Monday, October 24, 2016

Libris Awards visited

yours truly checking on "Keer Weer"

Even though I have been home several weeks, I've finally found some time to share some of my thoughts and the images of some of the beautiful books. It was an amazing show of wonderful books that moved me to the studio post haste. I'm so glad I was able to get to Mackay in time before the Libris Awards exhibition closed. It was a real credit to Mackay Artspace and the staff to host such a great show. However, once again it brought home to me how difficult life is for artist books in this context -being untouchable and so limited in their ability to really communicate when locked up under covers or on plinths.

 Pleasure demolition. Letterpress, various kraft papers, thread and pole.

Some work fared better than others in this environment. Karen Florance's piece moved gently in the airconditioned breeze, giving us all a great view of the whole work as intended with the play of moving shadows on the wall an extra bonus.
The legacy of absence and silence. Drawings and image transfers

Helen Malone's work, as were many others, were beautifully displayed on plinths that were approachable from all sides giving the audience at least some sense of intimacy that these works cry out for.

Bronwyn REES and Elizabeth BANFIELD
A different path. Etching and linocut on Somerset paper

However, I felt very sorry for some artists whose wonderful work was done a great disservice by being displayed poorly. This wonderful concertina book was only visible from one side because the plinth it was on was parallel to the wall so that the back was not visible at all. I must admit I was very naughty and moved the work slightly so I could see some of Bronwyn's work as well. This was not the only work displayed this way and I don't want to take anything away from the wonderful experience I had, but it could so easily be even better because it is so easily avoided. I was so glad that Bronwyn Rees had another work in the show.

Bronwyn REES Lost. Etching and collage

Again, unfortunately I don't feel this work was done complete justice in it's display. The interesting way in which the etching plate was used as the cover was not really noticeable but a more difficult dilemma to solve. I don't want to sound like a moaner and fault finder, particularly after such a wonderful exhibition, BUT we can and must try harder to make the difficult experience of showing artist books more valuable for the audience so they can be more involved with the work.

 Unreadable book No.2. Sheets of semi transparent coloured shaped acrylic

My last gripe concerns the inaccessibility to the Artist's statement that accompanied the work through out the exhibition. The artists  were asked to include one in our submission and although the gallery had thought to reproduce the images in the show onto an IPad, sadly there was no copy of the artist statement for the audience or even a hard copy. So particularly for the more conceptual pieces like this classic by Janis Nedela, we were left totally in the dark about what the artist was trying to communicate. This work was under a cover on a plinth to stop you  trying to rearrange the perspex pieces, even if you were allowed. Again, so easily made better with the artist statement being available to the audience. 
Window (first class). Recycled envelopes, collage. 

 Drawing on the ground. Carbon drawings, handstamped and handwritten text

Elizabeth JENEID
Special delivery. Wood, paper, tarlatan, paint
Keer Weer ready to travel

the wooden keel makes a wavelike form

the images and tone vary as you turn the pages

I be very surprised if too many people studying Elizabeth Jeneid's "Special Delivery" (above), would have worked out that it was about people trafficing or that my book,  "Keer Weer", a kindred spirit,  concerned boat people and "illegal refugees". I'd be also be very surprised if the curators that acquired my book for the State Library of Qld hadn't had the chance to read my artist statement or have any access to white gloves to explore the book fully. What a thrill to be there, accessible for all to share whenever they choose. We are so lucky!

Biodiversity cones. Digital book.

 Europa to Oceania. Text: Antoni JACH. Letterpress,
collograph, linocut, quarter cloth binding.

 Finite caves (drowned). Ink, crayons, acrylic, dye, thread and paper.

I'm sorry I couldn't show all the work that inspired me that week-end, I clearly had too much time on my hands. I feel so lucky to have been able to explore this exhibition for two days with hardly a soul in the gallery. What bliss! 

In the meantime, I think that considering how your work will be presented (and photographed for your submission) are very important issues, crucial to being included in national exhibitions like this.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

just a couple then

As you can see, the Kraft paper is prone to buckling and warping more than is desirable for most work so that's what I was exploring here. The paper was not coated with anything and painted with acrylic which caused the warping due to the stretching/shrinking of the paper as the paint dries. Thin applications not too wet are ok. I also used some linseed oil as seen in the darker areas and it works well if you don't mind the medium going through to the other side. Wax crayon is compatible with the oiled paper. The quote was typed onto an old page of an old school exercise book my mother used about 90 years ago. The paper is thicker and has a slight sheen and sentimental value as a bonus.

This time the Kraft paper has been waxed which gives it a darker, silky feel. No warping or stretching this time as paint is oil based and waxed crayons used. You may have noticed I've also been using an old manual typewriter which I dragged out when the grandchildren came over. You forget how hard we used to have to hit those keys. I do like the varied ,chancey feel to the text though which goes perfectly with the quote, which was typed on directly. Using the collage with old paper was not used as visually it sat too high off the surface of the paper.

Monday, October 3, 2016

"more ?"

