INK Auckland Printmaker Exhibition

Posted by Fiona Cable on

Join Railway Street Studios from the 3rd of August to explore INK an exhibition that promises intrigue, intensity, fluidity, and a sensory experience of surface and space


Leading printmaker artist, educator and master of imagination, Prue MacDougall has invited four artists to join her for INK, an artist-initiated exhibition that will occupy Railway Street Studios, Newmarket in August 2017. Hunting like a magpie, as she does for imagery and objects to weave into her capricious art works, MacDougall was attracted to practitioners whose work intrigued her, sparked inquiry and made her think. She was also impressed by her peers’ consummate professional approach to developing their ideas and how best to express these in ink.

INK features works by Deborah Crowe, Steve Lovett (collaboration with Amanda Wright), Prue MacDougall, Carole Shepheard and Christine Wylie. INK brings together artists connected by their predilection for working in ink; its life through dispersal on substrates alongside its malleable qualities that so eloquently evoke our senses, meaning and thought.

Describing her process of gathering these artists together, Prue MacDougall says

            “I invited these artists to be part of this project because they’re all leading practitioners in contemporary New Zealand printmaking, producing highly sophisticated works that extend the definition of this art form. I feel fortunate to be able to work with such innovative artists and share ideas on how we can continue explore new ways of printmaking.”

Within this group of highly experienced artists, whose works are held in national and international collections, ideas, imagery, methods and approaches form synergies and tensions, creating rich dialogue between the images and beyond.

Human relationships with the physical world are explored in the works of Carole Shepheard and Deborah Crowe. Shepheard notes shifts from an urban environment to a rural setting, from research-based practice to a more intuitive studio environment as influential in exploring balance in her Uncanny Nature. Crowe alludes to her hopes and fears for the future in complex mash-ups of urban, landscape and waste environments, digitally collaged to propose hypothetical future environments where space and place tangle with residue from human occupation.

Lovett (L/W) and Wylie’s prints explore reductive and highly formal imagery. Wylie's work belies its complicated fabrication and presents prints resembling drawings; self-constructed geometric compositions suggestive of presence and absence, space and non-space. Lovett’s collaborative work with Wright explores the mishaps of error with a seductive take on the formality and of moiré patterns that produces considered and refined subtle shifts upon shift upon shift. Holding drama and intrigue in very different way, allegory, imagination and a sense of poetry are at play with figurative references in the work of Prue MacDougall.

INK brings together works that twist, distorts and play with the viewer’s perception of what is in front of her/him. It could be argued that each of the artists uses or mimics drawing as an integral part of their exploration of ideas, pulling together, gesturing, erasing, reducing and making spaces for interpretation in the narrative, the picture plane or the gallery.

Discussing the rewards of participating in INK, Dr Carole Shepheard, respected practitioner and academic says

        “Being part of a small but diverse group of artists that have different approaches, philosophic beliefs and conceptual frameworks is strengthening. The support gained from standing alongside others whose work I admire, gives me the opportunity to dig deeper into what motivates people, and how they express this in print. While my engagement with print has been long, there is still much to learn, experience and undertake. A group like this becomes part of the journey.”

While Fiona Cable, Director of Railway St. Studios, has worked with MacDougall before, she hasn’t shown the others’ work. Talking about this group exhibition she says,

            “It never ceases to impress me, the tenacity of artists such as these exhibiting in INK. Digging deep to mine the gems that become works of art through sweat, skill and exploration, to produce pieces that please and other times assault the senses. Here are five artists with a depth of experience coming together to share with you what is possible working in ink.”

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