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Exotic prints featuring botanical subjects
'Botanica' is a printmakers' exhibition with a difference. Not just a show with multiple takes on a botanical theme - over 80 prints, from more than 50 artists - but exhibited in a private home with a salon atmosphere, so you can already get a feel for how the print you choose to buy would look in a home environment. You can't just drop in to this show, you need to make an appointment, as if you were arranging to view a rare botanical specimen. And indeed, these prints are rare specimens, almost as varied and intriguing as the plants they depict, invoke or allude to.
Botanica is curated by Simone Tippett of Union St Printmakers and Sonya Hender of The Strand Gallery. It's being presented as part of the Print Council of Australia's 50th anniversary celebrations and the 2016 Year of Print.
Anna Austin, 'Twilight Market', mezzotint
Prints like Anna Austin's mezzotints are meticulously arrived at, by first rocking a tool across a copper plate to achieve an overall dark textured tint, then scraping and polishing the plate to produce the image.
Some of these prints come in large editions so you may have a chance to buy more than one of the same print if it takes your fancy, but a monotype by definition is a one-off, produced by drawing onto a plate rather than creating a permanent image by etching or carving into it.
Daniel Headland and Vera Ada, 'Sheoak and Monstera 4', cyanotype
Some of these prints are not drawn, but they are prints of the plants themselves! A cyanotype is a photographic process whereby the paper is only stained blue where the light can penetrate, so the plants appear as white silhouettes.
Even the humble linocut is featured here in technicolour, either hand coloured as in Lucy Timbrell's print or in the form of a 'suicide' print like Mary Pulford's, which is made by cutting away more of the same block after each colour is printed.
Mary Pulford, 'Sturt's Desert Pea', reduction lino print