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You'll be impressed - and intrigued - by these printmakers
'Art is not what you see, but what you make others see', Edgar Degas.
Two 'Tassie Devils', hand-coloured Linocut by Mary Pulford
Have you ever visited Urban Cow Studio, one of Adelaide's quirkiest little retail art galleries? If you haven't, you're missing a treat. It's not just the wide selection of local artists that they have on display downstairs that makes the shop so special - they also have regular exhibitions in their upstairs gallery, and this month it's a stunner.
Bittondi Printmakers Association Inc. is a not-for-profit, community based association which provides an open access Print Studio in the grounds of Aberfoyle Park High School. It promotes both contemporary and traditional printmaking practices, and members share their skills with the community through Workshops, Open Studios and Group Exhibitions.
This latest Bittondi group exhibition has the theme of 'exploration'. Members were asked to consider the quote from T S Elliot's Four Quartets Number 4: Little Gidding, which says:
We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time."
Bittondi member Veronica Thurley says: "For the printmaker, this journey in search of understanding always involves the chosen matrix - its possibilities and limitations, known and unknown. Some of the participating artists have travelled beyond this physical investigation of the matrix, into interpretations of the philosophical themes that are present in T S Elliot's Four Quartets. The visual symbols they have used to interpret T S Elliot's multiple intertwining themes of man's relationship with time, the capacity of art to transcend the limitations of the moment, the fleeting nature of memories, and experiences of life and death, are unique to each artist".
Veronica's print, one of three in a series, refers to "the remarkable rusting remains of two obsolete Steam engines that were brought from England to the Kinchega Sheep Station on the Darling River over 100 years ago with great hopes and aspirations. Now their only use is as symbols of mans' mortality and of Time as the inevitable destroyer of everything".
Wendy Rushby, Relief Collagraph/Solarplate/Rusted paper
Wendy Rushby combines collagraphy, which is a simple way of producing a plate that can render surprisingly complex results, with solarplate (also known as photopolymer etching), a recent, low-toxic method of etching, and has printed her image on rusted paper. She says "Exploration of the matrix (the plate) on which the image appears, brings out that magic of the medium, and that serendipity that happens lets us explore that space again, and again, layer upon layer".
Geoff Gibbons gives us an insight into the world around us that we often take for granted. He says: "An image can conjure up a whole world, or give us insights into the familiar yet often 'unseen' realities that surround us". A grand master of traditional etching techniques, he now uses the far less toxic ferric chloride for his etchings, and give workshops on this etching method at Bittondi.
Elizabeth Banfield, Linocut with hand stitching and paper cutting Gampi Silk Tissue stitched to Rives paper
Elizabeth Banfield adds hand stitching to her prints. She says that printing and stitching on fine Japanese papers allows her to express the subtleties of her life's experience. "The translucency of silk tissue allows me to hide or expose what is printed on the paper beneath; just as the insights derived from our explorations are not always completely or immediately visible to us".
Kay Walker, 'Captured', hand coloured solarplate etching
For Kay Walker, it's all about capturing a moment in time: "As the matrix captures the mark of the drawing, the captured moment remains for eternity".
Other artists exhibiting in Inked 2 are Vicki Hunter, Grace Myers, Mary Pulford, Sarah Thame, Julia Wakefield and Mei Sheong Wong.
The exhibition will be opened on Wednesday July 2 at 6pm by History SA's Senior Curator Alison Russell, and continues until August 2nd. Urban Cow Studio is open from 9am - 6pm Monday to Thursday and until 9pm on Fridays, 10-5 on Saturdays and 12-5pm on Sundays.
Bittondi Printmaking Association is a valuable initiative in the Arts Community. It supports young and emerging artists to extend their practice as part of a community of printmakers. The achievement of the Association's initiatives relies on the voluntary efforts and dedicated work of the management Committee and the Association members. Some members also work co-operatively with the Aberfoyle Park High School to develop students' skills in printmaking, as an extension to the art programme.
Bittondi members host Open Studio sessions on the last Sunday of each month between 12 – 4pm, where you can buy prints, inspect the studios and learn about how the prints are produced.
For more information about the Association and the workshops they run, visit their Facebook Page.