Imprint: A Survey of the Print Council of Australia

Lovely to see our Print Council of Australia 2004 commission, A lament to the sleeping kingfisher, on display as part of Imprint: A Survey of the Print Council of Australia at Parliament House, Canberra, until the 12th of May, 2019.

This special exhibition featuring prints from the Print Council of Australia’s archival collection includes some of the first prints created by significant Australian artists, including the first Print Commissions, John Brack’s Untitled (Skaters), 1967, and Fred Williams’ Lysterfield, 1968, and the first Indigenous Australian Print Commission, Bush Figures by Ku Ku Imidji man Arone Raymond Meeks, along with works produced by PCA founders Grahame King and Udo Sellbach.

The Commission, which began in 1967, invites artists to submit a limited-edition print for consideration by the PCA and its members. This has resulted in an archive of more than 600 prints, illustrating the rich history of contemporary Australian printmaking.

Works of master printers and innovators including Noel Counihan, Barbara Hanrahan, David Rose, Ray Beattie, Bea Maddock, Earle Backen, Ruth Faerber, Hertha Kluge-Pott, Olga Sankey, Judy Watson, Janet Dawson, Mary MacQueen, Raymond Arnold, G.W. Bot, Yvonne Boag, James Taylor, John Coburn, Jenuarrie Warrie, Maria Kozic, Wilma Tabacco, Rick Amor, Treahna Hamm, Robert Jacks, Bruno Leti, John Olsen, Michael Kempson, Susan Pickering, Andrew Ngungarrayi Martin, Belinda Fox, Georgia Thorpe, Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, Gosia Wlodarczak, Rebecca Mayo, Janet Parker-Smith, Rona Green, Sophia Szilagyi, Glen Mackie, Tama Favell, Elizabeth Banfield, David Fairbairn, Graeme Drendel, Deanna Hitti, Sue Poggioli, Maria Orsto, Samuel Tupou, Pia Larsen, Deborah Klein, Cat Poliski, Heather Koowootha and Glenda Orr will also be on show, as will a diverse range of printing techniques representing styles from the late 1960s: from relief printing (carving into lino or wood where recessed areas don’t hold ink and transfer to paper ink-free) to intaglio (etching, engraving, aquatint, drypoint, mezzotint) and planographic (lithography and screen-printing) as well as digital printing.

While the exhibition is mostly Print Council of Australia works – fifty-eight works – the  remainder are from the Australian Parliament House Art Collection, including two new acquisitions, linocuts by artist Jenny Kitchener, recipient of the 2017 Print Council Commission.

The Print Council of Australia was established in Melbourne in 1966 by printmakers Udo Sellbach, Grahame King and curator Dr Ursula Hoff to promote the artform of printmaking. The 1940s-60s had seen the return to Australia of European-trained artists, sparking a resurgence in the importance of printmaking and its commercial viability.
(Print Council of Australia)

Lovely to see our Print Council of Australia 2004 commission,  A lament to the sleeping kingfisher,   hanging on the wall

Lovely to see our Print Council of Australia 2004 commission, A lament to the sleeping kingfisher, hanging on the wall

Dark Night

Recently landed: Dark Night, Gracia's written response to Dark Night by Jill Orr and Quake by Hellen Sky, presented as part of Dance Massive 2019, for Fjord Review

It is the smell of composted ingredients I notice first as I make my way along the passage. A blend of animal manure, rainforest mulch, leaf mould, washed river sand, and loam, giving off that warm garden smell. A mound of steamy soil, piled high in the Magdalen laundry of the Abbotsford Convent; a soil mix for holding moisture in a space still damp from its history. Soil might be a source of nutrients for growth, but in the dirt and dust and sadness of the laundry, its steam is overpowering on a humid autumn night.

Change the location, and a normally pleasing smell of pottering about in the garden alters how it is felt. This cavernous space is airless. I feel like I am being herded into a shed, like livestock penned in against the night and her predators, albeit gently, curiously, by a raft of smiling ushers who motion with torches “mind the cables,” “there’s room along the side wall.” Sand, sphagnum peat moss, perlite, overwhelming! Overhead, a moth crashes into the light. It flutters. I stand. There are not enough seats. (Earlier, audience members who most needed a seat had been asked to come forward.) Grass clippings, fungi, and bacteria! Vermiculite, from the Latin vermiculari, to ‘be full of worms,’ too. The urge to flee, or at least stand near to an exit is strong: I don’t want to put down roots here, in neither laundry’s past nor soiled, oppressive present.

And yet I do, for atop this mountain ‘full of worms’ sails Jill Orr. Majestic and unassuming, simultaneously. Both as assured captain of the craft and as a canvas for the audience to project their own thoughts upon. Legendary. Orr and her boat. Her surname alone, an oar, a navigational means, but I reckon she’d be pretty tired of hearing that. Presented by Dancehouse in partnership with the Abbotsford Convent as part of Dance Massive 2019, “emerging from an installation conceived for the Venice Biennale as a response to the terrible fate of asylum seekers arriving by boat to Australian shores, Dark Night explores the crumbling humanitarian ideals of a world in crisis. In this embodied installation, embracing the dramatics of scale, volume, tone, rhythm and movement, a series of images are performed.”

