Wairarapa artists Linda Tilyard, Jo Lysaght and Nick Brandon organised Aratoi’s Under Pressure exhibition, inviting local artists to submit work. The works were then chosen by independent selector Liz Bondy, awarding prizes for the most technical print, the most experimental, the best mood and people’s choice as voted by the public. The latter has yet to happen, as the museum is currently in lockdown, due to Covid-19.
The variety of original prints on display include etching, drypoint, relief print, lino- and woodcut, screen print, collagraph, and monoprint. Selected artists also contributed a process-print to create a collective exhibition piece.
Nick Brandon spoke at the opening event on 21 February,
“Print making is a very democratic art practice - materials are relatively inexpensive and good quality images can be made with simple tools and a hand burnisher. There is no need for an expensive press. However here in the Wairarapa we do have a high-quality etching press available for artists to use. It is located at the Masterton Art Club and can be used free of charge to MAC members and invitees. Thanks and acknowledgment to Creative Communities for their financial contribution to the purchase of this press. A good press will give an artist consistent results which is important when producing multiple editions.ʺ
The finished works are more affordable and while they may be one of a small number of similar images, each one is hand made by the artist. This is to be contrasted with a digital print or facsimile of an original painting.
With many different techniques for creating an image ranging from simple relief prints using found materials to traditional wood- and linocuts, very intricate etchings or drypoints, there are a wide range of print artists making work locally. While there is a lot of diversity in methods, one thing that all print artists have in common is an obsession with paper. Everyone will have their favourite manufacturer, weight, colour and texture. The archival properties of the paper are also important when making work for sale.
With 45 prints by 21 Wairarapa artists (plus one communal work on stage), Under Pressure is an opportunity for local artists to have their work validated and their contribution to Wairarapa’s artistic culture celebrated. The art works on display demonstrate individual artist’s personal explorations with printmaking. The sharing of ideas and the chance to examine each other’s art process, will hopefully encourage further inspiration and exploration into the art practice of any budding artist.
AWARDS: Most Technical Award: Linda Evangaline-Smith, In the Bush, screenprint Most Experimental Award: Jacqui Clarke, Mesquite, monoprint on clay Best Mood and Atmosphere: Linda Evangaline-Smith, Just After Sunset, monotype Highly Commended Award: Sandie Fletcher, I Hope You Brought the Ball, linocut People's Choice Award – yet to be announced!
EXHIBITING ARTISTS: Mary Blackmore, Nick Brandon, Stephanie Chilcott, Jacqui Clarke, Annie Doornebosch, Ethan Eade, Linda Evangaline-Smith, Sandie Fletcher, Laura Garland, Rosalie Jurczenko, Wendy Kempsell, Jo Lysaght, Rebecca Macfie, Sandi Maddox, Millie Ogg, Karena Patricia, Sam Te Tau, Linda Tilyard, Meg Waddington, Adam West-Watson, Kirsty White