Saturday, March 16, 2013

Printmaking - An Ever Expanding Artistic Universe
ArtCloth: MSDS Technique in IMPRINT

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

This blogspot is not only devoted to ArtCloth and all things fabric (e.g. wearables) but also to limited edition prints on paper and artists' printmakers books. I have listed below for your convenience my contribution to this artistic genre.

Made to Order
Unique State (Partners in Print)
Wangi's Djiran:"Unique State" Prints
Veiled Curtains
A Letter to a Friend
Beyond the Fear of Freedom
Travelling Solander Project
Star Series
Cry for the Wilderness
Federation on Hold - Call Waiting
Wish You Were Where?
The Four Seasons

This post is about a printmakers' journal called "IMPRINT" and my article in the March / Autumn issue of the journal.

IMPRINT is the Australian voice of printmakers. The journal generally features: reviews, reports on national and international conferences/museums etc., articles on residencies as well as articles on the work of various printmakers. The main focus of the March / Autumn issue centers on "New Technologies And Alternative Media". The article written by the journal editor, Sue Forster, gives the body of this issue its definitive direction, namely - that printmaking is a continually expanding field.

March / Autumn Issue: IMPRINT Vol. 48 No. 1, 2013.
Cover image by Eleanor Gates-Stuart.
MAGICal B, 2012.
Cover: Eleanor Gates-Stuart is a CSIRO Science Art Fellow. MAGICal B was created for StellrScope: the Centenary of Canberra’s Science Art Commission — The image is a reference to CSIRO Multi-parent Advanced Generation Inter-Cross (MAGIC) research into the identification of genes in the parenting of plants.
Technique and Size: Inkjet on paper, 90 x 60 cm.
Courtesy of IMPRINT.

Printmaking has from its inception been a democratic process due to the following.
(i) Its versatility - from commercial to graphic art to fine art traditions.
(ii) Its acceptance as an art form - from the 1960s to the present, the output of the printing making process is judged on its artistic merit alone.
(iii) Its low cost - printmaking generates art that is readily accessible, marketable, collectable and affordable.
(iv) Its ease of use - printmaking offers to most a comparatively short journey from novice to mastery.
(v) Its learning traditions - printmaking offers formal and informal learning structures that are readily available to the public at large.
(vi) Its community - more expensive equipment items are accessible to members of printmakers' co-operatives/collectives or via public access to tertiary institutions.
(vii) Its audience reach - from mass produced political posters to commercial art advertising to street art to limited edition prints, its audience reach is not restricted by the design of the process.
(viii) Its venues of exposure - community co-operatives/collectives encourage both group and individual work as well as group or individual exhibitions. Moreover, they act as warehouses for the exchange of ideas and techniques.
(ix) Its adaptability - from digital to cloth to all kinds of different media such as porcelain, printmakers have transferred and transformed their art using traditional and non-traditional media with ease.
(x) Its societal framework and network - printmakers very early in the historical development of their artistic process organized themselves into societies in order to give voice to their art and to promote the future development of printmaking. These societies produce journals and web sites to disseminate information and moreover, offer informed opinion. They also offer an informal international network.

It is no wonder that printmaking has expanded into so many artistic voids. The March / Autumn issue of IMPRINT traces some of the most recent expansion areas in the printmaking evolution. The March / Autumn issue and back issues of IMPRINT can be purchased from the "PCA: IMPRINT".

A Brief Vignette History of the Print Council of Australia
The "Print Council of Australia (PCA)" was formed in 1966 by a group of artist printmakers from the Working Men’s College - a forerunner to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

RMIT's Coat of Arms

In 1881 Francis Ormond offered £5,000 pounds towards the establishment of a Working Men's College if the general public was prepared to contribute a like sum. With the help of the Melbourne Trades Hall Council, which levied its member unions, the money was raised and the college opened its doors in June of 1887. In 1934 it changed its name to the Melbourne Technical College and in 1954 it became the first Australian tertiary education provider to be awarded royal patronage by Elizabeth II. It officially change its name in 1960 to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)

Portrait of Francis Ormond.

The history of the Print Council of Australia has been lucidly documented by Professor Diana Davis.

Banner of PCA.