Dark Night  (image credit: Gregory Lorenzutti)

Dark Night (image credit: Gregory Lorenzutti)

Distant Sky

Recently landed: Distant Sky, Gracia's written response to Stephanie Lake's new work Skeleton Tree, presented as part of Dance Massive 2019, for Fjord Review

Thirteen dances. Thirteen stages. “13 meditations on death and loss.” Stephanie Lake’s new work, Skeleton Tree is about death and loss, and in being about death and loss it is also about love and hope. Someone to farewell, to grieve over, an ache to feel and perhaps to heal. A recognition of presence: I existed; I ended. I live on, hopefully. I am remembered; remember me.

Thirteen songs as “a ‘funeral playlist’ . . . describing particular emotional states and the insistence of time.” Just as Lake cautions that the thirteen “vivid portraits” do not follow a thread of narrative or consequence, the portraits depict more than one experience of death and loss from more than one point of view. The performers, James O’Hara, Nicola Leahey, and Marlo Benjamin are the body that passes, and the mourners that live on; they are the departed and those left behind.

And at times, their pulsating movements even read like separate yet interconnected organs within the human body as it begins to shut down. As the pulse increases and the body temperature swings from hot to cold, they skitter. They throb as a red rash above the heart and across the back of the kidneys as blood gathers to answer the alarm call of the major organs. Dance movements like failing organs: this look at death is bodily.

This look at death is frank: death is certain. This look at death is affirmative, unsentimental, and clear-eyed.

Stephanie Lake Company in Skeleton Tree (image credit: Pippa Samaya)

Lady Example

Recently landed: Lady Example, Gracia's written response to Alice Dixon, William McBride and Caroline Meaden's work presented by Arts House, as part of Dance Massive 2019, for Fjord Review

“Women of the world, take over, because if you don’t the world will come to an end and we haven’t got long.”

I am looking up a YouTube video of Ivor Cutler’s single ‘Women of the World’ from 1983, recorded with Linda Hirst through Rough Trade Records. Google’s Ad Rank Algorithm complements the experience, while revealing my search history, and now a physiotherapy advertisement appears poetic.

Floating in a ‘click-me’ image box, a photo of an extended leg, shown from the knee down, rests on what appears to be a couch or some form of bedding. In the background of this modern day chiaroscuro composition, an open cat carrier sits. Its small blue door is ajar, but no cat to be seen. The mood: everyday dismal. The illuminated leg occupies most of the frame: barefoot, yellowed big toenail. Around the ankle, a red ring from where a tight sock has cut into the flesh. Not breaking the skin, just too tight. Uncomfortably tight. Beneath this image, the poem, ‘4 Signs Your Heart is Quietly Failing You’. I have also been searching/finding/reading Anne Carson’s woe and odds and phosphorescent-by-lamplight chalk foxes, which Alice Dixon, William McBride, and Caroline Meaden feel convey what it is to be alive in this “heartbroken little era”. I have been swimming in the words that pool together photographs of refugees “pressed flat against one another” and mushroom collecting with John Cage by way of an ordinary lakeside dip. And it is all in there, the poetry and Google searches, the typing in caps lock, bold. The tragic and the everyday. The signs your heart is quietly failing you. All of this and more poured into
Lady Example, presented by Arts House as part of Dance Massive 2019.

Alice Dixon, William McBride, and Caroline Meaden’s Lady Example (image credit: Mischa Baka)

“I help you to make your own world visible”

Recently landed: “I help you to make your own world visible”, a new article on Marginalia (by Gracia) takes you to the world premiere of a new work by Lucy Guerin, as part of Dance Massive 2019

Lucy Guerin Inc. perform Make Your Own World (image credit: Pippa Samaya)

Make Your Own World

Recently landed: Make Your Own World, Gracia's written response to Lucy Guerin’s new work, at Arts House, as part of Dance Massive 2019, for Fjord Review

Five minutes late to the world premiere of Lucy Guerin’s Make Your Own World and I had to wait to be admitted into the Magic Theatre of the North Melbourne Town Hall.

Together with a handful of latecomers, we waited by the door. Our timing marked us a group. Some of us bristled at being painted tardy: “Locked out!? How rude!” Me, I believe it added to my excitement: what awaited me behind the door? How quickly would my eyes adjust to the transition from foyer’s glare to theatre’s embrace? But above all: what was I missing? We’d come from the 6.45pm session of Paul White and Narelle Benjamin’s Cella at the Meat Market located around the hind leg corners of North Melbourne. We’d not been at Cella together, and yet, now, in our lateness, we had. We’d raced from one venue to the next, and owing to the first performance finishing later than scheduled and the second starting on time, we were a group. How fitting, given that Make Your Own World is “inspired by groups, communities and societies in flux …. through timing and spatial formations.”

