‘Locale’ at Heathcote Gallery, WA

From top:
Carly Lynch The Log, December 1965 (detail), 2017, scanned publication courtesy of Heathcote Hospital Collection, City of Melville, dimensions variable.
Emma Jolley, Swim Swam Swum, 2015, stencil and silk screen print on BFK, 107 x 80 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.
Monika Lukowska, Encountering the unfamiliar, 2016, lithography, 64 x 87 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.
Melanie McKee, A Measure of Home III (detail), 2017, digital print on Belgian Linen, 69 x 44 cm each. Image courtesy of the artist.

Melanie McKee and Monika Lukowska talk about curating their new exhibition Locale, which showcases the artwork of Emma Jolley, Monika Lukowska, Carly Lynch, Melanie McKee, Layli Rakhsha, Rachel Salmon-Lomas, and Gemma Weston.

IMPRINT: What are some of the ideas underpinning Locale and how did you develop the exhibition?

ML: Melanie and I have worked together before, exhibiting at Paper Mountain in 2016. That exhibition showcased our experience of place and migration, and we wanted to continue our creative conversation. The most logical step was to gain a broader perspective on place from other printmakers, and so we developed the idea of curating a larger group show.

MM: As for the ideas, “place” is the basis for this exhibition, but beyond that each artist brings quite specific interpretations of that core idea. Broadly, we look at place in relation to dislocation, relocation, change and memory.

IMPRINT: In what different ways have some of the artists responded?

MM: Although each artist responds uniquely to the exhibition theme, we have noticed common threads as the artworks have evolved. This was somewhat unexpected, as it’s a larger show and we assumed that the results would be quite disparate. It’s exciting to uncover these connections – we’ve met several times over the last six months, discussing ideas and outcomes. When we invited Sheridan Coleman in to write the catalogue essay, it became an engaging conversation that drew connections between our creative approaches.

ML: For example, Melanie, Layli, and Gemma are all concerned with the domestic interior, but they approach it from singular perspectives conceptually and technically. Emma and I are interested in the suburban experience of Perth, but from differing viewpoints as Emma is born and raised in Perth, while I am a recent immigrant. Then Carly and Rachel’s work centres on Heathcote itself, particularly the experience of those who resided or worked there in its former life as a Hospital; oscillating from collective to deeply personal experiences of that place.

IMPRINT: How does the exhibition reflect contemporary concerns among printmakers?

MM: We feel that the concept of place is an ongoing and widely explored theme by many artists, working across printmaking and a variety of other mediums. This exhibition is significant beyond its concept, because it offers a diverse view of printmaking itself, showcasing traditional techniques on paper, alongside digital and installation pieces. Given the varied approach to concept and technique, we hope Locale opens dialogues about how adaptable printmaking is, and how it continues to evolve as a process.

IMPRINT: Why is printmaking important to you and how do you feel about its place in the visual arts?

ML: Printmaking is a malleable technique that gives you the freedom to cross boundaries both technically and conceptually. There is evidence in Locale of traditional and digital techniques that inform the creative approach of several artists, I think it’s important to showcase the adaptability of the print medium in the present. While traditional processes form an important foundation, it’s exciting to see printmaking manifesting in many forms across the Visual Arts. This is particularly evident in the proliferation of print biennials around the world, such as IMPACT, SGC International and the International Print Triennial in Krakow. – Andrew Stephens

Locale is at Heathcote Gallery 6 May-11 June