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Wight, Normana - 1967.17

Normana Wight

Untitled 1967
silkscreen on paper
Plate: 39.7 x 61.8 cm
Sheet: 52.0 x 71.6 cm
Purchased 1967

Normana Wight has worked as an artist, teacher, university lecturer, and textile designer.[1]

In Untitled, areas of colour edged with squiggly lines progress from blue to orange from left to right across the surface of the paper.[2] Wight produced this work with the technique of silkscreen printing. There are three layers of repetition in this work. First, with the technique of silkscreen printing, prints can be reproduced, and Untitled was the first of ten impressions of the same print. Secondly, Wight repeated the curved-edged colour of Untitled in different shapes and colours in other prints she produced in 1967 and 1968.[3] Curved lines were visible in acrylic on two trapezoid canvas modules hung vertically to form a shape that tapered at the centre in the exhibition The field at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1968.[4] Janet Dawson, Wendy Paramor, and Wight were the only women included in this exhibition of contemporary Australian abstract art. In a solo exhibition at Crossley Gallery in Melbourne in 1970, Wight showed modular canvases on which she had silkscreened curves of colour.[5] These works were editioned and the canvas modules could be rearranged. Lastly, Wight repeated the squiggly line within Untitled. This repetition of line registers within the work its own reproducibility as a silkscreen print.

A review of an exhibition of Wight’s works from the time alludes to one of the possibilities of this reproducibility of the medium of silkscreen printing. In a review of a solo show of Wight’s at Central Street Gallery in Sydney in 1968 in which she exhibited paintings and prints, Donald Brook wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald,

The point is that Miss Wight screen-prints on paper and on canvas; and although the canvases are mostly one-off, while the papers come in editions restricted to a dozen or so, there is no technical reason why they should not all be available in unlimited and correspondingly cheap editions. They are, in any case, down to the attractive range of $30-$100 already. Not only that, but the artist herself says that she gets a lot of fun out of trying different combinations of the various modules on the wall. Why should not her customers share this small creative pleasure? Why not buy units at will, at a manufacturer’s price, and treat them, in the long run, as expendable? Nothing in principle, apart from various forms of vested interest, stands in the way of a reformed art business.[6]

Brook wrote of Wight’s production of modular works and works of art in multiples as an example of work that was ‘laying down the basis of a reformed art industry, with perhaps a more active role for the art consumer.’[7] Anne Kirker has written of Wight, ‘in general, printmaking appealed to her because it embodied the idea of the repeatable image and was perceived as a “democratic” art.’[8]

In her repetition of the squiggly line within Untitled, Wight represented within the print itself its reproducibility, and as these writers have shown, the reproducibility of her works had political potential.

Amelia Sully is a graduate research student in Art History at the University of Melbourne.

[1] ‘Normana Wight Biography’, Design and Art Australia Online,, accessed 7 March 2017.

[2] A print by Wight in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria that could be another impression of Untitled is titled Untitled – blue to orange. See ‘Normana Wight, Untitled – blue to orange, 1967’, National Gallery of Victoria,, accessed 15 March 2017.

[3] Anne Kirker has written of the curved shapes of Wight’s acrylics as ‘echoed in her prints’. See Anne Kirker, ‘New Modalities in Print’, Craft Arts International, no. 71, 2007, p.57.

[4] Ibid.; ‘Transcript of 28063/30 Normana Wight Oral History’, James C. Sourris Artist Interview Series, Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; The field, exh. cat., Melbourne: The Gallery, 1968.

[5] Ann Galbally, ‘Avant-garde is in a new HQ’, The Age, 10 June 1970, Normana Wight: Australian Art and Artists File, State Library of Victoria; Alan McCulloch, ‘New trends in size’, The Herald, 10 June 1970, Normana Wight: Australian Art and Artists File, State Library of Victoria.

[6] Donald Brook, ‘The disposable art industry’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 August 1968, p.12; Newspaper clipping from The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 August 1968, Normana Wight: Australian Art and Artists File, State Library of Victoria. Ann Galbally wrote in her review of Wight’s 1970 Crossly Gallery exhibition, “the possibilities of viewer participation are intriguing.” Galbally, 1970.

[7] Brook, 1968, p.12.

[8] Kirker, 2007, p. 58.

From the series
Wight, Normana - 1967.18
Normana Wight

Untitled 1967
silkscreen on paper
Plate: 66.1 x 50.2 cm
Sheet: 73.7 x 55.8 cm
Purchased 1968