24 October 2020

Exhibition: 'Walking Distance', Celia Walker, 30Oct-18Nov, Auckland

'Walking Distance' is the latest exhibition by Celia Walker,
at Depot Artspace Gallery from 30 October to 18 November.
Opening: 31st October 10am – 4pm
 
This installation traces the many paths and places within walking distance of home, with the altered perspective of physical distancing and restricted travel of these current times. 


"The series of 49 tiny lockdown prints was created as a way of focusing my attention away from the anxiety of news and current events onto the narrow view of daily walks, and the rest of the installation has evolved from these small notations into larger works. I also see walking as an act of climate action: with road transport making up around 37% of Auckland’s carbon emissions, the simple act of walking as transport benefits my own health and the health of the environment." – Celia Walker 




"Distant Conversations"
This print exchange, organised by Celia Walker as we went into the first lockdown back in March 2020, was intended as a means of creating a connection between 16 printmakers across NZ as an opportunity to create a marker of this unique and unsettling period of time. It will hang adjacent to Celia's above exhibition.

For more information, see: www.depotartspace.co.nz/event/celia-walker/

20 October 2020

Exhibition: Thinking of Place 2, 22Oct-1Nov, Auckland

Introduction
Although many of us envisage a physical geographical location when thinking of place, it’s more often than not a complex synthesis of feelings and memories that ultimately defines our relationship to a place. Printmaking artist and academic Monika Lukowska argues that notions of place are inseparable from the human experience, referencing geographer Yi-Fu Tuan’s theory of “topophilia” whereby place only comes into existence when meaning is attached to a certain location resulting from time spent between the person and the space (2018). 

The exhibition Thinking of Place II is an impressive cultural exchange project where over 60 artists from 9 printmaking collectives across 5 countries have been invited to make works exploring questions of place. Artists were encouraged to reflect on the relationship between place, memory and time, using a range of traditional and contemporary printmaking processes and techniques, resulting in a rich and engaging conversation, as diverse in perspectives as in the collection’s visual presentation. 

Gini Wade, Aberystwyth Dreaming, 2018

Background to the 'Thinking of Place' Project:
Thinking of Place was initially conceived as a cultural exchange project between five artist groups from New Zealand and Australia. Members of each group had met at the IMPACT 8 Conference in Dundee, Scotland, instantly striking a lasting friendship and giving birth to a trans Tasman collaborative print project.  

After a successful first edition of the exchange, which was exhibited in each of the host cities, the organisers decided to continue the momentum with a second iteration of the project to be exhibited at IMPACT 10. In the spirit of the printmaking community, which is marked by a distinctly inclusive, collaborative approach, the project expanded to include four more groups from Canada, Ireland and the UK. 

Prue MacDougall, Miss New Zealand ll, 2018

Whether a group is based on a shared geographical location or print studio, each one is committed to advancing printmaking and supporting artists working in print-based media. Collaborative projects such as Thinking of Place give printmakers the opportunity to not only exhibit their work on the international stage but to foster professional and personal connections across the printmaking community, globally. Participating artists have been selected by each group either by invitation or open call. The exhibition has already been on display in Santander, Spain and is presently showing at NorthSite in Cairns, Australia

Looking ahead, the third iteration is already in the pipeline. It was due to be exhibited at IMPACT 11 in Hong Kong (Sept 2020, but was sadly postponed this year due to the pandemic), and will include a total of 17 artist groups from over 10 countries. 


Thinking of Place 2 Exhibition Review: 
Theories of place have often been examined in relation to concepts of home, belonging and identity. Place identity is a concept that has been used by social theorists since the 1970s that consists of two elements: one being an individual’s relationship with a physical setting, and the other being the memories, thoughts, values and ideas about that setting (Qazimi 2014). 

Nadia Kliendanze, In Situ, 2018

Cairns based artist Nadia Kliendanze touches on questions of both tangible and intangible aspects of place in her work In Situ (2018). Human figures seem to be infused into a rocky, mountainous landscape, almost indistinguishable from the pockets of forest dispersed throughout. She invites the viewer to consider to what extent the physical environment and our relationships with the people who reside there give us our sense of place. 