MAGIC THEATRE

ENTRANCE NOT FOR EVERYBODY

I do not know what I missed as I felt my way in the dark. (I do know that I stepped on a few toes of the people sitting in the back row as I clambered to the furthest seat in the theatre. And I know that in arriving late to the larger, seated group, I was on the outer once more. In flux, indeed, this belonging.) Yes, dropping away the realities and constraints of physical time and space, I do not know what I missed, but I was free, after all, to make up the beginning to my Own World. Invitation accepted and impulse taken, I was time-muddled within the pages of Hermann Hesse’s novel Der Steppenwolf in Dance Massive 2019.

Lucy Guerin Inc. perform Make Your Own World (image credit: Pippa Samaya)

New titles for the Melbourne Art Book Fair

We're excited to be returning to the NGV Melbourne Art Book Fair for the fifth year running. In a few days, we will be in the Great Hall, beneath the Leonard French coloured shards, ready to introduce you to
Animate. Animated. Animal. ($8)
Please, I'm looking for (whatever you are looking for) ($8)
Museum Sketches: Your Specimens Sing an Operatic Chorus ($8)
and Five views of a creeping Honey possum (Tarisipes rostratus) ($4).

Alongside these titles, we will also have editions of Paint Out ($20) and Ripples in the Open ($5) released at Sticky Institute's Festival of the Photocopier, earlier in the year.

NGV Melbourne Art Book Fair
Great Hall, NGV International
180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Friday 15th – Sunday 17th March, 2019
10am–5pm

See you there!

Melbourne Art Book Fair 2019

We’re excited to be returning to the NGV Melbourne Art Book Fair for our fifth year.

NGV Melbourne Art Book Fair
Great Hall, NGV, 180 St Kilda Road

Thursday 14th March
6–9pm Melbourne Art Book Fair opening event

Friday 15th March
10am–5pm Melbourne Art Book Fair
5.30–10pm Melbourne Art Book Fair (part of NGV Friday Nights)

Saturday 16th March
10am–5pm Melbourne Art Book Fair

Sunday 17th March
10am–5pm Melbourne Art Book Fair

#MelbourneArtBookFair
#NGV

(Read more: Whirr and chime, Marginalia)

Nineteen: a compilation box of zines, 2017 – 2018

A limited edition compilation set of all our recent zines, one atop the other, from the largest to the smallest, to make a happy squeeze.

As with previous sets, each box set contains the first of each zine edition released within that time frame. Housed in giant matchboxes featuring our recent collaged landscape, Ripples in the Open, editions are in the process of being delivered to the collections of Melbourne University Library, National Library of Australia, and State Library Victoria.

From 2017
Limbed
Winged
Dove, love, wash
Here, there
Duck in, duck out
Flippered and flightless
Pattern
Round, circle, dot
Take a lesson from the ground
Seasonal museum sketches (autumn)
It was a familiar pattern


From 2018
Your gelatine silver print, in the shape of the full moon
Paw Pad Path
Looped
I think all the world is falling
No longer six feet under
Disrupted and rumpled
Dim wood, spark bright
A warmed pebble in my hand

We have two more sets left, if you are interested. Please contact us to find out more.

Nineteen: a compilation box of zines, 2017 – 2018, in process

Dancing Qweens

Recently landed: Dancing Qweens, Gracia's written response to James Welsby’s exploration of 50 years of queer dance history, at Dancehouse, for Fjord Review

There is a photo of me dancing in the lounge room of my family home. My arms are flung wide overhead, making the Y shape to the Village People’s Y.M.C.A.. My mouth is parted in a smile, mid pronunciation of the letter Y. Caught in a moment of bliss and expression on the imaginary dancefloor before the fireplace. I am dancing with my younger cousin, following the playful choreography. The letter M: let your elbows point like rabbit ears on your head. The letter C: hug a beach ball to the left-hand side. The letter A: arms overhead once more, fingers touching to create a triangle. My favourite record is spinning, and I am happy. In the adjoining room, the grown-ups are presumably talking about grown-up stuff, missing all the fun, until my Dad picked up the camera and recorded this moment for posterity.

The year captured in the discoloured photograph is 1980. I am five years old. My memory can no longer tell me what costume I imagined myself to be wearing, but I feel certain there were feathers and sequins in there.

***

“Patterns or sequins?” enquires “Mad Fox” Maggie. Sequins, please, I think. Anything, I say. “How about this black dress with sequins on the hip?”

Valerie Hex (James Welsby) in Dancing Qweens (image credit: Matto Lucas)

Open until the 28th of January!

Hoot! Hoot! Our exhibition, Ripples in the Open, was meant to close today at 5pm, however we are delighted to announce that it will be open for tomorrow’s public holiday, Monday the 28th of January, from 9am to 5pm.

Ripples in the Open
ArtSpace at Realm
Ringwood Town Square (opposite the Ringwood Railway Station)
179 Maroondah Highway, Ringwood, 3134

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, Ripples in the Open, 2018 (image credit: Andrew Curtis)