Impact: Open Bite Printmakers

Above:  Open Bite Printmakers, Thirsty (detail of assembly;),2017-18, etching, collagraph, linocut, woodblock, digital, solar plate, silk screen, each 21 x 14 x 8.6 cm. Courtesy of Open Bite Printmakers. Right: Open Bite Printmakers, Our Common Ground (detail), 2017-18, etching, collagraph, linocut, woodblock, digital, solar plate, 300 x 200 cm.    Courtesy of Open Bite Printmakers. Below: The Open Bite Printmakers assembled.

 

 

 

Linda Galbraith and Sonia Gallart discuss the acceptance of the Open Bite Printmakers group into the Impact 10 conference.

The development of a proposal to enter an international exhibition for an individual artist can be fraught with indecision and insecurities. For a group of artists, this process can be even more challenging. However, Sydney-based Open Bite Printmakers Inc managed to successfully engage with the hurdles, and to be accepted into Impact 10 – Encuentro (Encounter) in Santander, Spain in September this year. The name Impact is an acronym for International Multidisciplinary Printmaking, Artists, Concepts and Techniques (quite a mouthful!) and was founded at UWE in Bristol, UK over 20 years ago. The event aims to facilitate a forum for artistic academia with papers presented, workshops held and an exhibition of works by print practitioners from around the world.

After one of our members attended the Impact 9 conference in China in 2015, she enthusiastically suggested OBP should participate. Her enthusiasm was contagious and we decided to put in a submission for the next conference and so began a collaborative process of choosing a theme and a direction that we could all work with. It was not an easy task and several people decided against being involved. This left 16 dedicated artists throwing many ideas around and eventually coming up with two possibilities. We decided to select one by a democratic vote. Of course, democracy being what it is, the vote was 50/50. Dilemma. We chose to submit both proposals and even got them in with hours to spare!

After a long, tense wait (originally, accepted participants were due to be notified by 15th January, then extended until 23rd February), we were finally advised on 1st March that one of our proposals had been accepted. The collective sense of relief and excitement was almost visible. Then, two days later, we were told the other proposal was also accepted. This, of course, doubled the excitement, the work and the anticipation, at the same time increasing the sense of nervous pressure for us all. We are going to Spain and we need to get the works and the organisation into gear.

The two proposals are quite different but both required us to address one of the nominated themes under the Encounter umbrella. For the first piece, Our Common Ground, we chose the encounters between society, culture and languages. We felt that Australia, a land of diverse cultures and languages, would provide an elegant platform for artists to showcase their disparate, as well as their shared, encounters and stories of our country. We envisaged that the artwork would be symbolic of how we each walk through our lives, so the prints would be placed on the ground where we actually do walk. For the viewer, it becomes a more interactive piece, walking around the project and looking down instead of looking to the wall. It will be installed in a loosely geometric pattern, prints separated yet connected with lines of text implying the cultural intersections of society.

The second piece, Thirsty, fits into the theme of encounters with styles and techniques, which sits so well with a group of printmakers who all approach and make their work in different ways. Based on the Australian invention of a wine cask (these days also used for other liquids), each artist would make a print and from it construct a box replicating the cask. There was enthusiastic approval of this idea but also lot of dissent because of the possible connotations with alcohol abuse. We felt by approaching the work as a symbol of hospitality and good humour we could obviate this and present a unique, sculptural artwork. The casks will be displayed in separate groups around the venue – viewers coming across them as ‘surprise encounters’ – the remains of a fun time?!

The encounters that an artist experiences may or may not be so different from each other or from someone in any other life journey but the interpretations of, and responses to, those encounters are uniquely evident in our prints. It will be a treat for those Open Biters who are contributing to this particular Encounter and will enrich all our lives. As for those of us attending the conference – well, what can we say? Bring it on!