Environmental psychologist Clare Twigger-Ross proposes there are two main ways that place relates to identity, the first being an individual’s identification with a particular place, such as nationality and the second being a person’s attachment to a place which can “function to support and develop aspects of identity” (Twigger-Ross & Uzzell 1996). 

June Emery, Scottish Memories, 2018

Several of the works in the collection address the complexity of place as home in light of our increasingly globalised world where many of us live transient lives, calling many cities and countries home as we move from place to place. Scottish Memories (2018) by Canadian based artist June Emery depicts the natural landscape of her birthplace, Scotland, which acts as an anchor to her cultural heritage and identity. Fading into the distance a hazy blue mountain range sits as a backdrop to a selection of various rock formations, which could be semi-precious stones, lumps of coal or river rocks, that appear to be floating, unattached but present within the landscape, sitting in single file as if navigation or migrating through to the next place. 

Leena Mammari, Forlom Longing, 2018

As well as highly personal responses about place, a number of the artists have chosen to highlight stories of social injustice and global inequalities connected to specific sites. In Forlorn Longing (2018) by Edinburg based artist Leena Nammari, a pile of keys fills the frame, seemingly abandoned, giving the viewer an acute sense of absence and loss, a reoccurring theme in the artist’s work in direct reference to her Palestinian heritage and the ongoing occupation. Memory can be a tool for remembering and forgetting, with places often being vessels for social and cultural memory (Levent 2017). 

Deborah Klein, In Detritus, 2018

Deborah Klein, based in the Goldfields region in western Victoria, also explores themes of loss and absence in her work concerning the gold rush which brought thousands of Chinese immigrants to her area, many of whom had to leave their families behind often never to be seen again. In Detritus (2018) a female silhouette painted on a eucalyptus leaf is a symbol of the many women left behind as their men sought their fortunes in a foreign land. Klein keenly observes the scars of history in the terrain, stating that “the forest floor is still pockmarked with holes, enduring evidence of its gold mining history”. The physical impact of human activity on the natural landscape, is a theme that reoccurs throughout the collection bearing witness to the alarming rate of habitat destruction, pollution, shrinking habitat, environmental degradation, loss of diversity, fragility and sustainability.

Jo Ogier, An Altered Reality, 2018

New Zealand artist Jane Schollum alerts us in her work Rockstar Economy (2018) to the rapid encroachment of irrigation circles in Canterbury as a result of the intensification of farming in the Canterbury region. Similarly, Jo Ogier, also from New Zealand, comments on the plague of plastic packaging used by the fast food industry that is polluting our landscape. In An Altered Reality (2018) a waterway is littered with plastic, fish-shaped soya sauce bottles underlining the urgency in preserving our natural environment. It’s both a warning and a lament; will the collective memory of that place be enough to preserve it for present and future generations? 

Michael Fitzgerald, Tidal 1, 2018

Given that the relationship between self and place is dynamic, interconnected and not fixed in time and space (Qazimi 2014), some artists have chosen to reflect on the power certain places have on individual experiences, recording impressions of an everchanging or richly textured landscape. Melbourne artist Michael Fitzgerald’s work Tidal 1 (2018) is a nod to the ephemeral beauty of the constantly moving tides in The Bay. 

Norman McBeath, Is to remember to have known and not forgotten?, 2018

This idea is further extended to the urban environment, where Scottish artist Norman McBeath questions: Is to remember to have known and not forgotten? (2018). His work is an exploration of a familiar place by day - a flight of steps leading up to a non-descript corner of The Old Town in Edinburgh, transformed by night, the shadows cast a different mood and story, making the familiar unfamiliar.  

Thinking of Place II is a much-needed escapism to see and imagine new places through fresh eyes. Our current global climate of lockdowns and restricted travel has induced nostalgic memories of places visited in the past and fantasies of future destinations. But more importantly, it has forced many of us to rethink and reengage with our place in the world, finding ourselves involuntarily having to examine our immediate surroundings, possibly observing, feeling and connecting, resulting in a new sense of place. 

The exhibition is opening on Thursday 22 October,
and runs until Sunday 1 November,
at Arthaus Contemporary Gallery in Orakei, Auckland.

