Saturday, August 12, 2017


Dashing around central Melbourne in between Melbourne International Film Festival venues, I happened upon this poster (x2) for SELF-MADE: ZINES AND ARTIST BOOKS, a free exhibition at the State Library of Victoria. It opened yesterday, 11 August, and runs until 12 November. Two Moth Woman Press zines, Tattooed Faces and Moth Woman Vigilantes, are part of the show, which was curated by Monica Syrette. I haven't had a chance to see it yet because of back-to-back MIFF movies (I'm seeing 55 films over 16 days - I just did a count) but look forward to dropping by next week on a day of less solidly booked screenings. 

A link to the exhibition and related events is HERE.


Earlier this week, on Tuesday, August 8, the ten Print Council of Australia PCA Print Commission prints were launched at Collins Place Gallery, Melbourne. My archival pigment print, Pressed for Time, an edition of 30 (pictured above) was one of them.

Among the many visitors on the night was author Lucy Sussex (next to me, above right). Over the years, my work has graced the front cover of three of her books. Lucy has just been awarded a State Library of Victoria Fellowship, so there was much to celebrate.

Also present (above, right) was Sue Westwood, Business Manager of the Melbourne Athenaeum Library, which later this year will host an entirely different, if somewhat belated launch, that of my artist book Leaves of Absence. (Further details, including why I deliberately chose to delay the launch, will be the subject of a future post). Sue's sister, Diane Masters, is another of this year's print commission artists. 

To view all of this year's PCA Print Commission works, go HERE. 

For more snapshots of Tuesday evening's launch, visit my art blog HERE.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

LEAVES OF ABSENCE at the Art Gallery of Ballarat

Last Saturday, July 29, the second leg of From the bower - patterns of collecting, featuring specially chosen objects and artworks from the 'bowers' of Loris Button, Louise Saxton, Carole Wilson and myself, opened at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

Extra wall space, combined with an elegant exhibition design by the AGB's Brenda Wellman, has enabled the inclusion of a number of additional artworks and collection objects. Despite the initial impression of familiarity that may be experienced by those who saw From the bower at its previous venue, Warrnambool Art Gallery, in many ways it's a very different show.

For example, this time around, Leaves of Absence, 2017, my unbound artist book, is displayed in a stand-alone cabinet, along with a selection of the hand painted eucalyptus leaves that were the basis for the artwork and the antique flower presses in which the leaves were initially pressed, and in which they are now housed. I'm indebted to my fellow artists Carole Wilson and Loris Button (who also assisted with the installation of the show) for the considerable care and thought they put into its presentation.

Leaves of Absence installation detail #1

Leaves of Absence installation detail #2

The following is a slightly extended version of the label accompanying Leaves of Absence at the AGB.

Collection items: antique flower/tie presses and eucalyptus leaves.

For several years I’ve employed silhouettes in my work, primarily as a metaphor for marginalization or invisibility. In what is a fairly recent development, the silhouettes are hand-painted onto pressed eucalyptus leaves, of which I have amassed a substantial collection. The embellished leaves form the basis for an ongoing series of archival pigment prints. The leaves are housed in my modest collection of antique tie/flower presses, most of which were discovered in the Victorian Goldfields region, including Creswick and Ballarat.

Two years ago I made my first foray into digital prints in Not Born Digital, a Goldfields Printmakers portfolio that explored the historic connection of the Victorian Goldfields with China during the gold rushes, a period of Australian history from which Chinese women were conspicuously absent. The portfolio was presented at IMPACT 9, the international printmaking conference at Hangzhou, China in September 2015. Selected images from this ongoing body of work were subsequently collected together in the artist book, Leaves of Absence (2017).

During the Australian gold rushes, thousands of Chinese men came to Australia to seek their fortunes. In 1861 Chinese immigrants made up 3.3 per cent of the Australian population. The vast majority (38,337) were men, compared to only eleven women. For many Chinese men, separation from their families was a source of abiding sadness. The harsh treatment of Chinese miners is well documented, but almost nothing is known about the women who remained in China.

