go to the market.

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

AO: I guess my main intention in creating this work was to comment on the way we consume our produce in the city, how far removed it is from the way nature intended it. It’s a tough position as a graphic designer, because while all the unnecessary plastic horrifies me from an environmental perspective, the wealth of visuals associated with fruit stickers, brightly coloured netting and the packaging in general looks quite fabulous, and I can’t help but love it, too. The work certainly expresses my love for the way these things look; but what it doesn’t say is how I feel about the wider impact of these things on the world. I’m a person who always brings my own bags to the market!

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

AO: I worked from real references—and hundreds of photos that resulted from me obsessing over this theme for at least three years.

I was determined to silkscreen the pieces as I consider it to be the most beautiful medium perhaps of all time, for my taste—I am a designer rather than a fine artist after all. This was challenging as I am not a hugely precise person and hand-pulled screenprints require a lot of neatness and precision. Luckily, I met a master printer who gave me a wonderful internship of sorts with him—so I was able to achieve the finish I was after with very limited print wastage.

Imprint: What future projects are you working on? 

More silkscreens! And a new book on a subject that’s not about food.

Freshly Wrapped is at Lamington Drive, 52 Budd Street, Collingwood, until 17 March.

Andrew Totman: The Veiled Visceral

Above: Andrew Totman, For awhile, 2017, monotype
Right Andrew Totman, Time is New

Thomas Middlemost penetrates The Veiled Visceral.

Andy Totman, b.1961, has taught, travelled extensively, and worked within printmaking fields since the mid-eighties; when he completed his 1983 B.A. at the University of San Diego, and 1986 M.F.A. Wichita State University. He is a prominent member of The Sydney Printmakers, managed the Mary Street Studios in St. Peters, Sydney, and has taught at the National Art School, Sydney. For the time I have known him he has worked as Head of Art and Design at TAFE NSW, and held other positions within the TAFE NSW system.

Totman worked notably in Anchorage, Alaska, The University of California, L.A., Bordeaux, France, Venezuela, Italy, and China, and is expert at all methods of printmaking, and paper making practices. Notable exhibitions of his work include the retrospective 17 December-10 February 2013 at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, and Metamorphosis: Ever-changing… China, at the Desheng Museum, Shunde, China 9-21 July 2017.

After arriving in Australia from the U.S. in 1996 colour within Totman’s work became gradually more subdued. In 2000 his work changed from the figurative imagery he had pursued, especially after the birth of his only child, of games and toys, to a graphic, symbolic one.  Multi-plate and spit-bite etching also became more prominent within his oeuvre.

In 2005/6, while travelling, and therefore working with limited printing facilities he worked more prominently in monotype. Totman made two colour, abstract, gridded, mezzotints in 2012-13. These technically challenging works provoke an illusionistic feeling of depth, a counterpoint to the free flowing explorative flat surfaces of the monotypes and gouaches in this exhibition. The current works fall neatly into two stylistic groupings discussed below:

Many of the deeply red multi-plate monotype[1] works incorporate organic forms that remind the viewer of hastily glimpsed, evanescent bones or muscle tissue encased in blood dyed veils of fugacious muslin scrim. The constant repetitious pumping beat of the Suzanne Vega song: ‘Blood Makes Noise’, echoes as foramen within bone, are displayed, paths are mapped for the eye, to travel up and down tendons. Ephemeral, heads of bones, and their smooth, intricate, and usefully organic, delicate openings are sketched out.

The differing shades and tones in the best of the works taper down towards the base of the image like a plant or the origin of a flame. The enticing flame of the campfire is captured within these works. They hold an intrinsic human allure, one of nature, of growth. The work does not explicitly depict the body, but hints at it through the red of the Pindan desert[2]. The work is the visual equivalent of rich, deep, flavored Coonawarra wine. The origins of these works are not only rooted in a depiction of the body, their rich red colour palate is linked in the Australian psyche to the Western Desert, and a nationalistic Australian landscape depiction.