Briefly, in 1951 Harold Freedman a Senior Lecturer in Art at the Working Men’s College, called a meeting of practising artists’ and presented the argument that the graphic arts was in an embryonic stage in Australian art scene and so artists would “… benefit immensely by learning this type of art”.

Construction of Front Section of the Working Men's College.

As a result, a number of notable Australian artists - such as Leonard French – formed a printmaker group in order to acquire skills and techniques to use the equipment in the Print Room at the Working Men’s College. The group became - ”The Melbourne Graphic Artists” - a loose group created for the purpose of holding exhibitions such as in 1954, 55, 56 and subsequent years.

The National Gallery of Victoria's Great Hall, created by Leonard French.

Over the years a number of similar groups emerged in Melbourne and it was these groups that provided the basis from which the Print Council of Australia was to emerge. In 1965 a preliminary meeting was chaired by Dr Ursula Hoff and attended by Janet Dawson, Udo Sellbach, R Haughton James, Franz Phillipp, Fred Williams, Tate Adams, Jan Senbergs, Noel Counihan, Fred Everill, John Reed, and Grahame King. At that meeting Grahame King was asked to act as Interim Secretary. Ultimately this led to the formal launch of the Print Council in 1966. King’s vision and strength led to the establishment of a properly constituted society run by an elected council.

Currently the Print Council of Australia is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to Australian printmaking. It provides a number of services to the Australian community, some of which include:
* Support and advocacy for Australian contemporary artists and in particular emerging artists;
* Organization and management of a print subscription program with prints available for purchase by mail order;
* Opportunities for artists and information on awards, scholarships and residencies;
* The conservation of the history of Australian contemporary printmaking via its print archive, which includes all the prints commissioned by the Print Council since it was established in 1966 (currently totals over 300 prints).
* IMPRINT magazine with an estimated readership of 3500 per issue;
* Membership services to over 1350 subscribers including schools, libraries, public art museums, art galleries, tertiary institutes as well as individual artists and print enthusiasts locally and internationally.

The PCA's print archive is now in the State Library of Victoria collection. It also commissions prints for sale to the public at large.

A Brief Vignette History of IMPRINT
The history of its journal – IMPRINT – has also been well documented by Sue Forster.

PCA Imprint Banner.

Sue Forster divided the history of the journal into five periods.

1966-1973: Its early history saw it emerge as a newsletter of the provisional committee of the PCA. Under the editorship of Udo Sellbach it mainly concentrated on teaching members about different print techniques. It retained the same format (i.e. single double-sided A4 sheet that was folded in the middle to make four black and white pages) for nearly eight years.

IMPRINT Vol. 1 No. 1, 1966.
Cover image: The Printing Press, 1520.
(Press Mark of Badius Ascensius).
Woodcut after Albrecht Dürer.
Courtesy of IMPRINT.

1974-1981: In 1974 IMPRINT underwent its first radical change when the second issue was redesigned as “…an eight-page A4 journal on heavier paper stock and given a new cover banner”. Articles began to center on the profiles of individual Australian artists. In 1981, IMPRINT had financial support from the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council and PCA membership had more than doubled from 380 in 1975 to 876 in 1981. From 1980 to 1981 IMPRINT was edited variously by Alison Frazer, Suzanne Davies, Elizabeth Cross and Roger Butler.

IMPRINT Vol. 16 No. 4, 1981.
Cover image by George Baldessin.
Untitled Figure, 1973.
Etching, edition of 5.
21. 5 x 16.5 cm.
Courtesy of IMPRINT.

1982-1990: In the early 1980s, the font on IMPRINT’s banner changed several times, finally adopting in 1984 a handwritten appearance. Under the leadership of Roger Butler, the PCA and IMPRINT attracted state and federal grants, as well as private donations. From 1986 IMPRINT editors - Maggie Mackie and Roger Butler - set an innovative approach that would be its hallmark for decades to come. For example, in 1986 it had its first color cover that moreover, illustrated an Aboriginal print, heralding the first of its many thematic issues. The magazine’s size was 28 pages in length. In 1986, IMPRINT carried Lilian Wood’s obituary for Noel Counihan, a founder of the PCA.