Kyla Cresswell, Standing Still, 2018

Links: 

References:
Levent, Y. S. (2017) From Memory of Place to Memory Places – A Contemporary Discussion on Remembering and Forgetting. Paper presented at ICONARCH III International Congress of Architecture, 11 – 1 May 2017 Konya. 
Lukowska, M. M. (2018) Encountering Place: Investigating the Materiality of Place Through Printmaking Practice. Thesis for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Curtin University.
Qazimi, S. (2014) Sense of Place and Place Identity, in European Journal of Social Sciences Education and Research, Vol 1, Issue 1. May-August 2014. ISSN 2312-8429 (accessed on 13 October 2020)
Twigger-Ross, C. L. & Uzzell, D. L. (1996) Place and Identity Processes, in Journal of Environmental Psychology 16, 205 – 220. Acedemic Press Limited. Available at:  (accessed on 13 October 2020)

Article written by Ina Arraoui

19 October 2020

Press for Sale: 125x71cm, Hamilton

 PRESS FOR SALE:
Italian made. Press bed measures 125x71cm



In really good condition, one screw bar is slightly bent but does not affect use.
Includes detachable stand and new felt blanket.

Pick up only. Currently located in Dinsdale, Hamilton.

Asking price is fixed: $7,000

Contact by email: blackartz069@gmail.com 
or phone Matthew: 0277739619

14 October 2020

Exhibition: Prue MacDougall, Atlas Pasifica, 15Oct-3Nov, Auckland

Prue MacDougall explores themes of journeying,
both physically across the world and chronologically through time,
and the effect such journeying has on one’s sense of identity.

Myth and reality often become blurred in the visual telling of these stories;
narratives of many strange events become embroidered with retelling.
Whether fact or fiction, it is the wonder of the story itself that becomes most important.


These works follows on from her successful series, Age of Exploration.
The work embodies many ideas strongly linked to New Zealand
around travel, sailing and people that have adapted
or are still in the process of moving and adapting. 

At times playful and whimsical, at other times serious and introspective, 
she fashions these ideas into nostalgic cameos 
in which our present reality reconnects with the past and is re-evaluated.

Prue MacDougall, Atlas Pacifica, 2020
Intaglio etching on Fabriano, 54x68cm


Artist Talks: Sat 17 & Sun 18 Oct, 10am
Prue MacDougall will discuss her ideas and inspiration
behind her exhibition 'Atlas Pacifica',
as well as demonstrate her process and skill in intaglio etching.
FREE event.

The exhibition is on at Railway St Gallery until 3 Nov.
For more information, see: railwaystreetstudios.co.nz

 

13 October 2020

The Art Of Repetition, 10-18Oct, Auckland

 This week is ArtWeek in Auckland,
and The Frame Workshop & Gallery is celebrating the art of screenprinting,
with a group show sharing both archival and new screenprints
from a selection of NZ artists.

The Art Of Repetition: A Showcase of Screenprinting in New Zealand
at The Frame Workshop & Gallery, 182 Jervois Rd, Herne Bay
Hours: Mon–Fri 9.30am–5.30pm, Sat 10am–3pm

Michael Smither, Okahu Hatch Cover – Pounamu,
Limited edition screenprint, edition of 12

For more information about this exhibition,
see: frameworkshop.co.nz

12 October 2020

Exhibition: Distant Kinship, to 15Nov, Whangarei

 This weekend I was lucky enough to get out of the city
and popped in to Whangarei Art Museum to see "Distant Kinship",
an exhibition showcasing the work of 18 printmakers
from Grafiekgroep Bergen in The Netherlands
and the Print Council of Aotearoa NZ

In 1642 the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman reached a new land in the Pacific Ocean and his cartographers named it New Zealand, after the Dutch province Zeeland. A kinship, distant in historical terms, was then born.  Nearly four centuries later we now propose an exhibition of prints by Dutch and New Zealand artists: a contemporary kinship of printmakers, distant in geographical terms.

It's a great show, with many large and engaging prints.
Featuring New Zealand artists: Jacqueline Aust, Kathy Boyle, Beth Charles,
Mark Graver, Steve Lovett, Kim Lowe, Prue MacDougall,
Catherine Macdonald, and Carole Shepheard.

Beth Charles (NZ), Number 4 Landfill
"Abel Tasman is officially recognized as the first European to discover New Zealand in 1642,
and his men the first to encounter Māori. My series of prints celebrates this achievement,
and the ongoing connection and migration between the two countries."

