Bridget Hillebrand: Rockfall

Above: Bridget Hillebrand, Eclipse 19, 2018, linocut frottage and solvent transfer, 33 x 21 cm. Right: Bridget Hillebrand, Revisited I, 2018, linocut on silk and canvas, 24 x 21.5 cm. Below: Bridget Hillebrand, Revisited IV, 2018, linocut and stitching, 24 x 21.5 cm.

Bridget Hillebrand discusses her new exhibition Rockfall, at the Art Vault in Mildura.

What were some of the foundation ideas for Rockfall and how did you work with them?

BH: Through an investigation of site and social histories my art practice explores the relationship we have with specific cultural landscapes. As a rock climber I am particularly interested in how the action of climbers are incorporated into written representations of place. The maps and language climbers use to describe climbs presents us with a glimpse of the landscape through their eyes and a different mode of perception. It is this intimate language and mapping of place that my works draw on.

What are some of the works in the exhibition and how did they evolve?

BH: The series of unique state prints consist of linocuts on transparent and opaque sheets which are machine sewn and hand stitched to form layers of images and text. The texts were sourced from my conversations with climbers, their journals and climbing guides. I am interested in these texts as they reflect a language and terminology unique to climbing. They also reveal climbing events recalled by climbers who have inscribed the landscape with their own personal stories. Descriptions of climbing routes (also known as climbing lines) provide a mapping process through which climbers navigate their path on the rock. It is through establishing climbing routes on the rock and repeatedly using them, that climbers establish proprietary right over territory and place. Each time a new climbing guide is published, selected climbs are removed from view, become unseen and mask events of previous human engagement. The layered printed silk and transparent papers act as a veil, hiding and revealing descriptions of climbs and hand written notes, mirroring how descriptions of climbs are altered and rewritten over time.

What is your attraction to printmaking and how did it initially manifest?

BH: I am inspired by the endless capacity of the printed image to be changed and reworked. The tactile nature of carving a block and its ability to be printed, reprinted and overprinted in a variety of ways stimulates my imagination and encourages me to experiment with new ideas. Within the framework of a certain consistency each print has a subtle life, an individuality of its own.  It is also the interaction of ink and its support and how different supports react, behave and translate to other formats such as art objects and installations that inspire diversity of scale. My intimate prints on a sheet of paper now often gives way to large scale sculptural works and installations.

What are some of the possible ways viewers might experience this exhibition as a whole?

BH: Rockfall explores how climbers continue to share a common understanding of a particular reading of the landscape. The series of small unique state prints encourage the viewer to be drawn in and look closely at the subtle nuances of printed and stitched line.  There are slight transitions of muted tones printed on cut and torn silk, canvas, cloth and paper. The clarity and legibility of the text is sometimes undermined by the use of printed overlays. As the viewer moves, the transparent layers cause the text to shift in and out of focus. Reminding the viewer that just as a particular reading of the landscape is in a constant state of flux, our perceptions and memories will also fade over time.

What: Rockfall, new prints and works on paper by Bridget Hillebrand. Bridget will also be conducting a Chiaroscuro Linocut Print Workshop at the Art Vault on Saturday 7 July 10am – 5pm

Where: The Art Vault, 43 Deakin Avenue, Mildura

When: 4-23 July. Opens Wednesday 4 July 6pm