The Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award ·
Fremantle Arts Centre ·
Review by Jess Boyce ·
The Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award, now in its 44th year, is the country’s most prestigious print prize. Attracting over 280 entries this year, the 2019 exhibition displays the work of 56 finalists.
The winning artwork, Gone Fishing East of Faskrudfjordur by Rew Hanks, which also took out the 2019 Burnie Print Prize earlier this year, is a technically brilliant, two-metre-long black and white linocut landscape that reflects on the fact that, despite its beauty the natural world is under threat. The winner sets the tone for the rest of the exhibition which features a strong contingent of representative, black and white illustrations executed in traditional printmaking methods, with many artists also reflecting on the impact of humans on the environment.
Angela Ferolla’s large fabric screenprint 1000 to 1 (pictured top) is one such work. Layers upon layers (1000 to be exact) of deep rich black ink cover the fabric, each layer representing each numbat that remains in the wild. The layers create a densely layered forest of numbats, which at first glance appears to speak more of abundance than a declining population. It is the individual creatures, however, highlighted in quieter moments on the fabric, that are a reminder that a population can be so easily be reduced to one. Poignantly, it is likely that more people will view this work during the Print Award than the number of numbats it depicts.
An unassuming receipt book displayed in a vitrine, Rachel Salmon-Lomas’s Time Horizon: Carbon Book (With Extra Carbon) caught me off guard. Each page of the carbon book “bears a year of her life as both a consumer and a human” by calculating her personal carbon emissions. Almost a self-portrait, the ledger offers a strangely clinical yet ultimately intimate insight into the artist’s life, living arrangements, relationships, diet and travel. Emissions range from “diet: vegetarian” to “one year of emails” and “phone calls to sick parent”. The work is a humble acknowledgement of the impact we have on the environment as individuals and, as Salmon-Lomas states, “a living document for an ever-expanding invoice from the earth”.
Normally known for her painting, Eunice Napanangka Jack’s layered and expressive mark making is evident in the brilliant deep blue intaglio and screen print Kuruyultu, which took out second prize. Other highlights include the four highly commended works by Mark Dustin, Clare Humphries, Nadia Kliendanze and Julie Mia Holmes, as well Sarah Rodigari’s chorus of diverse voices presented as a five part lithograph and Hiroshi Kobayashi’s Patagraph, a new technique invented by the artist.
Also on display at Fremantle Arts Centre is a survey of screen prints by senior WA artist Harry Hummerston from the City of Fremantle Collection. Created during the 1980s, Hummerston’s prints are richly coloured and full of visual hooks. These two exhibitions are complemented by “And repeat.”, an open studio occupied by a rotation of local printmakers, and “Lending Library”, a reading room of artists’ books created from discarded library stock by members of the community to celebrate the 70th birthday of The City of Fremantle Library.
The Fremantle Arts Centre is currently a printmaking feast that will delight both artists and print enthusiasts, as well as offering insight into this extraordinary varied medium and its relationship to art and communication.
Pictured top:Angela Ferolla (WA), ‘1000 to 1, 2019′, shapewell fabric and screenprinting ink, unique state print, 300 x 110cm.