Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Journey - Marie-Therese Wisniowski
Fine-Art Prints on Paper Exhibition

Opening Address – Dr Ellak I. von Nagy-Felsobuki
(Guest Editor)

My artwork has appeared in a number of exhibitions which have been featured on this blog spot. For your convenience I have listed these posts below.

ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions (Marie-Therese Wisniowski - Curator's Talk)
Sequestration of CO2 (Engaging New Visions) M-T. Wisniowski
Codes – Lost Voices (ArtCloth Installation) M-T. Wisniowski
Unleashed: The Rise of Australian Street Art (Art Exhibition) Various Artists
Merge and Flow (SDA Members Exhibition) M-T. Wisniowski
Another Brick (Post Graffiti ArtCloth Installation) M-T. Wisniowski
ArtCloth Swap & Exhibition
When Rainforests Ruled (Purple Noon Art & Sculpture Gallery) M-T. Wisniowski
When Rainforests Glowed (Eden Gardens Gallery) M-T. Wisniowski
My Southern Land (Galerie 't Haentje te Paart, Netherlands) M-T. Wisniowski
The Last Exhibition @ Galerie ’t Haentje the Paart
Mark Making on Urban Walls @ Palm House (Post Graffiti Art Work)
Fleeting - My ArtCloth Work Exhibited @ Art Systems Wickham Art Gallery
My Thirteen Year Contribution to the '9 x 5' Exhibition at the Walker Street Gallery & Arts Centre
Timelines: An Environmental Journey
Man-Made Fish Kills

The Journey
My name is Ellak von Nagy-Felsobuki and I am an Emeritus Professor at the University of Newcastle (Australia). I am opening Marie-Therese’s exhibition today at Megalo Print Studio & Gallery in Canberra (Australia) as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Art Quill & Co Pty Ltd. Its education division is Art Quill Studio, where Marie-Therese is its Director and the principal resident artist. The other Directors have charged me to speak today.

Peter Zanetti (Director, Megalo Print Studio & Gallery) and Ellak I. von Nagy-Felsobuki at the opening.

Over the years I have got to know Marie-Therese’s prints on paper and cloth. Today’s exhibition - “The Journey” - features a retrospective of her prints as well as current prints on paper that is illustrative of Marie-Therese Wisniowski’s socio-political footprint. I will highlight only some of the techniques and talk about some of the selected prints on paper that are exhibited here today.

Tam Calderwood, Marie-Therese Wisniowski and Gerlinde Calderwood at the opening.

Fellow printmaker - Rachel Burgess - has written in her article for “Imprint” magazine that Marie-Therese’s prints in terms of their socio-political content are reminiscent of works produced by the print collectives in the 1970s - such as Earthworks Poster Company and Redback Graphix. However, unlike prints produced by these latter companies, Marie-Therese has brought these subjects back into the fold of limited edition artworks.

Cry For the Wilderness and Made To Order Fine-Art Print series at the exhibition.

Marie-Therese wants to develop a dialogue with you - the viewer - and to do so she employs an iconic language, not unlike the Chinese pictograms and Egyptian hieroglyphs (see some of the artistic marks in the backgrounds of most of her prints). That is, she presents you with iconic crosswords, clues, hints - and your job is to do the unraveling. The unraveling brings forth a socio-political stance – maybe not your stance. However, in doing so she has sharpened your understanding of your own set of beliefs. Marie-Therese has therefore engaged you in a democratic process – an argument for some or re-affirmation for others.

Veiled Curtains, Cultural Graffiti V, and The Decades Fine-Art Print series at the exhibition.

She is not only an ArtCloth artist, but also a master printmaker. Take a look at the borders of the Federation On Hold - series in which she has developed a silkscreen technique she coined “multiplexing”. Successive overlays of different transparent inks and resists create a painterly quality. She has employed the same technique in Veiled Curtains and in Whose Church?”

Whose Church?

