Uncharted Waters – experimental printmaking April/May 2022

Posted by Fiona Cable on

A group of artists investigate new experimental forms of printmaking, which are today pushing the traditional boundaries of this technique in contemporary art. These include the usage of intaglio photopolymer, dry point, monotypes, monoprints, collagraphy, etching and collage, chine-collé. 

In an ebullient moment, multi-talented printmaker Prue MacDougall decided to challenge a group of mainly painters to take up printmaking, and here under the banner of Uncharted Waters is the resulting works. Maybe it was beginner’s luck, the resulting show is quite impressive (from a painter’s perspective anyway!).

Having no formal training, or knowledge of the ‘rules’ can sometimes be an advantage. While crispness of edges and registration may be missing, what the artists did accomplish were ways of mixing things up, adding informal and non-traditional materials and substrates. Found items and gold leaf. Crayons and watercolour paints. Content reigned over meticulous finishing.

In addition to offering an evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of each individual’s approach, the exhibition offers an insight into experimental content. Expression of dreams, or of political commentary, landscape impressions, along with themes of melancholy and beauty. Below is a note from each artist, offering a little more insight. 

A return to some printmaking after a very long time away with the opportunity for an exhibition of experimental content is welcomed. Images are made with a dry point printmaking technique; this provides a line drawing. I have used this technique with collagraphy for a simply rendered linear image with contrasting silhouettes of the dreams I may have spoken. - Maree Brogden

Maree Brogden art Auckland experimental printmaking Auckland art gallery

I inherited my father's penchant for maps, any maps, as he did from his father. I have 1950s and 1960s maps of many European cities as well as those more local. Using the old road maps of Auckland City, I have endeavoured to make commentary about high density planning and Council's prolonged and invasive reconstruction of our CBD. From my perspective, it hasn't been the improvement we were 'sold' or indeed anticipated. Overlaying a silhouette of the current Auckland skyline via a photopolymer plate onto old city streets offers a chance to contemplate opportunities we may have missed over the sixty years between. - Linda Gair

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I have always been fascinated by the idea of individuals and cultures reinventing themselves. My examination of objects questions what these fragments of material culture say about us, as we embrace, discard, and adapt them to make sense of our complex identities and place in the world. - Ina Arraoui

Through experimental printing I aim to communicate a multitude of experiences and feelings from my meanderings of coastal New Zealand/Aotearoa. I share with you an array of rich textures, line, form and colours that are an expression of these treasured places. - Rachel Schanzer

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Jo Dalgety is working with mono printing and collage to begin a journey of exploration into the Hauraki Plains, her childhood home. The alluvial Hauraki Plains have been built up by sediment deposited by the Piako and Waihou rivers, which flow north to reach the sea at the Firth of Thames, and earlier by the ancestral Waikato River. The resulting land was flat, peat-heavy, and partly swampy. It has been converted from ‘virgin state’ into ‘prosperous’ land for dairy farming. - Jo Dalgety

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These mono prints, ‘Bay of Floating Islands’ and ‘Oke Bay from Headland Pa’, were made as part of a series of sea and sky scapes investigating islands as landforms disappearing and reappearing against the backdrop of sea and sky. The horizon is sometimes present and sometimes not depending on the layering of the island forms and weather. My painting exploration has influenced my printmaking and I found it interesting to deconstruct the painting process mainly in reverse. This valuable experience offered an insight into the way I see form, light, landscape and perspective. Embodied is the sense of place and identity specific to the atmosphere of Northland. - Kathryn Carter

Uncharted Waters was a chance for me, a photographer, to explore a new artform and evolve my photographs with the medium of intaglio printmaking. Some prints in this show used photopolymer etching, whilst my mini-prints are hand-etched (using my own photographs for inspiration) and put through a tiny, 3D-printed press. As with my photography, my prints explore themes of melancholy and longing with an ethereal beauty. - Charlotte Johnson

Charlotte Johnson art Auckland experimental printmaking Auckland art gallery

Unassumingly blending into the windswept sand dunes where the Manawatu Estuary meets Cook Strait, the sculptural remains of a half-read historical novel lay open to the elements. Between taking in the big skies and enjoying the shadows cast by the late afternoon sun I nearly missed the half-buried book. Camera in hand I attempted to capture the scene. It intrigued me. The worn pages held more than the story written there. With no inkling at the time on how I might use the images or the handful of pages I rescued, they have now been useful for this exhibition, Unchartered Waters – experimental printmaking. Some impressions have been made on bamboo paper and others directly onto the collected pages of the book. - F Cable

Printmaking has a long, rich history. The medium originated in China after the invention of paper in AD 105. Prints were initially exploited as a form of communication but were later elevated to the fine arts in part because of their unique technical qualities. These traditional techniques and skillsets still maintain a significant position in the art world and offer a foundation for contemporary artists to challenge their process and practice. The experimental prints in this exhibition combine time-tested printmaking techniques with innovative ideas.

To view the work click here.

Ann Everard art Auckland experimental printmaking Auckland art gallery

In the plan drawers, we also have mezzo tints by Nan Mulder and Kathryn Madill and drypoints by Kyla Cresswell, and Catherine Macdonald.

Uncharted Waters – experimental printmaking April – May, 2022.
Opening event 6 May, 5.30pm.

Artists included are:

  • Ann Everard
  • Maggie McGregor
  • Maree Brogden
  • Ina Arraoui
  • Jo Dalgety
  • Linda Gair
  • Sonja Drake
  • Charlotte Johnson
  • Rachel Schanzer
  • Kathryn Carter
  • Fiona Cable
  • Tina Frantzen
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