Sydney Nolan’s playful, repetitive, use of printmaking, experimental frottage, and monotype could be linked with these abstract works. The elder artists numerous bird, and floral depictions incorporate similar muted, complex tones in their backgrounds. Forms found in nature appearing and evolving through the unintentional painterly discovery intrinsic to the processes of monotype.

Nolan’s imaged excursions within Australian landscape art through red earth, desert depictions, bone, and carcass, viscera and the harsh nature of our hot climate.

The second defined style of work within this exhibition is an; ‘all over’ abstract patterning, mainly in gouache: An abstract expressionist mad line, providing a flattening of the picture plane.

The tangled bush within Margret Preston’s historically important monotype Bush Track 1946, monotype at the National Gallery of Victoria, is as an interesting comparison work, along with much of the work of the Scottish painter, monotypist, and musician Alan Davie.[3] Davie had an allegiance with the all over image, and his unique work could be compared in part with these, seemingly randomly constructed, however, highly considered and finished, images.[4] The contemporary Australian artist, the late John Peart was extremely interested in all over canvasses. Pearts mid to late 1980s monotypes and paintings incorporating abstracted, all encompassing, tree forms. They are complex and balanced studies in form. Similarly the current Australian monotype artists Leah Bullen, and Annika Romeyn should also be mentioned for both completely cover oversize sheets with depictions of natural foliage, or forest imagery.

The imagery Totman confines to the rectangle of the page is reminiscent of scribbly gum textured tree patterning, the patterns of snails on sand, possible images of neurons firing, or conjoined vines. Geographically the imagery seems to hint at the form of the Murrumbidgee river[5] from Arial photographs: The divergent oxbow lakes and continuous, rambling meanders.

Nature in its most micro and macro forms is depicted: Both the quickly scored markings of microscopic creatures, and the sluggard, wanderings of earthworks; their momentous systemic changes.

The excessive number of almost hysterically reproduced swirls, and snakelike kick-backs are detailed, complex in tone, layered, and colliding, to form rich all over patterns. The works are interesting, alluring, beautiful, in their detail and they continue a dialog with international abstract expressionist artists.

Dr. Thomas A. Middlemost

Art Curator CSU Art Collection

The Wagga Wagga Art Gallery exhibition is on 3 March–27 May, with the official opening on 16 March.

[1] The monotype, the most painterly of printmaking mediums, is a unique painted or inked impression transferred from an unicised and unregistered matrix.
[2] Melbourne printmaker Deborah Williams made monoprint, etching, collographs in two colours in 2005/6 incorporating the red earth of the Australian Pindan desert, the south western Kimberley region in Western Australia around Broome including the Dampier Peninsula region, and its hinterland.
[3] Davie was interested in Eugen Herrigel’s, Zen and the art of archery, Pantheon Books, New York, N.Y., 1953. Initially published in Germany in 1948 and translated to English in 1953; which, like its currently more popular Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, William Morrow & Co., Scranton, Penn., 1974, advocates the practice of performing simple motor tasks repetitively for many years to make that activity unconsciously effortless both physically and mentally. In his book Herrigal states (p. 10): “If one really wishes to be master of an art, technical knowledge of it is not enough. One has to transcend technique so that the art becomes an “artless art” growing out of the Unconscious.” Monotype was one of the methods that Davie advocated for this spontaneous and unconscious process.
[4] Grishin, S., The Art of Grahame King, Book Chapter: Grahame King The Patron Saint of Australian Printmaking, 2005, p.41-58. [Davie artistically influenced the, “patron saint of Australian printmaking” Grahame and Inge King; all making monotypes at The Abbey Art Centre Barnet, New Heartfordshire.]
[5] The Murrumbidgee River is a major tributary of the Murray River within the Murray–Darling basin and the second longest river in Australia. It flows through the Australian state of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. The river is 1609km long and is the lifeblood of Wagga Wagga.

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. 

www.artsproject.org.au

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.