Somewhere. Nowhere. Everywhere.
Seven Printmakers Respond to Place
An exhibition by Nadia Cullinane, Megan Gosling, Shana James, Mari Katayama, Harvey Mullen, Elmari Steyn, Laura Whitlock
Heathcote Museum & Gallery
28 May to 3 July 2016
Applecross Western Australia
"Oh the places you'll go", declared Dr Seuss and these talented artists take us on a journey to seven different very places. Their response to "Place" is each very unique - from Megan Gosling's patterns of memory, Shana James's Alice inspired place beyond the looking glass to Harvey Mullen's very real Tasmania. The journey is also a survey of print techniques in the hands of accomplished practitioners. A delightful video, created by James, accompanies the exhibition and gives viewers an sneaky peak at each artist's "art place" - their studio - and the inspiration behind their own works.
Mari Katayama's tiny etchings invite us to see the beauty in the everyday with snapshot sized works inspired by her kitchen. Katayama ran a micro restaurant in Japan and the hours she spent with bottles, jars, spoons and teacups are the subjects drawn with great sensitivity and careful tone.
By contrast, Megan Gosling's "My Mother's Tablecloth" are bright red and white printed artist books, hung together with pages floating down rather like the strip curtain at the entrance of a Japanese kitchen. Gosling's works talk of "patterns...like visual smells, they evoke memory". Of particular note are the "Through rose-coloured bricks" series, 1,2,3; where Gosling uses photographs of her inauspicious, very Aussie, 60's family home with linocut brickwork selectively cut out and replaced with a rose tinted "lens". How fondly, and selectively, we remember our youth!
On a year long cycling adventure from London to China, Laura Whitlock met, and drew, many amazing characters. Her endearing and whimsical linocuts have a folkloric air yet the A4 format place the works firmly in the realm of the modern traveller, as if transported across the world in a lap top satchel, . Nadia Cullinane's subjects are clothed in careful and intricate patterns. Her delicate expertise in paper cut is evident in the precise and deft skill with the linocut. Each print is hand burnished with the back of a spoon to allow for more intimate control of tone and sharpness.
In Shana James' hands, Alice is a parasomniac teenager trying to find her place as she leaves childhood behind. The drypoint intaglio works are printed edge to edge in deep indigo with saturated pastel accents enhancing the dream state quality. In "It's No Use Going Back to Yesterday Because I was a Different Person Then", Alice confronts us with her direct gaze with an improbable door leading back to nowhere.
Raised in Namibia, Elmari Steyn has an obvious affinity with the environment. Beautifully and skilfully etched copper plates are layered to create pensive, sepia toned odes to botany and earth. An enormous collograph of a large uprooted tree takes this deceptively simple technique from the schoolroom and into the realms of painterly rendering.
Finally, Harvey Mullen's exquisite etching and aquatints are inspired by a recent 7 day trek through Tasmania, with only the final "Landrover" breaking the silent reverie of the landscapes.