In “Cultural Graffiti V” she has developed another silkscreen technique called “matrix formatting”. Here a number of images have been spliced together to form a matrix. The base unit is overlaid by the components of the matrix. This gives the print an underlining symmetry, which projects a real sense of vibrancy.

Cultural Graffiti V (Fine-Art print on paper version).
See - Cultural Graffiti Series - for both ArtCloth and Prints On Paper Versions.

Marie-Therese often utilizes digital images of her ArtCloths in her fine-art prints on paper artworks. For example, she uses a deconstructed screen technique on cloth developed by Kerr Grabowski – called “deconstructed screenprinting” – in which thickened dyes are applied to the silkscreen, dried, and printed off with print paste creating disintegrating organic effects as the dye is being dissolved. The images are printed on the cloth, then digitally photographed and so form part of a background in her paper print artworks. This merging of cloth techniques on her paper prints can be seen in the “Wish You Were Where?” series and in many of the background images in the artist printmaker’s book – Not In My Name

Wish You Were Where? Environmental Refugees I.

Now what about the content of her work? In the collagraph prints - Cry for the Wilderness - she investigates the disconnection of wilderness areas and portrays them as isolated pockets managed poorly by humanity. Her concern for the environment is played again and again in such series as - “Wish You Were Where?” - which is a deconstructed work, where she explores the ramifications in human costs of global warming.

Cry for the Wilderness.

As a scientist I am very comfortable with genetically modified food, but it is clear that Marie-Therese is not. She engages you in a dialogue in which you must sharpen your argument if you are to be believed. For example, in “Made to Order III” she puzzles about the insertion of a gene in the tomato DNA that will sweeten the tomato (without any need for labeling) due to our pre-disposition for sweeter food. Is one component in the rise in Stage II diabetes, she poses, due to the increased consumption of sugar from a variety of sources including from un-natural sweetened tomatoes? She raises the argument by claiming that not all consequences or outcomes of genetically modified foods may be knowable (editor: re analog version - the introduction of the cane toad in Australia to handle one pest just created another - the cane toad - that adapted unpredictably too well on the Australian continent and so cause mass destruction of many native species. A scientific case of "Oops - we got it wrong!")

Made To Order III.

In Federation on Hold Marie-Therese has mapped the four main issues of 2001 (celebrating 100 years of the Australian Federation) back to Australian Prime Ministers of the past and present and these were: Reconciliation (Barton), Poverty (Scullin), The Republic (Menzies) and Refugees (Howard). She questions whether in the first 100 years of the Australian Federation anything of significance has really been accomplished in these four critical socio-political areas.

Federation On Hold - Call Waiting: Press 3 - The Republic (Prime Minister Menzies).

In Veiled Curtains she employs a clever omission. Every orchestra conductor will tell you that the great composers know all about musical notes, but they also know where to place silences. Here Marie-Therese has confronted us with three notes and one silence. The three notes are of course women leaders: (i) in a Muslim society (Bhuto); (ii) in a Hindu society (Ghandi); (iii) in a Buddhist society (Aung San Suu Kyi). The silence is the lack of a Christian woman leader. When she created these prints Maggie Thatcher was well known to her. The lack of a woman leader from a Christian society informs us by its omission that the West does not have a mortgage in propelling women into the leadership group of their society.

Veiled Curtains: Aung San Suu Kyi.

Her unframed prints – “The Decades” - shows how she feels political events have unfolded over the past fifty or so years. It is clear that they were dominated by the baby boomers. It was the baby boomers that in the 1960s used their music to express and then foster their political and individual dissent upon governments. It was the baby boomers in the 1970s that developed a social consciousness and wanted wealth to be more evenly spread (John Travolta played a poor kid making good in ‘Grease’ and ‘Saturday Night Fever’). By the 1980s and 1990s, it was the baby boomers that introduced democracies to closed societies in order to open them up. For example, dictatorships in Argentina, Chile, Brazil and El Salvador all but vanished. There was 50 or so years of accepted defiance. And then there was 9/11, after which defiance became too deadly an affair for baby boomers to accept. It is the baby boomers that are now demanding compliance.

The Decades: The 90s - Defiance.

I have not the time to reach out and talk about all of her prints exhibited here - no one should stand for too long between you and your wine! Nevertheless, I want to refer now to her artist printmaker’s book entitled “Not in My Name”. This project shows Marie-Therese’s compassion as a human being. It is a book about her opposition to the war in Iraq, but that would just be a superficial take on it. It is a book against all wars and so it focuses on the victims of war. She wrote her opposition in verse and did her prints in a digital format (relying on her digitized ArtCloth prints to fill the background of some of those images). You might not agree with her stance, but that's okay, for we do live in a democracy.

There is one poem and print called “Her Death”, which is exhibited here today.  It could have been a Jewish woman and her child, a Hindu woman and her child, a Buddhist woman and her child, a Christian woman and her child, but it happens to be a converted Muslim woman and her child. Each time this book has been exhibited, this one print has been defaced. I guess the ending of the poem and the angelic face of the unknown victim was too much for some to bear. The last line of the poem - Her Death - reads:

“Bodies hurled, her senses furled, within one scream was her death”.

Let us hope that this print will not be defaced in Canberra (Australia).

Her Death. Not In My Name

Marie-Therese is more than happy to talk to anyone here about her techniques and her work. Please make good on her offer.

Finally, let me thank on behalf of Art Quill Studio and its parent company Art Quill & Co Pty Ltd, Megalo Print Studio & Gallery and in particular, Peter Zanetti, Anita Reynolds, Emma Rees and Cecile Galiazzo for helping Marie-Therese in supporting her studio work at Megalo and in assisting her to present this exhibition here in Canberra (Australia).

Dr. Ellak I. von Nagy-Felsobuki

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Transformation. An Exhibition of Contemporary Textiles
Curator: Helen Lancaster

Reviewer: Marie-Therese Wisniowski

The ArtCloth diptych - "Flames Unfurling...Life Returning" - was exhibited at the "Transformation: An Exhibition of Contemporary Textile" (see below) as well as in several other exhibitions. For you convenience I have given a link to the post below:
Flames Unfurling...Life Returning

Deborah Segaert, the editor of one of Australia’s exciting new magazines for fibers, yarns and textiles, “Down Under Textiles” magazine invited me to write a feature article for the Gallery section of the magazine.

The article, “Melding Landscapes”, has been published in the June 2011, No. 5 Issue of Down Under Textiles. It discusses my background, my textile art practice and philosophical approaches, plus the history of and technical information about my signature MultiSperse Dye Sublimation (MSDS) technique employing disperse dyes that is the basis of the diptych.

The magazine is available from specialist outlets and is also available via subscription. There are of course a lot of other interesting articles and artists included in the issue.

You can also see more images of Marie-Therese’s MSDS ArtCloth works and those of her students by typing - MSDS Disperse Dyes - in the "Search" panel on this blogspot.

The following is a synopsis of the other invited artists and their artworks, which featured in the “Transformation” exhibition.

Transformation. An Exhibition of Contemporary Textiles
"Transformation. An Exhibition of Contemporary Textiles" was curated by Helen Lancaster and exhibited at the Fairfield City Museum and Gallery, Sydney between the 20th May - 3rd July 2011. Helen invited over thirty contemporary textile artists from all over Australia to interpret another challenging theme, “Transformation”.

A conceptual environmentalist and an articulate and passionate artist, Helen reminisced about recent transformations that have occurred in her catalogue address:
“Natural disasters, monetary problems, return of diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, refugees fleeing so many dictatorships, and of course climate change, seem just a few of the things affecting the world with gloom.

A Royal Wedding with all its traditional pageantry has presented us with a fairy tale. Wonderful new discoveries such as restoring sight, one day hip replacement with key-hole surgery, exploration of the oceans (with literally millions of creatures never seen before) etc. will help to restore the balance.”

With such wide-ranging topics, interpretations of the theme varied widely both conceptually and in the media chosen. As a result, the exhibition showcased the strength of the contemporary textile art movement in Australia. Employing a plethora of techniques such as knitting, felting, paper, plant or chemical dyes, hand and machine stitching, embellishing, etching, woodcuts, recycled materials, printing, gluing, painting, wrapping and manipulation, the artists pushed their individual interpretations into exciting, contemplative and thought provoking works. The exhibition included a variety of art forms including installation, sculpture and two-dimensional works.

The images below feature one selected work from each of the artists’ in the exhibition catalogue. The catalogue includes a preface by Jan Birmingham who gave the opening address, Curators address, images of the works, artists’ statements, size, techniques and materials of each work respectively.

The “Transformation” Exhibition Images

Transformation exhibition curator Helen Lancaster with her piece, The Wedding Cake, at the opening.

General view of the exhibition.

General view of the exhibition.

General view of the exhibition.

General view of the exhibition.

Margaret Barnett, Simply Transformed.
Three meters silk satin, orinui shibori, dye.

Margaret Barnett, Simply Transformed. Detail View.

June Bennett, Pegasus.
Carved wood, machine applique, felt, recycled doilies, knitted and crocheted pieces glued, dyed with tea and coffee. Mounted on granite plinth.

June Bennett, Pegasus. Detail View.

Judy Buist, New Galaxies: Supermassive Black Holes & Quasars.
Knitted garment sleeve, wool, fiber board, canvas, paint, tulle, fabrics, glass beads, knitted and stitched.

Judy Buist, New Galaxies: Supermassive Black Holes & Quasars. Detail View.

Carolyn Cabena, Time and Tide.
Plant dyed recycled fabrics, hand stitched.

Carolyn Cabena, Time and Tide Detail View.

Lyn Castle, Window on Kakadu.
Plain and printed cotton, silk, thread, embroidery threads, oil sticks, fabric paint, silk ribbon, gloss varnish, wadding. Fabric collage, hand painting, machine and hand stitching, scissor sculpting, hand embroidery, silk ribbon work, padding and moulding.

Lyn Castle, Window on Kakadu. Detail View.

Christine Cox, Hidden Treasures.
Wire and metal, paper pulp, recycled fabric strips and cord.

Christine Cox, Hidden Treasures. Detail View.

Charlotte Drake-Brockman, Good and Bad Taste.
Recycled 1930’s elbow length glove cardboard box, crazy quilt from waste materials courtesy Pauline and Grant, tissue paper, PVA, ribbons, bling, glitter, sequins, artificial flowers.

Anne Foy, Force of Nature.
Wet felting, needle felting, inkjet printing on cotton. Merino wool and silk fibers, cotton stitching, industrial felt backing.

Anne Foy, Force of Nature. Detail View.

Lois George, Going Going Green.
Base cape - fine woven wool twill. Layered fabrics, chiffons, satins, cotton voiles, lace, acrylic and polyester materials. Crocheted trees in wool and acrylic, sequins, beads, cording, hand stitching.

Lois George, Going Going Green. Detail View.

Diane Groenewegen, Fragile Forest.
Raw silk and black organza. Screen-printed and foiled.

Diane Groenewegen, Fragile Forest Detail View.

Jennifer Hawkins, We Used to Live in Trees.
Fiber optic stalks, feathers, Perspex.

Jennifer Hawkins, We Used to Live in Trees. Detail View.

Helen Lancaster, The Wedding Cake.
Machine embroidery, fabric manipulation, embellishment. A variety of materials have been combined on a box structure.

Helen Lancaster, The Wedding Cake. Detail View.

Maureen Locke-Maclean, Transition No.3.
In Japan Polygonum tinctorium is an annual or biennial herbaceous plant known as “dyer knotweed”, Chinese or Japanese indigo belonging to the large family of Polygonaceae. Indigo is a vat dye.

Maureen Locke-Maclean, Transition No.3. Detail View.

Elizabeth Low, Of the Seasons.
Thick and thin embroidery threads, wool. Wrapping on cardboard, knitting, embroidery.

Elizabeth Low, Of the Seasons. Detail View.

Karen Macpherson, Techno Sapiens.
Plastic discards which include perming curlers, toothbrush ends, cable ties, safety pins and round stalks.

Karen Macpherson, Techno Sapiens. Detail View.

Helen McGavin Smith, Caged and Endangered.
The organically friendly ensemble is hand dyed, knitted, crotched and fuelled from wool, mohair and mercerized cotton.

Helen McGavin Smith, Caged and Endangered. Detail View.

Irene Manion, Death and transfiguration.
Digitally developed image based on photographs and watercolors of the lorikeet. Dye sublimation print onto polyester fabric. Hand and machine embroidered using rayon threads.

Irene Manion, Death and transfiguration. Detail View.

Shirley McKernan, Rouge.
One ply pure wool yarn and One ply silk/stainless steel yarn. Hand knitting and felting.

Shirley McKernan, Rouge. Detail View.

Gloria Muddle, Coastal Sea Glass.
Frosted glass mounted onto foam core board, painted and sealed with acylic sealer. Background painted with acrylic paint onto cotton, free machined with some hand sewing.

Gloria Muddle, Coastal Sea Glass. Detail View.

Caroll Pichelmann, River to Range.
Padded layers of hand dyed silk organdy. Black velvet shadows, 98% running stich combined with French knots, fly stitch and other embroidery. Hand writing and newsprint sealed and mounted on fabric border.

Caroll Pichelmann, River to Range. Detail View.

Judith Pinnell, Beyond the Surface.
Silk “paper” substrate – dyed pure silk fibers manually formed into “fabric” similar to paper and felt. Overlaid organza strips, free machine stitching using various weights and colors of threads adds color changes.

Judith Pinnell, Beyond the Surface. Detail View.

Lesley Rippon, The Eye has it.
Cotton sponged with darker blue acrylic, painted vleisofix background. Salmon material satin stiched. Yellow material layered with painted material and satin stitched and adhered together. Thick and thin wool sewn on by hand representing the nerves in the eye. Sewn braid representing computer printouts on salmon area. Rickrack braid used for the circles on the printout and hand sewn onto background. Beaded salmon rectangles sewn onto background to represent the drops I will always have to put in my eyes. Project hand sewn onto a round frame to represent the eye.

Lesley Rippon, The Eye has it. Detail View.

Chris Rose, The Lililn Quilt.
Black silk, organza Japanese vintage materials. Layering of dyed, stitched and collaged silk, metal thread and shim.

Chris Rose, The Lililn Quilt. Detail View.

Elizabeth Roberts, Shasta.
Silk fabric thread and silk tops. Needle-turned rouleau, fabric manipulation.

Elizabeth Roberts, Shasta.  Detail View.

Barbara Rogers, Multistripe 2011.
Silk organza, silk charmeuse. Shibori resist dye techniques. De-colored, azoic dyes.

Barbara Rogers, Multistripe 2011 Detail View.

Barbara Schey, Remembering Pike River Mine.
Lame. Miura shibori.

Barbara Schey, Remembering Pike River Mine. Detail View.

Carolyn Sullivan, Seven Views 2.
Hand embroidered over hand dyed fabrics.

Carolyn Sullivan, Seven Views 2. Detail View.

Kirry Toose, Infinite Solace.
Metallic silk/synthetic, assorted silks and synthetic fabrics. Polyester tubing, memory wire. Piping and rouleaux, handmade roses, machine digitising.

Kirry Toose, Infinite Solace. Detail View.

Wendy Wright, Then Came the Rain.
Panel 1 - Before the Rain
Panel 2 - During the Rain
Panel 3 - Desert Transformations
Silk. Dying, painting, machine and hand embroidery.

Wendy Wright, Then Came the Rain. Detail View Panel 3 - Desert Transformations.