Kim Lowe (NZ), Nature-Culture
"Much of my work uses themes related to the Chinese diaspora, hybridity and cultural connections,
the found images of blue and white Chinese porcelain and delftware 
illustrates East/West historical connections related to 18th century sea trade."

Kathy Boyle (NZ), Carpay
"Frank Carpay arrived in Auckland in 1953, an innovative designer and decorator of ceramics
who initially found employment at Crown Lynn pottery...
Remembering Carpay depicts Carpay’s stylized bird design flying over a New Zealand landscape."

Featured Dutch artists: Elsbeth Cochius, Gea Karhof, Hans Kleinsman,
Madeleine Leddy, Piet Lont, Nan Mulder, Jadranka Njegovan,
José van Tubergen, Eric van der Wal.

Hans Kleinman, Moving 
"Constructed from a range of digital impulses while travelling,
a self-developed drawing machine transfers the image from the digital world
onto large lithographic stones and separate layers of colours can then be printed."

Gea Karhof, Towards the Unknown 

Here is a video Mark Graver made that introduces the NZ artists:


It's a great collection of works, and well worth the effort to go check it out.
For more information & artist statements, see: whangareiartmuseum.co.nz 
Free entry.

15 September 2020

Exhibition: Aiko Robinson

Clicking through the various collections on show at the Auckland Art Fair earlier this year, I was delighted to came across three exquisitely executed etchings by artist Aiko Robinson

Among the dense foliage of leaves, branches and blossoming flowers swathes of fabric fall loosely around the limbs and torsos of a headless copulating couple. The hands on the wristwatch point to 6 and 9 and the cityscape in the background reminds us that the lovers could be stumbled upon at any moment. 

Aiko Robinson, A Secret Hour, 2018 
etching and chine-collé on washi paper, 36x10cm, edition of 20 + 2 APs.

Bringing together all these elements of erotic voyeurism, humour, ornate textiles, and the natural world are in direct reference to the traditional Japanese erotic art of shunga, translated as ‘spring pictures’. Shunga rose in popularity during the Edo Period (1600-1868) alongside ukiyo-e, which translates as ‘pictures of the floating world’ depicting dreamy, idealised versions of the city’s pleasure districts and popular leisure activities of the ruling classes. 

Robinson first discovered shunga as an undergraduate at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland and although initially adopting the genre as a way to shock her professors and rebel against the perception of her work as being too cute and feminine, found a rich tradition of pre-modern erotic art that celebrated sexuality, void of the taboo and shame that surrounds pornography in Western and Japanese society today. Interestingly, she finds herself not only educating Western audiences about shunga but in Japan there is also limited knowledge about this genre, which has only recently been brought to the attention of the global art world though landmark exhibitions such as ‘Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art’ at the British Museum in 2014.

After graduating, Robinson had planned to have an extended working holiday in Japan but as fate would have it she was the inaugural recipient of the Auckland Print Studio residency providing her the valuable opportunity to delve further into the subject matter producing a stunning suite of lithographs under the guidance of studio manager John Pusateri, who she credits as giving her the encouragement to integrate her explicitly sexual images with her signature visual puns which include mushrooms, mussels, loose screws and pussy cats. This resulted in a string of exhibitions across the country and a scholarship to complete a masters in printmaking at Tokyo University of Fine Arts in 2017.  

Aiko Robinson, Cherry Popped
woodcut on paper, 42x62cm, edition of 8

In contrast to Elam, which was highly concept driven, Tokyo University allowed her to focus on developing her technical skills in printmaking and drawing. Her first year was dedicated to studying traditional woodblock techniques although she was warned from the outset that she would never be a master, due to the rigorous division of labour applied in traditional Japanese print studios, with design, carving and printing being all highly specialised areas in their own right. She noticed that woodblock was more popular with international students and that Japanese students were more concerned with exploring and perfecting intaglio processes. The level of detail and crisp, dense lines that can be achieved in an etching compelled her to explore the process further resulting in some of her most exceptional prints to date.