Push Pull Press

Above:  Milan Milojevic, States of Play  2017, digital print with multi-plate overlays, 36 panel piece, each panel 30cm x 40cm.  Right: Dr Yvonne Rees Pagh, The Strange Dragon Blood Tree of Socotra Island, 2018, etching, 160 x 200 cm. Below: Jennifer Marshall, Crossing of the Red Sea after Poussin, 2017, woodcut.

 

 

 

Review by: Jan Hogan and Melissa Smith

Push Pull Press: a printmaking exploration at Burnie Regional Art Gallery until 3 June 2018

“The ultimate iconography of a work of art – its true topic, in fact – does not lie in the merely given ‘subject’.  It lies far more deeply implicit in how that subject is developed.” Phillip Rawson

Three artists well travelled but currently resident in Hobart have developed an exhibition of prints that explores the potential of the medium.  Large-scale prints using different approaches and printmaking processes reveal the progression and development of ideas and technique. The underlying concept behind each artist’s reason for scaling up their work is to emphasise how their works are developed, the iconography is implicit in the processes used.  These artists have all been committed educators and these prints have an embedded lesson within them. The content, material presence and process are integrated in highly sophisticated ways to ‘educate’ about historical references and their impact   the development of the print in a contemporary context.

Jennifer Marshall appears to take the most direct approach by mirroring the exact dimensions of Titian’s twelve-block woodcut Crossing of the Red Sea 1514/15 held in the British Museum collection.  She has carefully studied each panel of the print and in her translation of this work used considered and gestural cuts into her blocks, which are printed in two tones of grey, overlaying imagery to allow chance elements of texture and light to occur.  There appears to be a resurgence in recent years of this tradition of hand copying works as contemporary artists explore the archives of museums and galleries.  The knowledge gained by looking carefully and redrawing the structure, tones and lines of significant works is immeasurable as illustrated in the exuberant mark marking by Marshall in her exhaustive repetitions and renditions of Titian’s work.  To assist in her understanding Marshall also studied Poussin’s painting (1632-1634) of the same theme and composition, on a similar scale as Titian’s woodcut.  Marshall has completed an accompanying suite of etchings using burnt sienna, which has become evident in Poussin’s painting as it ages.   The painting is in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria and was able to be viewed by Marshall repeatedly during her development of this suite.

Marshall’s work celebrates the works in Australian collections and the importance of encountering artworks to understand their materiality, processes and physical presence.  The large-scale sixteen-panel woodcut after Poussin reminds us of the importance of print historically, for the dissemination of an artists interpretation of major themes, revealing their composition and tonal range for other artists to engage and reply to.  Marshall has given contemporary life to Titian’s woodcut through scaling up the mark to a rougher hand gesture woodcut than the more traditional reproductive ‘objective’ mark making of Titian’s woodcut.  The chiaroscuro in Titian’s composition is examined and rendered for exposition to a contemporary audience.

Yvonne Rees Pagh’s magnificent four-paneled etching of The Strange Dragon Blood Tree of Socotra Island, 2017, mirrors the tree form. The warm earthy tones and central blood red tinge suggest corporeality in the earth rather than a traditional reflection of a tree in a river.  The branching forms reach beneath the earth and echo the lung form, which is a primary function of trees especially in disturbed territories such as Socotra, an island famous for its endemic flora and fauna but is being destroyed by goats.  Rees-Pagh a committed activist, has produced many bodies of works on contemporary political and social issues and sees print as having a responsibility to convey her messages.

Large-scale prints can be produced for their visual impact and also allow for exploration of process to be amplified. Rees-Pagh experiments with multiple processes on her plates, which includes exposing them to extreme environmental conditions. The resulting scarred and pitted surfaces and the irregularity and variety of the marks metaphors for the state of the environment itself. These marks echo the extreme pressures impacting on this particular archipelago of islands. Rees-Pagh through the process of creating this work provides a genuine history behind the formation of the surface, emphasizing the materiality of the print ground, its sensitivity to marks, as it becomes a palimpsest recording the traces of the events that have occurred on it.  The print form for Rees-Pagh is a material record of social, political and environmental awareness.  As events occur in the world she responds emotionally and sensitively to record the outrage she feels for the injustices and damage occurring to the planet.

