Waterless Lithography under the Mountain

Inking up

Inking up

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The profile of Mount Kembla features regularly in some of my landscape drawings. Last weekend I saw it from a different perspective, up close and reversed. Liz Jeneid’s eclectic studio where we had a hands-on workshop on waterless lithography, is nestled comfortably into the mountain.

IMG_3979Julie Krone, whose work I had seen in an exhibition at Wollongong Gallery some years ago had stuck with me and when I saw she was running the class, I thought it would be interesting to see how she works and the technique. She was fresh from an Argentinian Ace Residency and keen to pass on the intricacies learned from her investigations and experience with other artists.

IMG_3981Unlike stone based lithography, this method uses everything from silicon, acetone, brake fluid, photo-sensitive plates to print press.  Julie was generous with sharing her knowledge and excited by new marks made in different ways. It was learning experience for us all.

After completing our drawings and eventually a range of prints, it was obvious that although it was a technical process, individual sensitivities came through from the particpants.

Julie rocking the image in developer

Julie rocking the image in developer

For myself, I had made two plates, one more successful than the other, but it was the investigation of mark-making through both drawing and printing on transparent papers that has led me to go back to Rauschenberg for some more inspiration. Starting on a large drawing on Monday, I’m keen to scratch, transfer and rub, a little like Liz’s chooks and horses roaming the hillside. A fabulous shared lunch debating the value of arts education, topped off a wonderfully indulgent weekend.

 

Taking off the silicon

Taking off the silicon

The siliconed plate ready for ink

The siliconed plate ready for ink

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Pink, Play, Print and Black

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Everything old is new again at the National Gallery of Australia. A trip to see Tom Roberts meant an additional opportunity to take in old favourites in new spots. What a difference a re-hang can make! We missed some familiar faces but there was a chance to see what a wall and light can do for a work.

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Sculptor Inge King exhibition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Playroom

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“All Australian paintings are in some way a homage to Tom Roberts”.  Arthur Boyd

Starting with Tom Roberts, we avoided the increasing crowds and got in early so we had him all to ourselves.  This advantage meant we could go into the kids interactive room with no kids. I just wish there was a space like this for adults. Little easels for re-creating portraits, dress-up, saddled lambs and an app projected onto a wall to allow movement of figures into the landscape in a playful way.  Simply playing opens new and wonderful ways of working. Why do we have to stop? Standing in front of works studying the paint and structure is a wonderful opportunity to examine Roberts underglazing of luminous pink peeking from under the cracks, but how wonderful would it be to have a room to express that on the spot, to sketch without feeling slightly wanker-ish in front of gallery on-lookers.

“Here is a workshop, there are no rules, do what you want to do.”   Kenneth Tyler

Stella: The Fountain

Stella: The Fountain

Upstairs the Tyler Graphics exhibition: Behind the Scenes, showed play at an expert and amplified level. Extraordinary works of printing and the use of paper pulp by Rosenquist and Caro left me wanting to shred, pulp and construct.  The fabulous line and strength of Joan Mitchell’s marks showed the ability to translate freshness into print. A sequence of short films gave an insight into the complexity and flexibility of printmaking and the process to produce Frank Stella’s  “The Fountain” left me feeling nervous, exhausted and a newfound respect for prints of multiple techniques at this size.

Caro Angle#8

Caro: Angle #8

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the intensity of Roberts and Tyler, a small unobtrusive exhibition simply called BLACK pared it all back. The entrance lured us in with a glimpse of too abstract expressionist giants: Motherwell and Guston side by side. Inside Serra sat comfortably alongside ancient forms, the “ground breaking” blackness of Malevich and the light inside the darkness of Soulages. This exhibition was a fabulous use of stored masterpieces within the NGA collection. Darkness all aired out.

BLACK: Motherwell & Guston

BLACK: Motherwell & Guston

 

 

Above all the new hang and the changes within the NGA have been wonderful, a breath of fresh paint.

Im-pressed

Michael in the studio

Michael in the studio

My friend Michael invited me to see his new baby, it was shiny, new and rolled like a dream.  Instead of that overriding smell of oil in his studio, a faint waft of fine etching ink.  Paintbrushes gave way to rollers and the floor tiled with sepia clad editions.  Printing to me feels like pulling wild hair into a ponytail.  That wild unkempt expressionist feelings are still there but they are under temporary control. The steps to prepare, dampen paper, ink the plate and roll, tie the wild into place but the output at the end, when the hair tie is released, produces the same expressionist marks, the abandon usually felt in the paint marks transferred to a print.

Drawing on the copper plate

Drawing on the copper plate

Michael has been prolific, monotypes, drypoints and a beautiful hand coloured book.  The new press has provided a tool for more drawing. We gave it a whirl and Michael did a monotype and I did a smudgy mess. Here’s a selection of his work. You can check out more of his work here.

The finished plate

The finished plate

Ready to roll

Out the other side

Out the other side

All important floor inspection

All important floor inspection

One of the Kosciusko series

One of the Kosciusko series

Another from that series, one of my favourites.

Another from that series, one of my favourites.

Beautiful hand coloured etchings made into a book.

Beautiful hand coloured etchings made into a book.

Crossing the Teas and Printing the Eyes

I’ve called it Serendipity. It was that hippy mentality that -everything means something man- that has clouded my thoughts.

A day at the Penrith Printing Museum and one more day to stand back has indicated that it’s simply me making choices.

I had some sort of quotes swimming in my head, no clear ones. Maybe “Duh.Winning”?  I had to make it short.  When I got there and saw the beauty in the actual type I realised I was going about it the wrong way. It wasn’t about the quote, I wanted to use the letters as objects in a work.  The wonderful Steve and Scott had mentioned there was some picture blocks and waved in a general direction but said don’t get caught up due to time restrictions.

So..it began after a run down on chase, locks, spacers and furniture  I said I wanted to check out the picture type and the work would follow.  That was what happened. It was a steam punk jewellery store where each rusted tray held small gems of reversed images.  An eye between compasses blinked back at me and of course the inner-hippy went “it’s a sign!” and I mumbled something to Scott about Flinstones and Masons. What a patient person he is.

I had decided that the Masonic Symbols that had reared their blinking heads lately would be a basis. I looked for the connection in type. The beautiful old wooden type with carved curves passed over for Xes and Vees, letters that would echo shapes.  Scott indulged my whims even further as I yelled across the shed “You wouldn’t have seen an eye hanging around?” Of course I was in a type museum and the letter “I” was part of the population but he knew what I meant, an actual eye and he knew where “I” was going.

The end product design wise wasn’t wonderful, I would’ve maybe looked at making the composition tighter but I loved the process. Like printmaking it’s a combination of procedure and surprise. The Vandercook machine that we printed on was wonderful.

I loved the hunt for the objects, the feel of the wooden blocks, the spacers, the rollers and machinery.  The backdrop with looming metal machines, stained wooden blocks, crisp white paper, cool smoothed litho stones and tacky luscious ink were all the attributes of excellent Feng Shui. Maybe the hippy-me was finding my chi in printing.

Just an additional note. This wonderful Museum is run on dedicated volunteers at the back of a Paceway, trotters in the background and Penrith Football Stadium just a litho stones throw away. If only some of that money from the footballers were channeled into keeping this special shed alive, it would be a perfect world. If you know someone that would sponsor or throw money at them please let them know.