In the tiny Victorian town of Newstead there were over 3000 Chinese miners. The forest floor is still pockmarked with holes, enduring evidence of its gold mining history. All of the eucalyptus leaves in my collection were sourced in Newstead, not only because of its significance to this project, but also due to their remarkably singular shapes, in part the result of interventions by my insect ‘collaborators’, the Eucalyptus tip bugs that inhabit the undersides of the leaves.

My initial research included a study of historic Chinese women’s hairstyles. Reduced to shadow forms, however, these unknown women could equally be from any place or time, including the present. 

From the bower - patterns of collecting runs until 17 September. 

For extensive installation views of the show, visit Deborah Klein's Art Blog HERE.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

LEAVES OF ABSENCE shortlisted for FAC Print Award and acquired by Monash University Library

Leaves of Absence, 2017, artist book, archival inkjet prints, 
cloth cover, ed: 10, 32.5 x 25.5 x 4.0 cm (closed) 
32.5 x 55.0 x 4 cm (open) 

Closely following the announcement that our unbound artist book, Leaves of Absence, has been shortlisted for the 2017 Geelong acquisitive print awards (see previous post) comes the news that the book is a finalist in the 2017 Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award.

In other exciting news, Leaves of Absence has been acquired for the permanent collection of Monash University Library. Pictured below are some page views of the book, photographed during the recent run of Between the Sheets - International artists' books 2017 at Australian Galleries Melbourne by Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison, and reproduced with their kind permission.

Title page of Leaves of Absence in Between the Sheets - International artists books 
2017 at Australian Galleries Melbourne. Photo by Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison

Leaves of Absence pages #2. Photo credit: Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison

Leaves of Absence page view #3. Photo credit: Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison

Leaves of Absence page view #4. Photo credit: Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison

Friday, June 16, 2017

LEAVES OF ABSENCE shortlisted for Geelong acquisitive print award

Leaves of absence, 2017, artist book, archival inkjet prints, cloth cover; ed. 5/10,
32.5 x 25.5 x 4.0 cm (closed) 32.5 x 55.0 x 4 cm (open). Printer: Luke Ingram

Further to recent posts, my artist book, Leaves of Absence, has just been shortlisted for the prestigious 2017 Geelong acquisitive print awards. 

The acquisitive awards and biennial exhibition will comprise 38 works by 39 established and emerging Australian artists. 

Shortlisted artists are: Benjamin Armstrong, Rosalind Atkins, Elizabeth Banfield, G.W Bot, Laura Castell, Jock Clutterbuck, Marian Crawford, Ben Fennessy, Dianne Fogwell, Peter Garnick, Kaye Green, Sue Grossman, Andrew Gunnell, Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison, Robert Hague, Rew Hanks, Carolyn Hawkins, Clare Humphries, Anita Iacovella, Michael Kempson, Deborah Klein, Jo Langley, Marion Manifold, Megan McPherson, David Nixon, Jiri Tibor Novak, Sharron Okines, Glenda Orr, Janet Parker-Smith, Jim Pavlidis, Stieg Persson, Ben Rak, Brian Robinson, Kati Thamo, Bridgit Thomas, Vanessa Wallace, Halina Wolski and Joel Wolter. 

The Geelong acquisitive print awards will run from 2 August - 8 October. 

Meanwhile, Leaves of Absence can be viewed in Between the sheets: international artists' books 2017 at Australian Galleries Melbourne until 2 July. (See previous two posts).

Leaves of Absence, page view 1

Leaves of Absence, page view 2

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Between the Sheets at Australian Galleries Melbourne

The snapshots above and below were taken on Tuesday night, 13 June, at the lively opening of Between the sheets: artists' books 2017 at Australian Galleries Melbourne.

It was great to catch up with several old friends, including fellow Ballarat artist, Debbie Hill (see below) who had two stunning altered books in the show

The evening was not without its upsets, however. The first happened quite early in the evening. I was about to show my unbound artist book, Leaves of Absence, to two curators, when I noticed to my horror that someone had gotten there first. The pages were no longer in their correct order - so much so that the colophon page, which is traditionally placed at the end of a book, was near the beginning. Janis Nedela, the exhibition curator, suggested I retire to the back gallery where there was a large table on which I could spread out the numbered pages and carefully restore them to their intended order.

