Printmaking is an exciting medium with intaglio and relief methods reaching back to the past while photographic and digital images point the way to the future. Whichever technique is employed, printmaking demands certain technical expertise but that's not enough; first and foremost the print artist needs solid design skills and for the most part that's what's on show here.
The variety of techniques, styles and subjects on display make this an eclectic exhibition. Presenters include student and professional practitioners and their efforts range from very good to excellent, one can't find a boring image in the lot. The exhibition also reveals the challenges print artists are meeting and handling with ease. To hold on to the best of the past techniques, today's printmaker will incorporate them in 'mixed media' works that delight the imagination. Consider Leaves by Valerie Anderson. This unique state print involves monotype, photoetching and embossing to produce a grid of 25 individual small square prints in autumnal hues of deep greens, warm reds and gold. The image speaks of fall foliage, and how fallen foliage was once used as coverage!
Sometimes the simplest method in black on white can have the most dramatic effect. Barbara Butler's linocut Fremantle Town Hall and Theo Merrifield's woodblock print of a gaff rig sailing dinghy entitled Kolek illustrate the importance of line in a relief print. This aspect of printmaking is also celebrated in the etching Homage to Hogarth by Linda Fardoe who uses line not only to define objects but to create tone and volume. It's no wonder she took the Editioned Print Award.
Winner of the Student Award is Sue Starcken with her fine etching Chiasma ll. This large unique state print uses a subtle manipulation of tone, pattern and the mark made by the edge of the plate to create a composition that holds the viewer's interest. Highly Commended is the linocut Students 2002 by Alexander Hayes. This interesting image makes a social statement about adolescent priorities; e.g. school vs the mall crawl. Elizabeth Yarocki is the overall winner with her series of four blocks collaged with strips of digital and woodblock prints and entitled Reverse & Bridges. The judges appreciated how the artist used the 2D medium to create a 3D exhibit.
If one needs to find fault with anything in this exhibition, it could only be in the less then professional manner in which some exhibits are presented and the lack of noting 'unique state' on some works. When an artist exhibits and offers a work for sale, it should be done so with pride and correctness.
Read Another Art Seen Home