After accomplishing many printmaking techniques, she has discovered that there isn’t one that captures her interest from beginning to end and instead is attracted to different parts of each process. For woodblock she loves preparing and carving the wood, in etching she enjoys preparing the different paper and putting it through the printing press and she is always amazed by the magical alchemy of lithography. Working across printmaking, drawing and watercolour, her process for each medium is the same, starting by drawing in the figures and then adding the details with the aim of drawing the viewer in to spend time with her work. Although the subject matter may cause embarrassment to some audiences, this is by no means her intention, consciously opting for a subdued colour palette and disorientating the viewer with contorted headless figures simultaneously exposed and concealed making it unclear where they begin and end. 

Aiko Robinson, Pillow Picture #3, 2020 
watercolour, gouache and ink on paper, 53x73cm

Her recent work during the global lockdown has included a series of watercolours with gauche, allowing her to work on a larger scale, experiment with compositions and taking a step back from her use of highly intricate details.  

These works will be featured alongside some of her woodcuts and etchings from her time in Japan. You can see them at;
 Fox Jensen Gallery in Auckland in September and October 
and at PG Gallery in Christchurch later this year. 

14 September 2020

10 Years of Waitakere Printers Ink: Barrel Store Exhibition, 18-27Sept

FINDING MY TRIBE, by Tracy Singer

During the Covid lockdown, there was ample time for self-reflection and to appreciate the advantages an art community brings to artists (both in person and through social media), such as inspiration, knowledge, and keeping your mental well-being intact. 

This year will be the 10th year for our group, Waitakere Printers Ink, to be working out of Corbans Estate Art Centre (CEAC), in Waitakere, West Auckland. Founded on our common interest in printmaking, some members have come and gone to pursue their practise or moved away, however many of the original members are still involved. 


The group is a way to promote the love of printmaking in all its mediums. It helps foster camaraderie and networking, enables access to products, raises awareness by learning from others, and provides exhibition opportunities. I highly recommend joining a group, to connect and share the technical and conceptual developments you are going through, as I’ve found the group helps me to emerge with fresh direction and greater clarity. 

Creativity is more than just what you create with your hands. Every artist, writer, photographer draws from a pool of inspiration, from creatives past and present. Even if an idea starts with one person, it can snowball with a collaboration of like minds.
I am reminded of a quote from the great cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, who said, “Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have.”


Ruby Oakley was the initial organiser of the group. She had attended a class with Alexis Neal at a Summer School event at Corbans Estate Art Centre (CEAC), along with Dianne Charraz. Diane's interest in printmaking had been formed while studying a Visual Arts degree at Manukau Institute of Technology. When CEAC brought back Alexis to run a monoprinting class, a plan was hatched to carry on with what they had learned and they booked a room at CEAC with a press, where we now meet monthly. 

Our first exhibition was in the studio, from 25 November to 4 December 2011. This space was originally the garage for Corban's Homestead. The group then moved to the Barrel Store at CEAC and exhibited in that space too. In 2013 we had our first ‘Barrel Store Exhibition’. This first year we learned a valuable lesson, with the timing not coordinating with CEAC’s yearly art exhibition. Lighting the large dark space was also a huge technical issue. As the Barrel Store exhibitions become an annual event, trial and error lead to the group acquiring our own lighting, which can be brought into the space and then removed. 


At the time Ruby was working at the West Coast Gallery in Piha, and suggested we put on an exhibition there in December 2013. This drew a lot of interest from the local community and visitors. The logistics were challenging for a large group but it brought the group together.  The collaborative artwork was based on a quilt design, made up of 10x10cm images. 



In 2014, Toni Hartill coordinated another Waitakere Printers Ink group exhibition, this time at the Bruce Mason Centre. In 2015, we had another successful group exhibition at Studio One in Ponsonby. The group filled all the downstairs space, in conjunction with Ruby having a solo show in the main room for her work. 
Here are a few of the artworks from that show:


It is never easy for a not-for-profit group, especially in these times of uncertainty, but sometimes challenges bring creativity to the surface. In David Eagleton’s ‘The Creative Brain’, he researches imagination and the human brain. He tells how creativity can be used in prison rehabilitation, giving inmates a creative outlet that changed the way in their daily thought processes. Creativity gives us a sense of identity and purpose.
 
In closing, I’d like to encourage you with these 4 steps for attempting creative living:
Try something new  Get off the path of least resistance
Push boundaries  Don’t be afraid of failure
Life is so much more fulfilling with the encouragement and support of other creatives, so if you can, consider joining or starting a group, or as the title suggests, find your tribe.