Later in the evening, an artist friend told me of a woman she spotted paging through my beleaguered book with one hand, whilst enthusiastically gesticulating with the other - in which she clutched a glass of wine. My friend looked on in disbelief as the wine splashed ever closer to my book. The horrified artist (to whom I'm forever in debt) marched over and firmly told the woman to put the glass aside until she had finished examining the book.

It was my decision that the book sit on an open plinth. In the exhibition's previous venue, it was displayed under a perspex cover, which meant that only a very limited number of pages could be viewed. I'm hoping it isn't a decision I'll live to regret.

Janis was extremely apologetic, but none of this is his fault. He is not a policeman and neither am I. We can't be there patrolling the exhibition every minute of its opening hours. We simply have to trust gallery visitors to do the right thing. For the most part they do, but it only takes one careless, thoughtless person to damage or even destroy an artist's work.

Having said that, it's a terrific exhibition - a must see, in fact - and the overwhelming majority of opening night visitors were respectful of the artist books.

The exhibition runs until 2 July. For full details, go HERE.

Photo credit for top and middle photos: Shane Jones.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

BETWEEN THE SHEETS 2017: installation in progress

Pictured above and below are selected progress views of the installation of Between the Sheets: Artists’ Books 2017, snapped yesterday at Australian Galleries Melbourne.

The exhibition showcases book art by national and international artists. A celebration of the book in its myriad shapes and forms, it includes my unbound artist book, Leaves of Absence. That's my book in the above shot, foreground right. My apologies for not being able to identify the other books in the show as yet. Exhibition co-curator Janis Nedela (above, right) and his colleague Andrew (above, centre) were doing a brilliant job of the install, but hadn't quite gotten to the labels stage when Shane Jones (pictured far left) and I dropped in. (Click on images to enlarge).

Opening night of Between the Sheets 2017 is next Tuesday, 13 June, from 6 - 8 pm.  

The exhibition is current until Sunday, 2 July. For full details, see previous post.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

BETWEEN THE SHEETS: ARTISTS' BOOKS 2017 at Australian Galleries Melbourne

Australian Galleries Melbourne in association with Gallery East present:

Between the Sheets: Artists' Books 2017
An exhibition of national and international artists accompanied by a selection of Australian Galleries represented artists.

The show is curated by David Forrest and Janis Nedela, Directors of Gallery East, WA.

Opening night: Tuesday 13 June 2017 6 pm - 8 pm

Australian Galleries Melbourne
28 and 35 Derby Street
Collingwood Vic 3066
T: 03 9417 2422
Open 7 days 10 am - 6 pm

Current until Sunday 2 July 2017

The exhibition includes my unbound artist book, Leaves of Absence (2017) and is accompanied by the catalogue pictured below. For selected views of Leaves of Absence, go HERE.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Floor talk at Warrnambool Gallery

L-R far distance in front of our combined collections wall:
WAG Curator of Collections, Agostina Hawkins, Carole Wilson,
Loris Button and myself

Last Saturday, May 13, Loris Button, Carole Wilson and I returned to Warrnambool Art Gallery to present a floor talk about our current exhibition, From the bower - patterns of collecting. (Louise Saxton, the fourth member of our group, was unable to join us).

I focused on several of my collection objects and related artworks, including the stories behind them: the sewing iconography in the linocut Tattooed Faces Sampler, the hair ornaments collection that became the point of departure for numerous artworks and later the MWP zine The Little Black Hair Book, and the hand painted eucalyptus leaves that were the basis for the illustrations in my unbound artist book, Leaves of Absence.

We had a brilliant turnout, and valued the generous feedback we received from audience members after the talk.

Selected highlights are directly below. Photographs are by Shane Jones. For further views of the talk, visit my art blog HERE.

The exhibition runs until June 12.