Milan Milojevic’s States of Play is a thirty-six-panel digital print with multi-plate overlays that reveals the “rules of the game” of printmaking that he has been exhaustively exploring for a number of years.  The print is a metamorphosis of his fantastical creatures and the technical steps revealed to arrive at the rich, saturated formations inherent in his work.  The end panels are a ghostly grey layer of traditional woodcut marks of landscapes referenced from the period of exploration in the eighteenth and nineteenth century.  Milojevic  acknowledges that during this period printmaking played a role in disseminating knowledge and in many cases disinformation about the southern worlds being explored. He has incorporated digital print layers with traditional printmaking techniques to gradually “build” the imagery both in complexity and colour to a crescendo in the centre of this multi-paneled print. These are not resolved in the computer but rather in the printing as he reveals in the gradual layering in the panels. The central panel of foliage is depicted in vibrant blues and greens and the yellow and red birds and flowers that are found among the leaves provide a three-dimensional quality.

In States of Play, Milojevic utilises every printmaking tool in his kit.  There are reversals, repetitions, overlays, ‘chance’ happenings and a gradual metamorphosis of ghostly traces into the central “tree of life”. The animals distributed across the landscape format of this print reveal the layers required to build their forms, reminiscent of the beautiful blends in Ukiyo-e printmaking that add the illusionistic depth to his fantastical formations.  These ‘plays’ with exposing the process also reference the history of printmaking across time and place

In both a literal and physical sense, Marshall, Milojevic and Rees-Pagh have pulled and pushed at the limits of their respective technical approaches, and through their chosen subject matter to create an exhibition of prints that explore the printmaking practice to a new level.

Rawson, Phillip, Drawing: The Appreciation of the Arts/3, Oxford University Press, London, 1969, p.6

Jane Giblin: The Earth Muzzle

Above: Jane Giblin, Full Stretch Kiss, 2017, 180 x 120 cm, ink and pigment on magnani Right: Jane Giblin, The Confused Russell, 2017, 150 x 120 cm,ink and pigment on-magnani Below: Jane Giblin, Stockman 015, 2018, silver gelatin print, 26 x 27cm

 

 

 

Jane Giblin explores White Australia and land in her coming show The Earth Muzzle.

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

JG: I have been exploring the midlands of Tasmania since the mid-1990s. This originates in the journeys around Tasmania and New South Wales with my father as he undertook his work as a civil engineer, meeting farmers and helping them with their water resources. I enjoy resting my cheek on the earth. While mutton birding in my eighteenth year, I found the same pleasure in the earth of the islands of Franklin Sound in the Furneaux Islands, and in the immediacy of obtaining such a wonderful food with my extended family.

I am a descendent of settlers, including those abandoned by their family members 150 years ago.

I enjoy drawing the landscape, drawing people working in the landscape and do not enjoy the fact that it is stolen land. My feelings for place and land are chewie and complex and confusing frankly.

My Master in Fine Art and Design in Printmaking (lithography) resulted in a large multi-panelled work which was the result of several years chasing around shearers, hunters, slaughterers, dog handlers and a solo female farmer… all in the midlands of Tasmania. It was a testimony to their energy and work, which remains mostly hidden from those thousands travelling the highways of Tasmania and Australia… but exists just beyond the horizon or just up a dirt road, beyond an immediate barrow or conglomerate of hills.

This show responds to my relationship to the landscape and being a woman in that landscape, while struggling with what I know occurred there during its settlement and invasion. I use a model, who understands my pleasure in the landscape and animals, particularly dogs. Her responses while I draw and photograph her have this year enabled a closure of sorts to these decades of the work.

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

JH: Foundation ideas… texture in pigment, colour and search in line… confusion over our relationship with earth and animal, and security and vulnerability. Lustful pleasure in the hunt, the chew, the scratch, the lick and the difficulty of being our true selves.

