Lisa Sewards: Port Jackson Press

From top:
Lisa Sewards, Secrets, 2017unique state, etching, 28 x 22cm.
Lisa Sewards, Cloudy memory, 2017pigment print on cotton rag 300gsm
image 90x116cm, paper 110 x 136 cm, edition of 3
Lisa Sewards,  Grey Cloud, 2017unique state, oil on board, etching overlay, 24 x 24cm
Lisa Sewards, Love, 2017, unique state etching, collage, 34 x 28 cm

Lisa Sewards, Cloudy Memory, at LWOO Port Jackson Press Print Gallery

Imprint: Please describe the initial inspiration for this exhibition and how the experience provoked you?

Lisa Sewards: I have always attempted to convey a story and notions of reflection within my artworks.  As part of my preparation for creating I extensively research my subject matter, always searching and probing.  Back in 2013 my first large scale solo exhibition entitled White Parachute involved eighteen months of research and was pivotal to my artwork going forward.

My sketches, photographs and memories from several years ago when a close family member unexpectedly took flight and left behind clouded secrets provoked Cloudy Memory.  As a result this small body of work has resulted in the union of symbolic clouds, the parachute and a lone figure.

Imprint: Why do you think we human beings so love to gaze at clouds?

Lisa Sewards: I believe we all find Clouds very beautiful, mysterious and romantic.  We get lost in them if we find the time to gaze up at them, we want to touch them, float on them… and for me in this instance, combined with the parachute, they represent a portal, a womb of obscurity, where personal secrets were carried away.

Imprint: Clouds have featured so richly in the history of art – did this have any bearing on your work?

Lisa Sewards: Early in my arts practice under the guidance of Melbourne painter Sarah Tomasetti her beautiful works of the natural world influenced the way I approached my art.   Her teachings led me to “skying” reminiscent to the English Artist John Constable’s practice of making sketches of the sky and its moods, noting cloud formations and their elusive shifts in colour and light.  Included in this show are small oil paintings indirectly influenced by this past that have an etching overlay fusing both painting and printmaking.

The diverse and complex Printmaking processes influence my current practice.  I admire the varied Cloud imagery you find in many present and past Printmaking applications especially in Japanese woodcuts and wood engravings with those delicious clouds once created by William Blake.

Imprint: Why was printmaking the best process for this project?

Lisa Sewards: My Printmaking techniques continually evolve and incorporate traditional intaglio methods, etching using solar plates and also digital pigment prints.  This project has incorporated all these Printmaking methods in small intimate passive works and also allowed the mood to be captured perfectly in a large-scale velvety Cloud pigment print.

Imprint: How have your aspirations been realised in this exhibition?

Lisa Sewards: The parachute object remains at the heart of my arts practice and continues to be a fundamental inspiration, with many hanging throughout my studio.  I see so much beauty in the parachute, from its pure functional form to its rich association with past stories I have uncovered. To many people, myself included, they provide a universal symbol of strength, hope, security and grace.

Here in Cloudy Memory my parachute feels at home amongst the Clouds… the direction of the imagery has achieved its passive and tender display of love and reflection and the intimate space of Port Jackson Press Print Gallery’s LWOO is very fitting for their viewing… to compliment the artwork entitled Love that depicts the lone figure about to take flight, I have shaped a vintage white parachute canopy into a ‘fallen cloud’; it lays beneath this work and represents a metamorphosis return to the womb in the guise of an allusive cumulus. – Andrew Stephens

Cloudy Memory is at LWOO, Port Jackson Press Print Gallery, (23 June-6 July)