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Stories of our making: contemporary prints from Australia


Zoe Satherley
20 November 2009
Printmaking is the act of coaxing an image from one surface and laying it onto another — when we look at a print we see the history of its making, according to artist Jan Davis.

Southern Cross University Adjunct Associate Professor Jan Davis and her colleague, Bachelor of Visual Arts graduate Travis Paterson, are co-curating an exhibition of Australian printmakers at the Tweed River Art Gallery, opening later this month.

The exhibition, Stories of our making: contemporary prints from Australia, runs from Friday, November 27 to Sunday, January 31. It will be formally opened by Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee at the gallery at 6 pm on Friday, December 11.

The exhibition presents a breadth of contemporary Australian printmaking with an emphasis on artists whose work reflects an investigation of Australian identity, Jan said.

“Some of the artists speak of a very ancient engagement with the land, others relate the story of constructing a home in this place after losing a home elsewhere; some speak of their identity through reflecting on the development of cultural myths. Taken together, they provide fragments of a story — the making of this place that we speak of as Australia,” Jan said.

“We might think of the artists in this exhibition as surfaces, inscribed with their experience of living in this country and capable of leaving an imprint of that experience.”

The exhibition has just returned from the UK, where it was curated by Jan and Travis for IMPACT VI, an international printmaking conference in Bristol, for an audience of printmakers, curators, critics, collectors and academics from the UK, Europe, America and Australia.

“Curating the exhibition has been a collaborative effort between Travis and myself,” Jan said.

“We relied on the professional skills that Travis developed as an intern at the Tweed River Art Gallery during his undergraduate degree and more recently as the assistant coordinator at Southern Cross University's next Art Gallery.

“With my years of practice as a printmaker and academic, we were able to put together an exhibition that broadly tells the story of contemporary printmaking practice in Australia.”

Stories of our making includes the work of Southern Cross University staff Leonie Lane, Jan Davis, Darren Bryant, and Christine Willcocks and graduates, Anita Lord, Samuel Tupou, and Joanna Kambourian, as part of a broader Australian representation.

This project has been supported by the Gordon Darling Foundation, Southern Cross University and the Tweed River Art Gallery.

Tweed River Art Gallery and café are open from 10am to 5pm Wednesday to Sunday. They are closed on Christmas Day. They are located at 2 Mistral Road (Cnr Tweed Valley Way), Murwillumbah South.

Photo: A walk through Central Park (Au De La) 2008 (detail), archival digital print; Jo Kambourian.