The works are large works on paper, laminated to stretchers; they retain the sense of marks on paper, and the search with ink, the attack with liquidity of taking a risk and swimming in it. The works also include a series of analogue silver gelatin prints, which are the first time I have placed photographs with my drawings. I have made medium format photographs for twenty-five years as support for my drawings and prints.

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

JG: I adore the way pigments lay on paper and soak in varying degrees into the magnani aquarello. I love the way ink splats and rots and smells while I work it all out. The earth is in the pigment and the ink…even though the colours might not be earthy…the earth is there in the grain of it all. I love its density and flexibility. I love that now I know instinctively, how long certain tones need to remain, to soak in to the paper, before I need to wipe areas back, if at all…I love how I can select areas of black to rescrub and permit to re-emerge from under the heavier zones of pigment.

Mostly my challenge involves drawing these works on the flat, and as large works dealing with proportion …and allowing distortion to take hold …the only challenge is working on one work at any time because there is no where to hang work in progress in my small drawing studio. I had two carpel tunnel operations which held the work off for some time…and I had to place rolls of foam around my drawing canes just to be able to hold them…sometimes drawing with both hands or my left hand.

The challenge at the base of all of this is to trust myself. To let fly, to take the risk and enjoy what my mind and heart permit. All of this is why lithography took my heart too.

The Earth Muzzle is at Colville Gallery, 91A Salamanca Place, Hobart, opening April 27.

Katie Glaskin: Scent of a falling dark

Above: For the Term of her Natural Life, 30 x30cm, linocut print on Arches 300g paper, Based on a photograph by Myra Sargent Right: Scent of a Falling Dark, 30 x30cm, linocut print on Arches 300g paper. Based on photograph (unattributed) of juvenile thylacine at Beaumaris Zoo, Hobart. Below:  Apparition, 29 x 41cm, linocut print on Arches 300g paper . Based on two photographs, one taken by unknown photographer at Beaumaris zoo, Hobart, in September 1911; the other from a photograph of three siblings at Beaumaris zoo.

 

 

 

Katie Glaskin discusses her paintings and linocut prints drawing on historical images of thylacines to explore themes of loss, endangerment and extinction.

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

KG: This exhibition began with a dream in which I encountered an animal in the city of Perth. It reminded me of something: a Tasmanian tiger, but it was out of place and time. And then (in the dream) the animal was gone, before I had a chance to fully discover it. Part of what struck me about the dream was how little I knew about thylacines; the animal was both familiar and strange, and this raised questions for me about memory, perception, and imagination, and about place and trace. While the thylacine is familiar in some ways—iconic of extinction—to most of us it is also completely unknown. Not understanding what we have lost multiplies the tragedy of the loss of animals like these. And the same is true of other endangerments and extinctions, metaphorical and actual, taking place all the time.

The Tasmanian tiger has a more complex extinction history than most, with a mainland extinction occurring an estimated 3500 years ago, and a more recent Tasmanian extinction marked by the death of the last thylacine in captivity, which died (of exposure) in 1936. This followed a bounty put on the thylacine and advance warning of the species’ impending extinction a long way before this particular animal’s death. While researching the thylacine I came across a number of photographic images which inspired me to begin the work for this exhibition. This has been a gradual process of discovery, one that has led me to further explore extinction in general.

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

KG: Emblematically, the thylacine stands between a deep historical past and uncertain species futures, with many scientists regarding the earth to be in the midst of what is being called ‘the Sixth Extinction’. Extinction is a process, not an event. It is already occurring long before the death of an animal that is the last of its kind. It raises issues concerning our relationship with the world and our responsibilities to it, and to our fellow inhabitants, the non-human animals with whom we share it. So it is as much about humans as it is about the species that become extinct. Because it is about losing something unique that can never be regained, it is a theme that speaks for itself. Australia is home to many unique animals, a number of which are endangered or have become extinct. But it also speaks metaphorically to other kinds of endangerments, losses and extinctions. This seems imperative to reflect on at this time when we are confronted on a global scale with issues of climate change, nuclear proliferation, and so on.

