CAPTIVATE 2019

From  August through to December in 2019 I was gifted to be Artist in Residence two days each week to with youth in Western Sydney. My position was a pilot program as Artist in Residence/ Arts Learning Officer with Captivate Parramatta.

During this time I worked with young adults from year 7 to year 10 where we developed a portfolio of multiple exposed film and hand rolled printmaking. At the end of the 12 week stint we pasted up images at one school and covered a bin with prints!

I am thankful for this opportunity to teach and connect with communities and sincerely hope that the program continues to prosper. Below are a series of photographic images  made by students during this period at two schools.

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Captivate Programs provide learning and performance opportunities for students  and staff to connect them with Australia’s leading creative arts professionals and their wealth of experience and networks. Catholic school students in the Diocese of Parramatta from Years 3 to 12 are encouraged to become a part of CAPTIVATE.

This artists in schools/ Artist in Residence program was a  new program in 2019 and I have been invited back to work with them in 2020.

 

 

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Let all the birds fly: the hybrid print : MRAG

I am really pleased to announce that I have work in Let all the birds fly : the hybrid print exhibition that will include the work of eleven Australian artists whose work is challenging notions of print media in the contemporary era. It is an honour to be invited to exhibit alongside a collection of artists whose work I  respect and have admired for many years.

I hope that you can find some time to see this exhibition.

The Artists:

Alison Alder, Jan Davis, Jan Hogan, Therese Kenyon, Ben Rak, Olga Sankey, Heather Shimmen,  Glen Skien, Sandra Winkworth, Linda Swinfield and  Patricia Wilson-Adams

Below are some images of my work by  Photographer Michaela Gamble that will be installed within the gallery at Maitland.

 

Below is the catalogue essay by Patricia Wilson- Adams

Let all the birds fly: the hybrid print

If man lost the birds of the sky, the poets would invent new birds.

Si el hombre perdiera los pájaros del aire, los poetas inventarían nuevos pájaros.

                                                                                                Dulce María Loynaz[i]

Invention and an overwhelming sense of freedom was at the very core of our invitation to this exceptional group of artists.  We asked them to question the very parameters of the Printmaking canon and to take issue with the many default settings that formulate the craft of Printmaking.  We asked that they consider privileging the content of their work and its relationship to other interests above notions of perfection, taste and/or style and to place themselves where they could be more readily described as being a “print + maker”.

In  Let all the birds fly: the hybrid print we can see the work of artists who have explored the furthest reaches of making prints. The eleven artists in this exhibition have all been steeped in, and have a deep understanding of Printmaking and its associated demands for technical excellence.  Here it is refreshing to see these artists stepping away from the strictures of technical perfection, exact reproduction and the need to edition assiduously.  It is as if a wonderful freedom and exuberance has sprung from the walls invading those spaces usually inhabited by the gallery audience.

Hybridity implies a joining, a coming together or a mixing of genres being a term co-opted from the biological sciences.  It has now become a useful term for describing a wide range of theoretical and academic ideas particularly in the Social Sciences and Post-Colonial studies.  Homi K Bhabha, the Harvard based cultural theorist, describes hybridity as being “that in-between space” which he calls “The Third Space” where we are placed at the “cutting edge of translation”.  He contends that this facilitates new cultural forms leading to new cultural meanings[ii] which provide a perfect platform for examining the complexities of a globalised but often fractured world.  It has been within this framework that the artists shown in this exhibition have met the challenges of working in these speculative spaces pointing us towards new ways of examining the print.

Here one can see that hybridity is not necessarily an equal equation and it might be difficult at times to discern where the lines have been drawn between these melded practices.  But in each case the original matrix, whether it be a silk screen, an intaglio plate or a digital file, has been maintained so that in theory each print work shown here could be made again and again from that “mother board”[iii] –  reproducibility, multiples and repetition being keys to defining what a print is.

Traditionally prints have been transferred from the matrix to a substrate and in almost all cases we are familiar with this being paper, and only paper.  One of the features of our post Post Modernist climate is a return to considering the qualities of materials with artists now interested in the very materiality of their materials for their own sake.  The artists in this exhibition are also equally concerned with how the materials they are using are offering new possibilities adding depth to their expression and allowing for hitherto unknown fusions – if one can think it then one can attempt to make it a reality.  I suspect that in many cases the road to what appears here to be a seamless success, is littered with some spectacular failures, but as a result we have courageous artists utilising a wide range of non-traditional materials such as plaster, canvas, steel, plastics and perforated metals taking us well beyond any notion of the traditional print.

It is now about 35 years since the ground breaking exhibition  Print as Object curated by Bill Meyer, the then president of the Print Council of Australia, toured the country astounding audiences everywhere.  At the time Meyer thought it a rather Utopian and optimistic endeavour proposing a plurality but definitely not novelty.  He saw himself as a catalyst not wanting to dictate a philosophy but rather creating “a forum … to elicit thoughtful individual responses”.[iv]  He selected 24 artists to show who “played a significant role in the discovery of the vision.”[v]  Little did Meyer know that this ground breaking exhibition would lead to a lasting legacy.  It was not long afterwards that tertiary art education moved into the university sector and we saw the rise of electives such as  the Print as Object or similar, offered in Fine Art courses all over the country influencing many of our artists.

