The art of printmaking

Neil Emmerson, (I must confess?) II, 2011, digital and screen print on arches velin. Courtesy of the artist.

Neil Emmerson, (I must confess?) II, 2011, digital and screen print on arches velin. Courtesy of the artist.

The significance of printmaking in the context of contemporary art and design will be explored at an exhibition this month.

From 6 February, the Monash Art Design & Architecture (MADA) Gallery will present Community & Context, an exhibition featuring the work of 24 Australian artists.

Curator and printmaking lecturer Marian Crawford, of the University’s Department of Fine Art said the exhibition started through her experience and observation of the diverse and social nature of the print medium.

“The artists invited to participate in the exhibition made works that demonstrated commitment to a particular sense of community, and to social justice,” Ms Crawford said.

In her catalogue essay for the exhibition, writer Anna Daly said "Community and Context presented print as a medium that gives rise to community engagement and it demonstrates this through an expanded field of practices that query the ambiguous status of the print within aesthetic discourses.” 

Manager and curator of MADA Gallery Alicia Renew said each artist had explored and tackled social issues in their work, from asylum seekers, Australian politics to bio-chemical warfare.

“It makes for a diverse exhibition which shows printmaking in state of expansion, with not only varying concepts approached, but also experimentation with the medium,” Ms Renew said. 

eX de Medici and Rosalind Atkins’s collaborative work Our Corporate Who Art in Heaven, combines etching and engraving, botanical illustration and gas masks to subversive effect.

Printmaking as sculpture is also explored in Ruth Johnstone’s work Mining Robert Sticht’s Dürer Archive, which employs engraving, photocopy and kinetic sculpture to explore the vocabulary of Dürer’s vast print catalogue.

The exhibition suggests other print methods in the work Delicate Cutting by artist Sally Smart, a film of the artist cutting what could be stencils from paper. The new film also suggests the darker connotations of self-harm.

Community & Context will be held from 6 February - 12 March at the MADA Gallery, Monash University Caulfield Campus. Entry is free.

The opening event will be held on Saturday 9 February from 2pm. 

The MADA Gallery is open 10am-5pm Monday-Friday and 12-5pm on Saturday.

For further information, visit the MADA Gallery website.