The images in this exhibition represent a journey of discovery, of which sadness and celebration of this amazing marsupial both play a part. The exhibition contains linocut prints and large scale acrylic paintings, and works across the two different mediums are often in dialogue with each other. Many of the photographic images on which these works are based have a haunting, affective quality, and although most of my thylacines have been repatriated out of zoo settings, I think some of these qualities associated with the subject remain. The print from which this exhibition gained its title, Scent of a Falling Dark, has a certain ambiguity and can be understood in different ways. The same is true of a number of images in the exhibition.

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

KG: A technical challenge involved with working with a subject like the thylacine is needing to rely on photographic images as the basis to learn about their visual form. This has its own set of challenges, given that the camera can conceal as much as it can reveal. Many of the images are low in resolution, poor quality, and grainy. Part of the challenge too is that what I am drawing on is mediated through a very partial historical record. There are very few images of the thylacine overall—I keep on searching—and many of those that do exist are of the same individuals.

Imprint: What future projects are you working on?

KG: I will continue to work with the theme of extinction, and I am not ready to let go of the thylacines yet. I am spending more time interrogating images of thylacine museum specimens and these raise a range of questions, including about cloning extinct animals, which is something scientists are trying to do with the thylacine.

I have also become increasingly interested in the relationship between images of extinct species—photographic images, but also images of extinct species in rock art—and our readings of them. In archaeology, for example, there are debates about some rock art depictions and about whether something identified as a particular species is really the creature it is said to be. I find these issues compelling because they raise questions about ways of seeing, ways of knowing, and about our human engagements and entanglements with the world. The reported (unconfirmed) sightings of Tasmanian tigers since their declared extinction are also interesting, because they are a kind of haunting, like the photographic images of lost species. At the same time, I am also drawn to endangered species (two numbats have found their way into this exhibition). So there is a range of future projects that will build on this one.

Scent of a Falling Dark, is at Moore’s Building, 46 Henry St, Fremantle, 28 April-13 May.

Gary Shinfield: Compeung Thailand

Above: Gary Shinfield, Tree of Life 1, 2016, woodcut print on painted paper, 76 x 56 cm Right: Gary SHinfield, Window 1, 2016, unique state woodcut print on Thai paper, 79 x 56 cm Below: Gary Shinfield, Platform 1, 2016, woodcut print with painting and drawing, 56 x 76 cm

 

 

 

 

Gary Shinfield entered a collaborative space with his latest body of work. 

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

GS: In 2016 I travelled to Compeung artist residency in Northern Thailand, for a period of four weeks. A friend and fellow artist, Thai-born Viruch Pikhunthod, who passed away in 2015, was the reason for my return to Thailand. The aim was to create a body of work to honour his memory.

Human breath, with its repetition and subtle variations as experienced in meditation, is the subject matter of works made. Images developed through multiple layers as I moved through a daily ritual of adding marks. Drawings, paintings and woodcuts on various types of locally sourced Thai paper evolved over this time.

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

GS: In Thailand I suspended works from bamboo poles placed within the environment and in various rooms of my living space. Several short videos were also made. The main idea was to recreate an environment in the gallery similar to that created at Compeung, by using bamboo poles to hang works and to show unframed works on various handmade Thai papers.

The prints made were based on the idea of viewing an abundance of nature from inside a small shrine. The tree of life motif painted on wooden shutters inside, was mirrored in the landscape outside. In response, many small wooden blocks were overprinted and layered to create a series of unique state prints.

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

GS: I purchased materials locally—plywood for woodcuts, and various types of paper, from craft paper to high quality handmade papers produced at Idin Papermill in Lampang. For printing I used a baren made by Roz Kean and water-based gouaches and inks. The woodcuts were carved in a studio without walls and in various places in the environment.