In many respects this exhibition honours this prescient example and we are privileged to witness the particular voices of our artists, poets all, who have indeed released their imaginations and extended their practice allowing us to understand new visions of the world around us.  Dulce María Loynaz’s lovely poem ends by saying:

If man lost the poets, he would continue to hold dominion over the world, but he would not hear, even if they sang every day, the songs of the birds. 

Patricia Wilson-Adams

[i] Dulce María Loynaz poem CXIX in Absolute Solitude  translated from the Spanish by James O’Connor Archipelego Books, Brooklyn 2016

[ii] J. Rutherford The Third Space an interview with Homi K Bhabha in Identity, Community, Culture, Difference Lawrence and Wishart, London 1990 pp. 207 – 221

[iii] I am indebted to Ben Rak for making me aware that the term “matrix” has many feminine connotations.

[iv] Bill Meyer Print as Object Concepts, Works, Documentation  Print Council of Australia, Melbourne  1985

[v] Ibid

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Introduction to Printmaking on clay- Newcastle 2019

 

A few images from my recent Introduction to Printmaking on Clay in Newcastle at Timeless Textiles in early October. It was a great day and I would like to thank Anne Kempton for inviting me back and the wonderful group of students who attended… from as far afield as Camden and Bondi Beach.

I would also like to thank everyone who enabled me to make the trip and fly solo on the day! You all know who you are Joanne Wallace, Johanna Trainor, Stephen Malone and Denise Spalding at Newcastle Studio Potters.

Posted in classes, print workshop, works on paper, weekend, Clay, Landscape, place, Print as object, Printmaking, printmaking on clay, Uncategorized, workshop | Leave a comment

Family Ties: Walking with the past

In September I exhibited and curated an exhibition at Braemar Gallery in Springwood titled Family Ties: walking with the past. The title of our exhibition was chosen as a nod toward an exhibition in America  at the Peabody Museum curated by Trevor Fairbrother titled Family Ties: A contemporary perspective.

In Family Ties: walking with the past  I exhibited twentieth century  Blue Mountains stories alongside two other selected locally based artists who have been researching their family history within their art making process Gay Hendriksen and Jan Melville. Below is an overview of the curatorial premise for the exhibition. All three artists were tied together through similar ancestry and the process of finding their ancestral links.

I would like to extend our thanks to Braemar Gallery in Springwood for the opportunity to exhibit. It was my first  substantial exhibition of work up here in my new home and first curatorial project.

Additionally I would like to acknowledge the assistance and support of Possum Print in Katoomba for assisting me to have access to their darkroom to expose my Photo Lithography plates, Cottontail Press for printing my analog work on archival paper, Tim Newman and Susan Ruming of Braemar Gallery for selecting our exhibition and overseeing the install. Also I would like to thank Cassandra Hard Lawrie ( Curator) for the well written and heart felt speech at the exhibition opening event.

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Exhibition Install Family Ties- Walking with the past. Linda Swinfield and Jan Melville

Family Ties: Walking with the past incorporates the work of three Blue Mountains women artists whose work references the symbolism of family, familial oral history, as well as intrinsic social or collective histories.

The artists construct story lines within their work utilizing sculptural media, painting, drawing, printmaking, photography and assemblage. All have also walked with their own family histories, tracing the past and are working within their own real and constructed narratives.

Jan Melville builds her imagery based on fragments of research, her Irish ancestry and Celtic mythologies. After recently tracing her ancestry as an adopted child, much of her past is missing. Melville has in this exhibition focused on her Irish ancestor, who migrated to Australia in the 19th century and settled near Goulburn.

Gay Hendriksen is an artist and historian also with Celtic ancestory who explores personal imagery as a dialogue of passage through visual iconography. For Hendriksen family stories create layers including letters written by family members to other family members. She traces lives in records, places and buildings. In re-imagining the connections of these sites there are moments of myth and actuality drawn through the lens of now.

Linda Swinfield was drawn to the Blue Mountains in 2016 and 17 whilst tracing two familial stories of Aunts who resided in Katoomba between the two world wars.

Swinfield has been walking with history, the trail of the deceased, tracing family history in her art practice since 2003. She constructs visual narratives using printmaking, photography and drawing utilising history, social context and the layers within the landscape. Swinfield’s work in this exhibition is a series of layered multiple exposed photographs and hand rolled prints that respond to history.   Swinfield is also exhibiting her series “Grave flowers” 2018 series that reflects directly on the nature of death, life and regeneration.

 

 

 

Posted in Artists History, Blue Mountains AIR, Family, Family history, Print as object, Printmaking, Uncategorized, works on paper | Leave a comment

Sidney’s story again- Wallerawang Power Station

Miracles do happen when you least expect them to.

