Featuring artists: David Frazer, Annika Romeyn, Jazmina Cininas, Becc Orszag, Sophia Szilagyi.
The natural world is a place of extremes – it can be a landscape of fury, of the unforgiving, of the merciless, or the untameable. Yet it is also an environment that can be harnessed - where crops are sown and gathered, where the weather can be predicted, where its mountains and oceans can be traversed. This exhibition brings together represented artists of FLG and selected guest artists who create works on paper within their practice. Whether they’re from drawing, painting or printmaking backgrounds, these artists produce incredibly beautiful and contemporary collectable artworks.
David Frazer is renowned for his intricate linocuts, wood engravings, lithographs and etchings that he creates with a distinctive style that he has forged over the last 20 years. Exploring sense of place, isolation, longing and our relationship with the environment that surrounds us, his work is gently infused with Australian humour. Often depicting a lone man in the wilderness or a couple hand in hand, Frazer uses the landscape as a metaphor for the human condition, and presents it as both tamed and tortured. Collaborating with the likes of Paul Kelly and Don Walker, Frazer weaves whimsical tales through traditional printmaking techniques.
My latest body of work was inspired by a Bathurst Regional Gallery Hill End Residency (Nov 2015), which saw me walking and drawing outdoors, frequently returning to the site of Golden Gully. I experienced a surreal landscape bearing the scars of colonial mining – raw and damaged, yet intriguing and somehow transcendent. It is a place that has continued to transform in my memory, imagination and ultimately in my monotype prints and drawings.
Beyond Golden Gully, my work is more broadly about being in the landscape and the experience of mutability that comes with a close and patient observation of nature. The minute becomes monumental and the ordinary, extraordinary. My large-scale monotype Chasm 1 gestures toward the immersive experience of crumbling gully walls, complex and striking, yet fragile, reshaped by each rainfall. In Ghost I have worked directly on top of the ‘ghost prints’ generated in the production of my monotype prints, aiming to further transform and reveal the landscape as eroding and impermanent.
Jazmina Cininas is a Melbourne-based artist, arts writer and curator who lectures in printmaking at RMIT School of Art, where she completed her PhD in 2014. For over two decades now, Jazmina has been charting the various incarnations of the female werewolf as a vehicle for her printmaking practice, creating a Girlie Werewolf Hall of Fame as part of her PhD project. Since completing her MA in 2002, Jazmina has exhibited her ongoing Girlie Werewolf Project throughout Australia and in Lithuania, the most recent incarnation scheduled for the Benalla Art Gallery in December 2017. The artist’s elaborate reduction linocuts have been shortlisted for numerous national prizes and acquired by many public collections, including the National Gallery of Victoria, the Victorian Arts Centre, Broken Hill Regional Gallery, the Silk Cut Foundation and the Alice Springs Art Foundation. Jazmina is recently returned from a three-month artist’s residency at the Estonian Printing Museum in Tartu, where she was researching and making work about Estonia's unusually rich female werewolf legacy. The body of work for Into the Wilderness will consist of selected portraits of female werewolves located within the landscape.
Presented in Into The Wilderness will be 4 drawings from the ongoing series ‘Immaculate Landscapes’. These works are primarily an investigation into sacred space and religious experience, grounded in the psychological phenomenon of paramnesia; the distortion of memory, the confusion of fantasy with reality. Drawing is chosen as a medium for its perceived fragility and intimacy, with hints of gold leaf signifying sacred and alchemic processes. They illustrate a metaphysical land, an axially symmetrical Rorschach inspired dreamscape that reflects upon itself around a totemic and altar-like structure, creating an immersive and meditative natural environment that transcends beyond the physical. Coded notations elude to a story untold yet sever any chance of a rational narrative taking hold. The work invites the viewer into a state of self-reflection and contemplation, encouraging autonomy and dissuading instruction, allowing for a contemplation of the divine in nature and within one’s self. They are an attempt to engage and connect with something beyond our immediate comprehension, a search for a universal truth.
Light shimmers, darkness settles, the sea opens its arms to swallow up the sky. Sophia Szilagyi’s imagery evokes the natural world and imbues it with an emotional resonance through the artist’s skilful manipulation of diametrically opposed elements. Light abuts dark, the dense almost claustrophobic space in some works contrast with open seas and vast skies that imply the infinite in others. Imagery is constructed through digital printmaking techniques, layered to create textural complexities, while capturing the oscillations in mood and atmosphere that mirror the ebb and flow of human emotions. Fear, wonder, and danger exist in these images that capture the beauty and grandeur found in the physical world, while also charting an internal topography.
For many years Sophia Szilagyi’s work has traversed land, sky and seascapes, inventing a universe that appears plausible yet is largely make-believe. Through digital printmaking she skillfully merges numerous images to create a distinctive sense of otherworldliness in her work that is entirely unique.
Bio by Marguerite Brown