The main challenge was that the Compeung residency was not set up for printmaking, it is aimed more at bringing artists together from various disciplines to interact with each other. I found this liberating in many ways: collaborating with a performance artist to hang works in unconventional ways, and making videos based on performance and ritual. This followed through to the making of prints, as works made became more painterly, intuitive and three-dimensional.

Imprint: What future projects are you working on?

GS: I am planning to travel to Art Print Residency in Spain for four weeks in August. This will be followed by participation at Impact 10 in Santander where new work will be exhibited. Spanish music has been the motivation for this trip and how this relates to the making of prints is as yet to be discovered.

Compeung Thailand is at Incinerator Art Space, 2 Small St, Willoughby, NSW, 18 April-6 May

Interwoven: Peter Ward

Above: Peter Ward, Wrapping Paper 1, 2016, 50 x 60 cm, woven linocut Right: Peter Ward, Woven Tune 1, 2017, 15 x 15 cm, woven linocut Below: Peter Ward, Woven Head, 2016, 12 x 12 cm, woven linocut

 

 

Weaving and printmaking go together in the work of Peter Ward.

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

PW: I began weaving linocuts in 2013. My interest started almost by accident when I was looking at several colour variations of a print that was not quite getting there. I decided to try weaving them together. The result was something more than the original—a shimmering patterned surface which diffused the image and compelled the viewer to look a little harder to discover the narrative. This exhibition offers me the opportunity to collect together many of the woven works I’ve done since 2013 including Apocalypse Tattoo Woven which has been shortlisted in this year’s Swan Hill prize.

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

PW: The woven works are an extension of existing linocuts and contain all their narrative elements—most recently an apocalyptic view of the world I’ve gained from watching too much TV news. These elements are obscured behind the attractive surface the weaving creates. I enjoy the tension between this attractiveness and the darker images just below the surface. I’m confident that everyone visiting the exhibition will see a serious and cohesive body of work.

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

PW: The weaving is not technically challenging in itself but finding colour ways that interact satisfactorily is. Those who are familiar with my work know that I like to play with bright colour and when I manage to get the image and colours just right the two prints seem to magically merge into a unique work greater than the sum of its two parts. I tend to use smaller works as studies before launching into the larger pieces which can take up to two days to weave.

IMPRINT: What future projects are you working on?

PW: After the Firestation show I have a three-week residency at the Art Vault in Mildura where I will be working towards a solo show at Tacit Galleries in September. The centrepiece of this show will be Small Tunes, a large quilt made up of multiple 15 x 15cm linocuts printed onto calico.

Interwoven is at Firstation Print Studio April 4-21.

He will give a demonstration in the Firestation Print Studio Gallery at 2pm on Saturday April 7.

Winsome Jobling: ‘Instability’

Above: Winsome Jobling’s June 6, from Instability. Below: Installation view at Nomad.

 

Winsome Jobling discusses her new exhibition ‘Instablity’.

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

WJ: It was an unusually cloudy and wet dry season in 2016. I began documenting the cloudy days from June to August by taking photographs, and I did the same last year. The 2017 dry season was the warmest on record.

These drawings are made using recycled photocopy toner. The composition of photocopy toner is generally sixty per cent heat-sensitive micro-plastic particles and the rest is iron oxide and pigment. I have previously used toner to replicate tusche washes on plastic drypoint plates, as a pigment additive to handmade paper and experimenting with stencils lead to drawing with it.

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

WJ: Clouds are beautiful, cottony, floating arrangements of water molecules but there is a sinister undertone to the work. The series of small works are titled For the Blind and the date of the dry season image is stamped in braille in the corner—for the climate change naysayers.

The large works draw you in, these are the dry season! 2017; it’s photocopy toner, it’s plastic; paperless offices, industry, waste… One large work August 20 looks beautiful but then you notice a large splatter of glossy, melted copy toner to spoil your reverie.

