Monday, 16 October 2017

First Impressions III: National Printmaking Exhibition

Exhibition opened Wednesday 4th October, 2017
On show until Friday 20th October.

This is the third "First Impressions" exhibition and the second time I have taken part. The previous time I entered was in October 2013, when I was very new to printmaking. This time I had two works selected. 

These works were something of a trial to create in that I had decided that I was going to push my comfort boundaries to create works that are bigger than I have previously worked in printmaking, and involved multiple experimental processes. I didn't have a particular image in mind from the start (a very new way for me to work), just a sense of trying to capture a place, (a real place: Karangahake Mountain), from my mind's eye and the accompanying emotion to communicate the message I was seeking to convey. 

This theme came about as a result of another research-based project I have been involved with this year and which I will write about at a later date although this link will provide some context for my inspiration and why it has moved me to create this work. If you would like to add your voice to this very real and current concern, please visit the link to Protect Karangahake.

Working to this size is now possible because I bought a larger press! This one is actually a "real" etching press which allows me to do things I can't do with my mangle - a) because its bigger! and b) because the rollers can be raised or lowered, allowing for finer control of pressure. (This does not mean I will be parting with my beloved mangle any time soon though... just in case you were wondering.)

I worked on 4 prints simultaneously, building layers and responding to the marks as they were appearing. By working on 4 sheets of paper I was more able to be patient and to not overwork one piece for too long in a session. I was stressing the paper progressively by applying multiple layers of inks which needed time to be absorbed by the paper and so needed to dry between layers. As I discovered in a previous trial print, too much ink and the paper would stick to the printing matrix and begin to delaminate! It was a very fine line! It was constantly possible that I could ruin the image for any of a number of reasons, at any time. I worked hard to try to feel the fear and just go for it! Each print went through the press at least a dozen times. 

I used a combination of collograph plates, caustic etched lino plates, lino cut textures and monotype processes. The result is a more painterly approach to printmaking, a direction I have been endeavouring to explore for a while now and which I will continue to develop. I especially enjoy the effects that can be achieved with many layers of translucent inks creating a variety of sheens across the surfaces. They really need to be viewed up close to be able to see all the textures, colours and layers. It was therefore great that this exhibition stipulated for unframed works although photographing the works was a real challenge. As printmakers know, it can be very frustrating  peering at a print under glass, trying to decipher what the processes may include.

Below are my two entries to the exhibition. 
There was a LOT of dithering, (one of my greatest talents)
trying to decide which of the four prints I should enter.

"Tears of Hinemuri - When is enough enough?"
Monotype, collograph, linocut by Toni Hartill, unique.

"Tears of Hinemuri - When is enough enough?"
Monotype, collograph, linocut by Toni Hartill, unique (detail)

"Tears of Hinemuri - When is enough enough?"
Monotype, collograph, linocut by Toni Hartill, unique (detail)

"Tears of Hinemuri - (When) is it too late?"
Monotype, collograph, linocut by Toni Hartill, unique

"Tears of Hinemuri - (When) is it too late?"
Monotype, collograph, linocut by Toni Hartill, unique

"Tears of Hinemuri - (When) is it too late?"
Monotype, collograph, linocut by Toni Hartill, unique

My statement for both works

Ohinemuri is the river, Karangahake is the mountain. The people of Karangahake are fighting for their mountain’s protection from mining, again. This is conservation land that is still recovering from the goldmining of the last century when the government declared the river a “sludge canal”. The river and the mountain are under renewed threat as New Talisman Gold Mines have consent to sample mine and are doing so right now. We do not need to search far to find many rivers and many mountains that are under similar, or worse, stresses.

According to Maori legends many of our nation’s rivers were formed from the tears of ancestors. These tears are joined by the tears of many as our waterways are continually under stress despite the cry that enough is enough.

Inspired by trying to capture the emotion of the tears, these images are built up from many, many layers of texture and colour, each layer responding to the layer before, each layer a risk-taking moment where full control is not possible due to the nature of the processes. How much ink can the paper absorb? How much stress can the paper endure? How do I know when to stop? How much is too much?

When is enough enough? 

(When) is it too late? 

Following are imagesof the exhibition in the two gallery spaces.
Steve Lovett and Emma McLellan were on the selection panel 
and the winning works were judged by Dr Carole Shepheard. 

There were 70 works entered and 49 works exhibited.

Premier Winner: Jacqueline Aust
Merit Award winners: Suzette van Dorsser and Hamish Oakley-Brown.

The exhibition is hosted by Mairangi Arts Centre and runs until Friday October 20th.

                                                                                        Photo supplied by MAC

Below is a video provided by Mairangi Arts Centre. 
It shows an overview of the exhibition.

To hang these works we were required to attach paper tabs to the backs of the works. 
I explain how I did it HERE.

Hmmm, now where to present the other two prints?


  1. bugger I had just finished this comment when the page disappeared ugh....but anyway I was just saying how gorgeous these prints were/are

    and as us printmakers know only too well

    1. Haha yes, I HATE it when that happens - usually on my ancient ipad. Thanks for the nice comments and yes, such a lot of work! Sigh - worth it for all that I discovered along the way. Great to hear from you!


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