Studio Paradiso Artists are doing some seriously heavy lifting when it comes to thinking and printmaking. Reflecting on the artworks and statements from seven talented Printmakers in the upcoming Layerings – Paper, Process, Print exhibition, we are beholden to look a little deeper at the artworks; not to just give a superficial once over glance but to actually interrogate what we see with our eyes and, consider what we feel and think.
So much expression, thought and feeling exists and percolates in the deep and unconscious mind and Artists are apt to draw from this wealth of material. This exhibition Layerings is somewhat about this concern, the universal truths that are paralleled in our daily experience and in our observed world and respective lives.
We read these layered prints as beautiful, as textural with only the suggestion that there might be something else going on, some other meaning that is quite personal and that ‘it matters’. It’s not a simple rendering of a photographic image, or a piece of fancy and pleasing design – these Artists are making prints that are personal and responsive.
Paradiso Artists are furiously beavering away and trying to unpack and make sense of the murky underworld with improbable dualities, scary monsters of the humankind and our old favourite, existential angst. These Artists have arrived and made some truly accomplished, thought-provoking and aesthetically pleasing Art prints that deserve pride of place and sanctuary.
Kareen Anchen – Gallery Director
Speech Notes from Kir Larwill – Artist, Writer, Community Worker, and Chair of Castlemaine Press.
Thankyou for having me. And thankyou to the artists – for this rich and inspiring feast.
Ink, paper and print at their lovely best.
There’s so much strength, and beauty, in what’s here in front of us – what the artists have conveyed on paper, through print.
Richard Sullivan’s series – with stark-edged figures reaching in, out and across. Responses to landscape he finds himself in, looking outwards and at the same time reaching inwards – mulling over his place in it all. There’s a focus on edges. Where they meet. Where, ecologically, things happen. And where, in print, there’s always a beautiful dynamism.
Anne Maree’s layered, spacey abstractions. There’s a wonderful playfulness in these pieces, which belies the sense of despair about the land, fires, the direction our world seems to be taking that she was feeling when she began the work. There is, maybe because of this, a sense of getting lost in the layers in these prints, and a delight in the alchemy of the process and how it transports you.
In Annette Ward’s pieces there is a beautiful, grounded solemnity. They are a celebration of the strength of printed, black marks. And how the process of assembling unadorned shapes results in very moving imagery. As a series, they are very much about Interaction, as they are titled, and the gentle conversation between one piece and the next.
Erika Beilharz. I have such a lovely abiding image in my mind of Erika, ink to the elbows, bent over a plate in front of the fire at Studio Paradiso. These works convey that absorption. Trusting the process and working layer after layer until something happens. The same with her book, where she has torn, re-torn, recycled, rearranged until images emerged – as she said to me:
“You have to be intentionless, see what the work tells you. But you do have to come to some sort of rest and assess …. It’s always a miracle, every time, and once it’s there there’s a lovely lightness to it, a gift”
The sea of still life variations – Anna Havir ‘s work – convey the lovely shift in perception, and in mood, that can happen when you quietly study and draw the same forms over and over. There is a wonderful combination of delicate printerly line, and painterly abstract surfaces in these prints. And I think they convey a quiet reverence for the everyday.
From still life to agitation – there’s a raw energy that’s palpable in Robyn Gibson’s figures. Still there from where they started – with Robyn tearing out faceless figures from paper in a moment of anger and despair about where decision-makers are leading us. The figures seem to be shouting and weeping in equal measure. Bent out of shape, disconnected, absent.
And then there’s Di Orinda Burns’ work. Such a meditation in colour, layers, the beautiful almond shape and what that shape holds. There are suggestions of landscape, and of quiet, focussed reflection on place. The making of these works is a long process of adding (plates, stencils, line), responding, re-thinking and changing directions. And there is a quiet, luminous depth in the prints.
I think the title of this show is perfect.
2 words in particular seem to me to express what’s at the heart of this collective body of work– layerings and process. For me they convey much more than the material of paper and the technicalities of print.
I think there is complex and hugely important meaning in the process of making work together. In the quiet company of others. Over years.
For some members of the group this is their only studio space, and their only printmaking time – Wednesday mornings at Studio Paradiso. How precious!
So they enter the studio, past the sign on the door about creating peace within (and I think that’s exactly what they do), and become part of layers of accumulated wisdom in that studio. Ways with ink and paper. Shared problem-solving. Trust and exchange. Risk and vulnerability.
So, place (the sacred space that Di has created) is a word I would add.
Another one is person – one person in particular. Diana Orinda Burns – The heart that launched a thousand printmakers!
What Di has given as a teacher, and a creator of a nurturing, gentle and deeply creative environment, is immeasurable. Most career highlights each artist identifies are opportunities created by Di, each artist taking part in them through Di’s gentle encouragement. Her generosity is boundless.
So, I will finish by raising a glass to Di, a maker of beautiful prints, a wonderful teacher, a hugely generous soul, and the creator of layers and layers of peace. THANKYOU.