The science behind the work relates to the fact that water vapour is a greenhouse gas, so more water vapour leads to even more warming. A hotter atmosphere is able to take up and retain more moisture—every degree of warming results in an average pone per cent increase in rainfall.

Plastic is a substance that the earth cannot digest—it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces; in the air, ground, rivers and finally in large concentrations of micro-plastics in the oceans.

The human impact on the natural world is central to my work and my materials always carry an intrinsic message.

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

WJ: As with all my work I love to experiment and push my materials. After learning what they are made from I can understand how they will react in different situations and manipulate their properties. Toner brands also vary in colour and composition. The toner is very fine and if I am laying it on thickly I will wear a mask. I cannot work under a fan or in a breeze so am in the hottest part of my studio. I also have to remember not to blow the eraser crumbs away but lift them with a soft brush. The smaller works were easy to heat set on my sandwich toaster but for the bigger drawings 110 x 70 I used a heat gun (for paint stripping) under the paper, being careful not to scorch it, then heated from the top.

Imprint: What future projects are you working on?

WJ: I have been invited to represent the NT for the Great Australian Landscape project at BOAA (Biennale of Australian Art Ballarat from September 21 2018) and am working on an eight-metre roll drawing of clouds using copy toner. I also have a small installation exhibition at BOAA of handmade paper and print works

I have also been invited to exhibit a small installation for six weeks as part of the BOAA.  Handmade paper and print works with specifically designed lighting will be exhibited to evoke the Top End bush and the interconnectedness of the human and natural world.

The paper from local plants uses innovative wet sheet-forming techniques combined with earth pigments, bush dyes and drypoint. The lighting will add a fourth dimension—time.

I am still working on a series about gravitational waves and also want to do a show of large, two-metre handmade paper banknotes.

Instability is at Nomad Art until 7 April.

Megan Hinton: United Constructs

Above: Megan Hinton, Assemblage Series IX, 2018, screenprint on stonehenge paper, 56 x 66 cm
Right: Megan Hinton, Assemblage Series VI, 2018, screenprint on stonehenge paper, 76 x 84 cm
Below: Megan Hinton, United Constructs II (detail), 2018, etching, 28 x 36cm

 

Megan Hinton discusses her new exhibition United Constructs at Megalo Print Studio + Gallery.

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

United Constructs is a body of work I have been working on, in some way or another, since early 2017. This series began with small timber paintings, exploring my more geometric textile designs, in a non-repeating form. I found this to be a much more ‘free’ way to experiment with ideas, painting over colour after colour until it was just right. From there I experimented heavily with forms, compositions and colour, bringing my ideas together in the works that you see exhibited. In between a full-time job, I printed the exhibition works over two months at the always wonderful Megalo Print Studio + Gallery (best home-away-from-home).

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

United Constructs is a playful series of compositions influenced by the Bauhaus design movement, Russian Constructivism and abstraction. It takes inspiration from our built environment, carefully dissecting each segment, line and shape to create newly constructed compositions of repurposed architectural forms.

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

As a screenprinter through and through, I was a little nervous embarking into the world of etching, however I’m very happy I did! I love the inadvertent marks, the scrapes, the plate tone and the beauty of working on a copperplate. It is a slower process than screenprinting in some ways, but it has pushed my ideas and technical abilities into a new sphere which I really enjoyed.

The Assemblage Series of screenprints are the largest multi-coloured series of works on paper I have produced. Despite the mixed feelings of printing flat colour, nothing beats that feeling when it just works.

Imprint: What future projects are you working on?

I am currently working on a commissioned mural piece for a public building – it’s a graphic vinyl piece, with a very different aesthetic. I am also embarking on an exciting exhibition project with two of my favourite printmakers in the very near future.