To celebrate 10 years of the Waitakere Printers Ink group,
come along to our 2020 Barrel Store exhibition at CEAC from 18-27 September. 
Further details are listed here: Barrel Store Exhibition 2020  

08 September 2020

Interview: Hamish Oakley-Browne, Te Kowhai Print Trust

 By Ina Arraoui


With open access community print shops being few and far between in Aotearoa I was curious to learn more about Te Kowhai Print Trust (TKPT) Studio in Whangarei which appears to be a thriving print hub with regular workshops, annual residencies, community programs, print events and a steadily growing membership. 

Offering such a wide range of activities keeps manager Hamish Oakley-Browne on his toes, having to balance his time between grant writing, tutoring and his own art practice and free-lance arts facilitation. Last week I had the pleasure of chatting with him about the challenges of running a print studio and his vision for the future of TKPT. 

A person sitting on a bench

Description automatically generated

Originally from Auckland, Oakley-Browne completed a Bachelor of Applied Arts at NorthTec in Whangarei in 2014. Inspired by renegade print studios in the US, such as Cannonball Press and Evil Prints, which have a very democratic, collaborative and hands-on approach to printmaking, Oakley-Browne quickly gravitated towards print media to explore a creative style he has coined 'mythopoetic'. Favouring woodcut to depict real and imaginary creatures in a pop surrealist style, his work has a strong graphic quality referencing comic book culture. 

While volunteering at TKPT, Oakley-Browne and fellow print artist Martinus Sarangapany came up with the idea to hold a steamroller printing event, similar to those in the US, reasoning 'if they can do it, why can’t we?' And so, in 2015 Printapalooza was born. 

With the support of TKPT and tutors at NorthTec, the team printed an impressive 17 wood blocks, each one over 2 metres high, one for the artist and the other for the trust to fundraise for the following year. Now an annual event, Printapalooza is very modestly promoted as the biggest print event in Northland, although on second glance it appears to be the biggest in the whole country. For Oakley-Browne the event is not only a successful fundraiser but a great way for the print community to come together on a collaborative project and promote printmaking to wider audiences. The Whangarei Fringe Festival in October is a collaborative event where participants can co-create a comic book printed in various media.

 

The increase in membership is also partly due to regular introductory courses where a range of different printmaking techniques can be explored. The studio is well-equipped with several presses for lithography, wood block, etching, letterpress as well as a screen-printing. In fact, they seem to be running out of space as more presses get donated on a regular basis. Maintaining, upgrading and finding a space for all the equipment is an ongoing concern for Oakley-Browne, who hopes to reoccupy the adjacent building to allow for a much-needed specialised screen-printing studio. More space would also enable increased access for community, such as visits by school groups and mentoring for at-risk youth. 



In the future he would also like to see their collection of antique presses transformed into a print museum which would also house their large print archive going back to the early 1980s when the studio was first established. Although TKTP is in the process of digitising their archive, they would like to share it globally on an open access digital platform.  

What would seem like a daunting task for most, Oakley-Browne is taking the management of TKPT in his stride. His optimism is fuelled in part by seeing the positive impact it is having on the community especially in such critical times where people are struggling to connect. Having a supportive printmaking community and a large, well-established creative sector in Northland is also encouraging for Oakley-Browne. He is grateful for the many opportunities there are to exhibit and promote his work locally. 



With an eye on the future, Oakley-Browne would also like to see TKPT embrace some of the technological innovations in contemporary printmaking like digital prints, laser-cutting and 3D printing. In saying that, he also thinks it’s important to keep traditional printmaking techniques alive and ensures there is always sufficient training and upskilling in more complex processes such as lithography. When asked what his dream print residency would be, among others he mentioned the Kariuzawa Mokuhanga residency in Japan as there are few Mokuhanga practitioners in NZ and this technique closely aligns with TKPT’s eco-friendly values, already using locally manufactured non-toxic screenprint ink donated by Live to Print. 

Despite the social and economic pressures of the present time, print studios such as TKPT will need to continue to take risks and innovate in order to stay relevant to local communities in a rapidly changing world.

For more information about TKPT's courses, events, residencies, and ways you can support their vision for printmaking, check out their website: tkpt.org/