Standing L-R: Carole Wilson, Loris Button and myself

Directly below:
Carole Wilson and I viewed through a glass case containing my unbound artist book, Leaves of Absence, together with a variety of objects from the artists' personal collections.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Queenscliff Literary Festival 2017

Vertical concertina books, 2013, one-of-a-kind, ink
and acrylic on Khadi paper, cloth bound.
Each book: 20 x 15 cm (open)

The artist's books pictured above are currently on view at Queenscliff Gallery and Workshop in the exhibition, Queenscliffe Literary Festival & Great Authors Print Exchange. The show is part of the 2017 Queenscliffe Literary Festival.

The books relate to the literary classification of 'The Maiden in the Tower'. The primary point of reference for A Tall Tale and Castles in the Hair is the German fairy tale, Rapunzel, famously collected by the brothers Grimm and first published by them in 1812. The story has its basis in earlier tales dating back as far as the 11th century. 

The third book, Bats in the Belfry, draws its primary inspiration from the character Bertha Mason, the madwoman in the attic in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. The same character is the protagonist of the Jean Rhys novel, Wide Sargasso Sea, in which Bertha's real name is revealed to be Antoinette Cosway and much of the story told from her point of view.

The Queenscliffe Literary Festival & Great Authors Print Exchange runs from 3 May - June 12. For full details, visit QG&W's website HERE.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Australian Zine Showcase and Melbourne Art Books Fair

The above photos were snapped yesterday at the Australian Zine Showcase, the newest addition to the annual Melbourne Art Book Fair at NGV International (16 - 19 March). This rotating zine fair has been superbly organised and curated by Sticky Institute. Moth Woman Press was there yesterday, Saturday, 18 March, between 2-30 - 8 pm. (Photo credits: Shane Jones).

Meanwhile, at the Melbourne Art Books Fair in the adjacent Great Hall, Moth Woman Press is ably represented by Esther Gyorki, who is showing a selection of our artist's books at her Assembly Books stand until 5 pm today. (See below - that's Esther on the right). Behind her, next to the Assembly Books sign, is an open copy of our one-of-a-kind artist book, Castles in the Hair (2013).

LEAVES OF ABSENCE in Warrnambool and Perth

Pictured here are installation views of my artist book, Leaves of Absence (2017) in From the Bower - patterns of collecting at Warrnambool Art Gallery.

Selected page views of the book are paired with the original artwork - hand painted Eucalyptus leaves - and the antique flower presses in which the leaves were pressed and dried. The exhibition also features the works and private collections of Carole Wilson, Loris Button and Louise Saxton, some of which can be glimpsed in these photos. It opened yesterday, 18 March, and runs until 12 June.

From the Bower can also be seen at the Art Gallery of Ballarat from 29 July - 17 September.

Coincidentally, Leaves of Absence is part of another show that also opened yesterday: Between the Sheets: Artists' Books 2017. An international artists’ book exhibition, it is presented by Gallery East in conjunction with Gallery Central, Aberdeen Street, Perth, Western Australia, and runs until 8 April.

Between the Sheets will also be shown at Australian Galleries, Melbourne, from 13 June - 2 July. 

Dates for the Melbourne launch of Leaves of Absence TBA.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Moth Woman Press at Assembly Books, Melbourne Art Book Fair

As mentioned in recent posts, Moth Woman Press will be represented by Esther Gyorki's Assembly Books at the 2017 Melbourne Art Book Fair. These books and others can be viewed at her stand in the Great Hall at NGV International from 16 - 19 March. For full details about the book fair, including opening hours, go HERE.

Left-right: Fuchsia, Harpy and Cactus Flower, 2013,
one of a kind artist books, 80 x 15 cm (open)
Women with Wings, 2010, artist book: concertina format, linocuts, rubber 
stamps, 24 cm (H) x 20.5 cm (W) x 1.5 cm (D) (folded) Edition: 3

Women with Wings, 2010, linocuts, double page view

There was once... Limited edition, 21.5 cm x 14.5 cm x 5 cm.
Includes Lace Lepidopteran, 2010, linocut, 16 x 10.5 cm, ed. 20