"outside reason"

Another little exploratory page from "one way ticket". The grey graphite marks were made with a great tennis ball sized ball of graphite from Portugal. Is there any limit to the range of marks that we can use? The graphite is soluble as well, so more possibilities again. After "fixing" it is possible to write on the graphite using white ink or gouache.
Comment if you would like to see more pages from this little collection of mark making research.

Meanwhile, Jenny and I are heading off to Mackay for a long weekend to check out the wonderful world of artist books at "Libris Awards".  Although all the selected artists have been shown in the catologue, there is nothing quite like seeing them in the flesh and donning the white gloves to look inside. It will be interesting to see how "Keer weer" fits in with all the other books from all over Australia.

Monday, September 19, 2016

"one way ticket"

Helen Malone and I have been working for what seems like ages on our new collaboration and finally seem to be getting somewhere although it could be a while yet before we finish. It has been amazing how well we bounce ideas around and get the best out of each other but it also can be a much longer process than working on your own.
We always research and explore ideas and media and usually make trial exploratory pieces to test our ideas and search for the best materials and media that lends itself to making artist's books.
This time I have decided to be more systematic and keep my explorations of different media as a reference for later and even other books. By using similar sized sheets and focussing on content and composition I have been able to try lots of processes and media and keep them together bound in a little book. As well as being useful to the final process, I've become quite fond of the little book as a piece in its own right and will share some of the pages with you.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

"keer weer -turn again"

I am very excited that "Keer Weer" has been selected to be part of this years books for the Libris Awards at the Mackay Artspace and to be included with  such an esteemed company of book artists. As many of you may not be able to make it to Mackay to see all the books, I thought a blog of my entry may be good before the show opens and a possible site for all the participants work is established.

I like to use stylised imagery and text to  make artist books that examine our social and political anxieties. “Keer Weer – turn again” is informed by my concerns with the Australian Government’s treatment of asylum seekers who use boats to come to our island continent looking for freedom from persecution and a new life as migrants in Australia

The title of the book comes from the name of the spot in north Queensland where the first European landed in Australia. Capt Willem Janszoon from Holland arrived in his tiny vessel the Duyfken in 1606. He “turned back” of his own volition because he found the place unfriendly. The current, recent “turn backs” are more sinister and shameful.

The design is driven by layered word and image repetitions that change in tone as the book progresses from a darker to brighter more optimistic one. The individual pages of the book involve intense manual labour. This manual stressing and layering of the materials give the paper its special tactile quality.

The images of simple boats and the treatment of the Vietnamese paper with basic materials such as wax, turmeric and bitumen reference the cultural and hazardous conditions of the journeys. The resulting surface texture of the waterproof paper is soft and skin-like, pliable, despite its stressed treatment.

I have posted more pages and details on my Weebly site for those interested in detail and will add a few more here.

I made a wooden keel for the book so that it can be read and displayed in a wave like position. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

the journey continues - (stamping in Japan)

On previous travels in Japan, I had noticed that local travellers love to collect ink stamps from all interesting sites and collect them in a little paper book. These are usually quite large rubber stamps in bright colours mainly red but also in other colours including blue, purple, green and black. 

On our  journey to Japan last year I decided to collect some of these myself and combine them with my other images in my travel diary. We found the stamps everywhere, they even have a special stamp for every JR station somewhere hiding on the platform. As the trains are so frequent , we didn't always have time to find them but at the larger stations they are quite prominent.

This first stamp was a target for one of the beautifully fine pens I picked up. The Japanese write so finely. As I get older my writing and drawing seems to be getting smaller.

It took a little while and some experimentation to work out how to include these strong designs into my diary pages alongside my tickets and other travel ephemera. They are quite different to some of my previous travel diaries from Japan and elsewhere. I am getting quite a collection of them but they don't take up much room in my drawers. I did show quite a few of them in the "Mind Mapping" exhibition several years ago. Who knows, the new ones might also get an airing sometime in the future.

As I used the same diary for our travels in Tasmania earlier this year, some of the unfinished drawings from Japan were finished in Tassie and the journey continues.

Monday, June 6, 2016

KART magazine of multiplicity

KART magazine is an assembling publication created to promote artistic and cultural diversity. 
issue 68

I have been contributing to KART for several years now and I'm always amazed at the contents of the little cardboard box that David sends us when he has enough artists' work to complete an edition. Here is a sample of some of the postcards I have made for this collaborative project.They are made using old photos I have taken stitched together with added collage elements and text.

queen of colonies

radical change

KART is an ongoing project with no deadlines, and work is accepted on a continuing basis. 
KART is produced in limited editions of 40, each box containing works by 15 artists. This is a bumper issue with 21 makers contributing! 

mysterious doctor

over 21

KART is published as a collaboration between Karingal Participate and Field Study International. You can preview images of KART as they are published on
David Dellafiora (curator)

on sale

impossibly happy

If you are interested please visit David Dellafiora's blog to see the other contributors that come from many countries including Italy, Norway, Spain, Ukraine, USA, and Germany as well as Australia.

Can you make up a story using one of the cards as a idea starter? I'd be happy to send you the original if I can find it or at least one of the edition.