IMPRINT Vol. 21 Nos. 3-4, 1986.
Cover image by Johnny Bulun Bulun.
Goonoomoo, 1983.
Lithograph, 56 x 37.8 cm.
Collection: National Gallery of Australia.
Courtesy of IMPRINT.

1990-1992: The early 1990s saw doubts expressed about the PCA's viability. To strengthen its national profile, the PCA adopted a policy of appointing different guest editors for each issue, which continued until the end of 1993. Whilst the early issues lacked continuity, this policy nevertheless resulted in a stronger focus on national news and issues.

IMPRINT Vol. 25 No. 2, 1990.
Cover image by Mike Parr.
Optic Iland,1990.
Drypoint, 108 x 78 cm.
Printer: John Loane.
Courtesy of IMPRINT.

1993-2003: In 1993 PCA Executive Director Di Waite was given the role of Managing Editor. The magazine’s format stabilized and it has changed only marginally in style over the last decade. By 1997 the magazine made an important transition into the digital era. 1n 1999 a new banner was introduced in order to reflect the PCA’s decision to include all art on paper: artists’ books, digital art and paper art as well as printmaking.

IMPRINT Vol. 32 No. 3, 1997.
Cover image by Jan Davis.
Fan 3 from the Principles of Chi, 1996.
Iris print, 8.5 x 17 cm.
Photographer: Chris Meager.
Courtesy of IMPRINT.

2003 - In 2003 Sue Forster became editor of IMPRINT. She has given the journal a more lively engagement between its artistic content, the ever expanding field of printmaking, historical and contemporary printmakers and its readership.

I have asked Sue to give a statement about her team and the contemporary direction of the journal. I want to thank her for taking time out from her busy schedule in order to write this.

"Given how much we take commercial digital printing for granted now, it seems remarkable that my appointment as editor of IMPRINT, only 10 years ago, was back in the labour-intensive dark ages of analogue. Within three years, as our printer shifted completely to digital, the whole production process was streamlined, resulting in cost savings and increased colour printing and magazine size. The Print Council's membership has since grown by nearly one third; we also retail IMPRINT in a small number of gallery and printmaking shops.

As IMPRINT editor, I work as part of a team. The Print Council’s committee officially determines editorial policy and a small steering committee meets occasionally to discuss forthcoming themes. Former IMPRINT editor Marian Crawford has been an important long-term contributor to this process. Georgia Thorpe, IMPRINT’s Advertising Manager, ensures that we raise sufficient advertising revenue to cover costs and Kerry Aker (Desktop Publishing) is responsible for design.

During my time as editor I have tried to increase the range and scope of articles and news items in IMPRINT, taking the view that the Print Council's members and networks are its lifeblood and that everyone has a story to offer. As well as our themed articles, we publish artist profiles, exhibition and book reviews, technical articles, studio news, articles about print and artists’ book collections, as well as occasional historical articles. When there is insufficient space to run a feature article, IMPRINT’s news and calendar sections are always available for short news and calendar items, and sometimes an image as well."

If you would like to share information about a print project or exhibition that you are working on, please contact Sue Forster via email ( Sue's Email ) or phone (+61 3 9416 0150 or in Australia 0394160150).

My Contribution To The March Issue of IMPRINT
My article centers on the description of the MutliSperse Dye Sublimation (MSDS) technique as well as illustrating the process. It also gives a glimpse of what can be achieved using the technique. Although IMPRINT do allow artists/writers to post their articles to their own blogs/websites if they request, the policy of this blogsite is to defer such opportunities since the March / Autumn issue of IMPRINT should be viewed holistically in order to appreciate its full impact. Nevertheless, there are numerous posts on this blogspot about the MSDS technique, some of which I have listed below for your convenience.

My MSDS Demonstration@Zijdelings
When Rainforests Ruled
Wangi’s Djirang
Merge and Flow
Flames Unfurling
Selected Disperse Dye ArtCloths

If you want to purchase this issue of the journal, it is available on-line at: "Back issues of the journal". Alternatively, you may wish to join the PCA and so receive copies of IMPRINT via your subscription membership. Either way, the journal is an enjoyable read.

No comments: