From Paper to Print - Tenth Annual Group Exhibition by the Blue Door Print Studio
| by Marilyn de Freitas posted on November 14, 2014 in Reviews.
Printmaking has long become an art of resistance. Artists began to move away from painting through the development of printing methods such as engraving, etching (circa 1470 – 1536), woodcut during the Middle Ages and lithography (1796). Each print medium has a special, identifiable quality and have endured to present day. Printmaking has become a mode of creative production in the contemporary art market, where works are printed in editions, creating a body of accessible and affordable artworks available to a wider art audience.
The 10th annual Blue Door Print Studio group exhibition, held at Upstairs@Bamboo in November 2014, showcases works by distinguished and many new names presenting works that appeal to various tastes. Though it a large collection of works on display, the works are creatively placed and given enough room to view and explore. The exhibition includes a diverse range of techniques of printmaking ranging from etchings and lithographs, lino and woodcuts as well as sculpture and mixed media works. The prints are available at bargain-basement prices, so aspiring art collectors could easily acquire prints to start their collection.
Collin Cole, Harvesting Memories, 1914 to 1918, Drypoint (79 x 51cm)
In 2003, painter and printmaker Collin Cole established the Blue Door Print Studio to teach aspiring printmakers outside of the often-restricted formal educational institutions the opportunity to learn professional printmaking. Cole's own work reflects on his interest of collecting and archiving objects found along his daily journeys. As a collector, archivist and visual alchemist, his art is largely autobiographical and a source of his own personal lived experiences and influences.
The works on display a wide range of issues including social, political issues and personal experiences. Amanda Ballen's works represent portraits of herself submerging, surfacing and sinking, propelling and suspending, flying and free falling capturing movement and chaos. The works include "imaginistic poems" as a textual basis of her thinking and creative process. Lizette Chilvers explores the moments that are prevalent in a woman's life such as age, grief, love and loss. Chilvers houses these moments in various mixed media boxes using miniature objects and layers.
Johannesburg based artist Bianca Wretschko creates autobiographical works that respond to urbanism of Johannesburg. She explores the "chaotic environmental situations within city life" through patterns, systems and maps of the city. Through sound clips recorded by particular random subjects as they proceeded in their everyday life, Wretschko created a imaginary landscape of the city consisting of city sounds such as cars hooting, talking, rhythmic walking, beats and hums.
Chonat Getz, Orange Car, Cast glass (300mm X 120mm X 70mm)
Large prints by Chonat Getz explore the scientific and technological investigations of humankind using interesting mythological-looking creatures and symbols. Getz also created playful and multicoloured bronze and glass featuring figures, horses and boats. In Fools Gold, Getz references the Dogon, Djenne, Bamana, Senufo and Yoruba people's use of the rider and mount sculptures, despite the fact that horses are rare in Africa.
Derek Zietsman pushes social boundaries with his controversial prints. He explores themes of Christian iconography and performativities of South African gender identity. Zietsman references Michel Foucault's idea of an "ontology of the present" where structures of religion and gender regulate how we act and perceive others.The works play with the construction of female and male identities where sexual roles are blurred. He also explores repressive structures present in society such as racial identity, with specific reference to Afrikaner heritage.
Dina Kroon, Urban Flight, Drypoint (79 x 51cm)
The exploration of printmaking as a medium of expression is at the heart of this show. Somehow printmakers seem to demonstrate the real extent to which line and mark-making can be exciting in a visual sense. Dina Kroon's works displays her exploration of various processes, techniques and methods in refining her own visual and conceptual vocabulary created interesting controlled and uncontrolled results. Marianna Keyser is inspired by the everyday and the play of light. She moves away from creating the "picture perfect image" towards a more artistic impression of the subject. Her prints are inspired by nature and an exploration of line and art that is intrinsic to the medium of printmaking.
The Blue Door Print Studio group exhibition features a broad range of print techniques and strong works by significant artists. The exhibition serves as a source of printmakers to look out for in the future. Each editioned print remains an unique work that any art collector or lover would be fufilled to own.