Exhibition overview

The proposition that the contemporary printmaking, at its most significant, “marks the present through reconstructing pasts and anticipating futures”[1] suggests the relation between its traditional and contemporary roles as a productively dialectical one. The medium of printmaking has the potential to contribute to a discussion about the current state of the image, particularly in relation to the unprecedented amount of imagery we are exposed to through developments in digital technology.

Whilst not new in themselves, questions regarding authorship and image authenticity have become more pertinent. Printmaking retains aspects of its original function as means of communication due its inherent reproducibility, yet it allows for both individual artistic expression and the questioning of the process of image construction. Within this context, each of the invited artists has been asked to respond to the idea of the unstable image via the medium of printmaking.

Through their printmaking practice, all of the participating artists have, to a greater or lesser extent, incorporated varied strategies that expose the transparency of the process of image construction and/or question the traditional role of printmaking. Paul Coldwell (UK) is an international artist, curator and researcher who has written extensively about contemporary printmaking. His work deals with absence and loss and examines the impact of new technologies on traditional printing techniques. Marian Crawford creates work that references the print’s historical linking of printed word and image with news media’s public proliferation of information, while Joel Gailer’s printmaking practice is often performative and questions the relationship between mass production, media and print processes. Aleksandra Antic’s prints address the concept of self-identity through the relationship between artistic activity and the image as a mode of articulation and a space of communication. Olga Sankey has an ongoing interest in the historical relationship between image and text, particularly at the point where the demarcation between the two breaks down.

Aleksandra Antic and Olga Sankey

[1] Marjorie Kirker, Printmaking as an Expanding Field in Contemporary Art Practice: A Case Study of Japan, Australia and Thailand (Brisbane, Queensland University of Technology, 2009), 7.