Collateral: Printmaking As Social Commentary
Sorry, this event’s been and gone
|Fri 1 Jul ’11, 5:30pm||
|Sat 20 Aug ’11, 4:00pm||
Where: Gus Fisher Gallery, 74 Shortland Street, Auckland
Restrictions: All Ages
Event listed by: gusfishergallery
The four artists in Collateral show that printmaking's long history of social and political critique is still alive and well. From the United States, New Zealand and South Africa, printmakers Daniel Heyman, Michael Reed, Sandra Thomson and Diane Victor utilise the versatility of print processes in diverse ways that offer the traditional pleasures of fine prints and also more unexpected forms: delicate etchings and drypoints, vibrant screenprint designs on a variety of fabric supports, ingenious artist's books, and engravings on metal.
But this is not only an exhibition for print lovers: these artists share the impulse to expose human rights violations, and the different stories they tell invite close reading as they focus on those who suffer not as combatants or through direct involvement in conflict, but in what may be referred to as collateral damage.
Invited to witness interviews of Iraqi detainees by American human rights lawyers, Daniel Heyman (USA) sought to restore their individuality and dignity after endless humiliating exposure as victims in the media. He uses the directness of drypoint to capture likenesses of the men with rapid immediacy, adding the words of their testament in inscriptions that invade the spaces around their heads.
Media reports also caught the attention of Diane Victor (SA), but in this case she was outraged by how little attention was given to public corruption and personal tragedies in post-apartheid South Africa. Her etchings reveal some of these Disasters of Peace, as she calls them, depicted in painstakingly delicate surfaces that compellingly draw us in to linger over events that viewers might otherwise avoid.
Sandra Thomson (NZ) exploits the versatility of screenprinting to create linear forms reminiscent of medieval woodcuts in order to explore saintly stories and more contemporary incidents of suffering in the church. Working on fabric, she evokes the sumptuousness of religious vestments or references more humble apparel, such as the singlets she creates to evoke the vulnerability of abused children.
Michael Reed (NZ) too uses fabric supports for many of his prints to convey a social imperative. He deploys the connotations of varied textiles – whether drapes, carpet runners, or bandages – to contribute additional layers of meaning to the transfixing texts imprinted on his works, indicting those who make and sell arms for profit.
All four artists demonstrate printmaking's ability to create forms that unite visual delight with social acuity.
Curated by Elizabeth Rankin, Department of Art History, University of Auckland, with support from the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Arts, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and the CPIT Foundation.