Whilst making the work for this mid 20th century ” family story” about my much loved Uncle Sidney’s life my camera stopped functioning.  It is after all older than me… an over 50 year old Pentax Spotmatic that I love and use to layer images within the film process. Needless to say I  was very stressed.

Walerawang 11

Sidney’s Story:  Wallerawang 11,  2019

I had only one scheduled visit to  Wallerawang Power Station that had taken me months to set up and was really concerned.  I had to think on my feet and had to shoot the film at a universal sunlight setting. When you multiple expose film a light meter working is very important so that you can measure the light.

After the first layer was shot I had the camera fixed, cleaned and  a new battery inserted. I then went back out to Wallerawang and Portland and re- exposed the next layers with half an exposure. During walks around the Wallace Lake, the stone church in Wallerawang and the landscape near the house where they lived I photographed the second layer.

The water as a layer symbolises his life in the Navy, as does the stone reference  his apprenticeship as a stonemason. Additionally the pine trees along Sunny Corner Road are present and also symbolise the life  he had there with his wife Florence raising their  son Raymond who planted them.

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Sidney’s Story: Heritage chimney and pine trees 2019

When the film was developed I really expected over exposed film at the lab. However it cant be understated just how shocked  I was with the results when i picked them up…. I am a great believer that sometimes the universe provides!!! And this time it was in full swing!

Below are a few of the images across three rolls of film.  I can’t help myself  in believing that my Father was watchmaking over me during this process… or maybe Uncle Sidney. Dads life long love of photography has given me a great respect for the process the light hitting the film…. The serendipity is endless.

Its astounding that these images worked.

Many thanks to Peter Mackie for transporting my camera to Sydney to be fixed. Also  to Sarah Noble for being good company on my second road trip. 

 

 

 

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Experimental Etching + Colour with Patricia Wilson- Adams at The Wooden Haus

Our inaugural two day workshop and our first workshop Experimental Aluminium Etching + COLOUR with Patricia Wilson- Adams took place in the Wooden Haus studio last weekend.

The weather was wonderful and the snow stayed away for just a few days to give us a little extra space to set up tables to work outside.

A big thank-you to the enthusiastic six artists who attended it was a very informative and productive workshop.

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Image by Janine Debenham who attended the workshop

We would like to thank Patricia in particular for her patience, care and very generous sharing of her skills to a  very lucky group of artists. We have learnt that six bodies a teacher an a TA working in the studio over two days is more than enough.

We would like to thank Patricia for her time, research and for sharing her technical knowledge over the weekend.  She delved into information about the plates, their preparation and printing before the workshop happened with months of testing, research and experimenting in her studio.

I acted as the studio “gofer” and technical assistant during the  two days and prepared the workshop in the lead up to the weekend.  The images below are a snapshot of the days as I was quite busy doing other things.

 

Patricia- Wilson Adams is a mid-career professional print maker who began intensive work in etching as a student at Atelier 17 in Paris under the guidance of Stanley Hayter in the 1970s and has worked in many print workshops all over the world including Islington Studio London, Kāla in Berkeley California, the Women’s Studio Workshop Rosendale USA, The Art Vault, Mildura and was artist-in-residence at the University of Maine, Orono in early 2017. She has exhibited in many major regional galleries and has been represented in many prize exhibitions, recently winning a prize in Kankaku, Japan and the Burnie Print Prize in 2017.

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What Patricia doesn’t know about etching isn’t worth knowing! Using multiple techniques as a starting point this weekend taught us how to prepare, draw, etch and print multiple etching plates. We used multiple approaches to applying colour  and contemporary approaches to etching.

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Uncle Sidney Webb: another family story

During 2019 I have begun following the trail of another Blue Mountains family story, this time it is a more recent 20th century one.

Alongside other work that  I am juggling in my studio I have been researching the life of my Uncle Sidney Webb which has in turns opened up stories about my mothers side of the family for the first time. Most particularly his mother/ my grand mothers life and a discussions surrounding the three husbands that she married and outlived. This tangent of research has also directed me toward her mother and German and Irish heritage.

Christened Percival Fredrick Sidney Webb his lifetime was one of changes and his multiple pathways has been fascinating to follow.

So Sidney or Uncle Sid as I knew him had multiple lives working at various stages of his  as a Stonemason, a seaman in the Merchant Navy and worked at the now decommissioned Wallerawang Power Station.

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In April after months of emails and phone calls I was very lucky to be allowed access to Wallerawang Power Station. And below is just a series of images taken on the day with a small digital camera and a phone. I have shot three rolls of film as well, yet to be developed.

Below are a series of digital images taken on my phone and digital aim and shoot pocket camera….during my visit to the Power Station.  Many thanks go out to Michael Hanly, Community Relations Lead at Energy Australia for driving me through and enabling my access to the power station site last month.

More from this body of work are to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Artists History, Blue Mountains AIR, Family, Family history, Landscape, photographic process, Printmaking, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment