DETAIL : [Detail] Tim MAGUIRE, Hollyhocks 1991 [Detail], lithograph, Australian Print Workshop Archive 2, purchased with the assistance of the Gordon Darling Australasian Print Fund 2002, � National Gallery of Australia
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Education Resource

Notes for Secondary students and teachers

Introduction

The nine works featured below touch on the following key themes of place made: Australian Print Workshop:

It is important to consider that these themes are not restricted to the selected works. Largely descriptive and interpretive, the brief texts that accompany the works can be seen as reference points for exploring the ideas within the whole exhibition. The ‘Research’ and ‘Making’ tasks for each work are a further guide towards deepening students’ understandings of these themes.

Information regarding techniques employed in these works can be found at the following site: coskunfineart.com

image: Ruth Johnstone Cypress II 1986�
 click to enlarge

Ruth Johnstone
Cypress II 1986 

Printed in rich tones ranging from the palest of greys to a deep, velvety black, these images have the power to stir the imagination and activate the subconscious. Johnstone’s earth-bound trees emerge like dark flames leaping high into the air. Their twisting forms dominate each print, appearing like large burns or stains against the turbulent skies. In these images the forces of nature can be seen as symbols of an uneasy emotional state. These are not pleasant pictures of a park in bright sunshine. Johnstone’s trees and their settings suggest a troubling sense of unrest. They are apocalyptic and foreboding, as if a storm is brewing in silence, getting ready to erupt.
Research
Compare Ruth Johnstone’s Cypress II with the cypress trees painted and drawn by 19th-century artist Vincent Van Gogh. What are the similarities? What are the differences?
Making
Draw a tree from observation using charcoal or conté. Look closely, not just at the tree, but at its shadows. Remember the impact of your artistic choices. Make sure that you consider the relationship between the size of your paper and the size of the tree. Consider the pressure of the charcoal or conté on the page. Consider the difference in effect between shading and line work.

image: Robert Dickerson 'Migrants in Fitzroy' 1990
 click to enlarge

Robert Dickerson
Neil Leveson, printer
Migrants in Fitzroy 1990 

Although this lithograph was printed in 1990 the image recalls the 1950s, when many migrants settled in Australia. The inner Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy in particular attracted migrants from all over Europe. Leaving their families and friends, and arriving with very few belongings, these migrants arrived in Australia hoping to create a new life for themselves. Dickerson’s post World War II migrants appear remote and austere. Their mask-like faces are composed of sharp angles and heavy shadowing. While the male figure seems somewhat hardened, the female appears sad. Her hand touches her face almost as if to wipe a tear away. Although their dress can be associated with the 1950s, visually there are no clues to locate these migrants to any specific landmark. The figures blend into the blurry background.
Research
How would your lifestyle be different if you lived in the 1950s?
Making
Use black paper to cut out upper body parts: head, arms, forearms, hands and torso. Assemble these shapes on white paper to form an upper body and then trace around these shapes. Change the angles of the shapes (for example, tilt the head and lift the arms) and then trace around these shapes. Continue to change the gesture of the figure to create a series of moods and emotions.

image: Tim Maguire 'Hollyhocks' 1991
 click to enlarge

Tim Maguire
Neil Leveson, printer
Martin King, printer’s assistant
Dean Bowen, printer’s assistant
Hollyhocks 1991

Tim Maguire is known for his large-scale representations of fragments of images from European still-life paintings of the 17th century. Hollyhocks is more about the idea of depicting nature than it is about nature itself. By concentrating on a small section of a larger picture, Maguire draws attention to the process of layering colour to depict the play of light on the surface of the petals. Maguire uses this process to create a sense of depth. The hollyhocks in this lithograph emerge from a dark and shadowy background. Maguire’s colour range is rich. Comprising soft rosy pinks, buttery yellows, golden oranges, creamy whites and rich browns, Maguire’s palette captures the subtlety of the historical oil paintings used as source material for this image.
Research
Look at 17th century Dutch still-life painting. These paintings are still incredibly popular. Why do you think this is so?
Making
Practice layering colour using coloured pencils or chalk pastels. First sort your pencils into tonal groups. For example, put all of the pinks, reds and oranges together. Then try layering a light shade of orange over a light shade of red. What happens? Try layering a light shade of pink over your orange/red shading. What happens? Make as many combinations of layered colour as you can.

image: Dale Hickey 'Yellow square' 1993
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Dale Hickey
Kim Westcott, printer
Yellow square, 1993 

In the 1960s Hickey was known for his minimalist, geometric abstract paintings. In later works, such as this lithograph, Hickey makes references to his past. Yellow square appears both as an abstract composition and an interior still-life scene. It can be seen as a yellow square bordered by black and speckled yellow/ white. It can also be understood as a yellow, square canvas resting on a black floor and leaning against the yellow/white wall. Hickey has simplified an interior (possibly his studio), reducing it to three coloured shapes. The crisp edges of his works from the 1960s are absent. Replacing this sharpness with a hand-made softness, Hickey highlights the place of the artist in his process of making art.
Research
Find out about minimalism and colour field painting. What do these terms mean? When did artists start making this type of art? Find out about an exhibition in Melbourne in the 1960s called The field.
Making
Organise single coloured plastic objects to make a grouping that is both a still life and an arrangement of colour and shape.

image: William Robinson Creation landscape � Man and the Spheres I�III 1991image: William Robinson Creation landscape � Man and the Spheres I�III 1991image: William Robinson Creation landscape � Man and the Spheres I�III 1991
 click each image to enlarge

William Robinson
Neil Leveson, printer
Kim Westcott, printer's assistant
Creation landscape – Man and the Spheres I–III 1991

Between 1988 and 1997 William Robinson concentrated on the Biblical theme of Creation, as outlined in the book of Genesis. The lush growth, mature tree trunks, soft sprouting tree ferns and delicate mosses depicted in this series of lithographs, Creation landscape – Man and the Spheres, celebrates the environment. Robinson’s Creation landscapes are devoid of fauna. The land and its vegetation suggest a time long before creatures inhabited the earth. We see the forest by moonlight and the starry sky adds a mystical quality to this place; a stream of water flows through the landscape as if to nourish the earth. Robinson includes many focal points. There are multiple viewpoints and landforms, and plants sprout in all sorts of directions. The viewer is invited to look in, out, across, up and down all at the same time.
Research
Read the first part of the book of Genesis from the Bible, which describes the world being created. Is there a connection between the Bible text and these prints?
Making
Draw or paint two landscape paintings of the same place. In the first one imagine that you are a bird perched high in a tree looking down and illustrate this view. In the second, imagine that you are a snake looking up from the forest floor and illustrate this view.

image Judy Watson 'Pool' 1998
 click to enlarge

Judy Watson
Martin King, printer
Pool 1998 

Judy Watson has an interest in historical objects made by her people that have found their way into museum collections. Such objects were and are still considered significant to and powerful for her people. Many of these objects were given to museums by early European explorers. In her prints Watson does not replicate these objects exactly in a scientific manner. The three wedge-shaped forms on the left of the print are derived from a sheath for a stone knife. The objects are obscured, not only through their lack of detail, but also by a shift in context. We see these objects not as clinical artefacts, but within washes of colour and mystical spirals. In this more abstract context they have stronger links with memory and personal history than with museums and artefacts.
Research
Make a comparison between seeing Aboriginal art objects in a science museum and seeing them in an art gallery. What are the differences? What are the similarities? Do you think our understanding of an art object depends on where we see that object? Explain why or why not.
Making
Make a series of four drawings of the same object. The first should be the most detailed. In each of the following drawings, reduce the amount of detail so that you progress from a highly descriptive drawing of the object to an obscured image of the object.

image: John Wolseley 'There is no desert but was once a name � Jabes' 1997
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John Wolseley
Martin King, printer
There is no desert but was once a name – Jabes 1997 

In this series of prints John Wolseley shares the experiences of one of his trips into the Australian desert. Wolseley’s landscapes encourage the viewer to participate in his journey across an arid terrain that teams with life. References to flora and fauna are scattered like notes in a journal across his images. The intricate details of Wolseley’s imagery emerge and recede as the viewer’s eyes scan over the landscape. His works are like maps made from an intense investigation and exploration. Unlike conventional maps, these works also examine time and space. Wolseley is an observer and a traveller, and his prints can be seen as the documentation of his experiences in which he records nature and his response to it.
Research
InThere is no desert but was once a name – Jabes Wolseley has created a type of visual diary. Imagine you are the artist travelling through this landscape. Using the details in the print, write a short diary entry about your journey.
Making
Make a picture that depicts a journey you have made. It might be from your home to your school, or perhaps a bushwalk you have taken. Include signs of life, weather and landscape features that are significant to you.