United Constructs is at Megalo Print Studio + Gallery until April 7

Jörg Schmeisser—looking back: prints from the collection of Laurence O’Keefe and Christopher James

Above: Jörg Schmeisser, Diary and 100 buds, 1984, etching. Collection of Laurence O’Keefe and Christopher James, acquired 1984 © Jörg Schmeisser Estate
Right: Jörg Schmeisser, Looking back, 1984, etching. Collection of Laurence O’Keefe and Christopher James , acquired 1988 © Jörg Schmeisser Estate
Below: Jörg Schmeisser, Diary and Hamburg, 1983, etching. Collection of Laurence O’Keefe and Christopher James, acquired 1983 © Jörg Schmeisser Estate
Bottom: Jörg Schmeisser, Diary and Port Campbell, 1988, etching. Geelong Gallery, Purchased through donations, 2012 © Jörg Schmeisser Estate

 

Jason Smith, Geelong Art Gallery director, reflects on the work of Jörg Schmeisser.

Jörg Schmeisser (1942–2012) was an influential and critically acclaimed master printmaker, whose etchings set a benchmark for technical brilliance, aesthetic refinement, and conceptual richness.

Schmeisser was born in Stolp, Pomerania (now Poland), in 1942 and in 1944 his family settled in Hamburg, Germany. He studied printmaking under Paul Wunderlich at the Academy of Fine Arts Hamburg from 1962 to 1967. In 1968 he furthered his studies, and in woodblock printing particularly in Japan at Kyoto City University of Arts, and taught there between 1969 and 1972. From 1965-73 he was a regular participant as draughtsman/artist in archaeological expeditions in Greece and Israel, run by the Columbia University of Missouri.

Schmeisser first visited Australia in 1976 and in 1978 he was appointed to the Canberra School of Art as Head of the Printmaking Workshop, a position he held until 1997. He returned to Kyoto City University of Arts as professor between 2002 and 2008. He began exhibiting his work in 1969 and during his career was the subject of 130 solo exhibitions around Australia and the world.

Schmeisser was a humanist, environmentalist, cultural historian and inveterate world traveller. His vast printed oeuvre is a record of his wide-ranging journeys and acute, sensitive observations of the simple and spectacular beauties of the world. He had a distinctive hand, and an ability to capture the essence of his subject in the most lyrical yet economical line.

This collection of 34 works dating from 1968 to 2011, assembled over 40 years by Laurence O’Keefe and Christopher James, is a promised bequest to Geelong Gallery through the Hitchcock Society of the Geelong Gallery Foundation. The collection is a fine representation of the depth and breadth of Schmeisser’s graphic investigations, and his beguiling technical mastery of drawing and the etching process.

This personal collection of works commences with Schmeisser’s 1968 etching Fushimi Inari, the then twenty-six year-old’s impression of the Shinto shrine in Southern Kyoto famous for its thousands of vermillion Torii gates. Another early and intimate work, Fan (1972) reveals something of the lessons of Wunderlich, and the sensuousness and quiet eroticism with which Schmeisser drew and defined the female form.

In many other works ­we see Schmeisser’s love of architectural and cultural history, of Nature and of change. This is especially evident in the remarkable suite of etchings made in 1979 and 1980 that mark seasonal change in Kiyomizu, the world heritage listed Buddhist temple complex in Eastern Kyoto.

As Schmeisser himself stated shortly before his passing in 2012:

A theme that runs through my work has been change – changes which happen to a person, to an object or landscape or to me over time. One of the most intriguing possibilities in printmaking is that of the state proof: printing a plate, further developing it, altering it again, printing the next state, again and again, etc.

My love to travel, to marvel at the world in a nutshell – to scan the skyline of the Himalayan Mountains or the Antarctic ice shelf; to meet people and learn from the learned; to share, to draw, to teach – that existed side by side. Over the years it fused and became my profession, in which I am a very fortunate and happy man.

Jörg Schmeisser—looking back: prints from the collection of Laurence O’Keefe and Christopher James is at Geelong Art Gallery until 27 May

http://www.geelonggallery.org.au

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.