Monday, November 20, 2017

LEAVES OF ABSENCE leaf by leaf

For the benefit of those in faraway places who can't make it to the launch of LEAVES OF ABSENCE on Friday 24 November at the Melbourne Athenaeum Library (see previous post) here is a preview.

Pictured above and below: LEAVES OF ABSENCE, 2017, artist book, 32 pages in cloth case, 32.5 H x 25.5 W x 4 D. Edition: 10 plus one artist proof. 

Click on individual images for a clearer view.

The following is a brief overview of the project:

For several years I’ve employed silhouettes in my work, primarily as a metaphor for marginalization or invisibility. The most recent examples are hand-painted onto pressed Eucalyptus leaves, providing the foundation for an entirely new direction in my imagery. 

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. The portfolio was presented at IMPACT 9, the international printmaking conference at Hangzhou, China in September 2015. 

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 the men, separation from their families was a source of abiding sadness. Their unjust treatment is well documented, but almost nothing is known about the women who remained in China.

In the Victorian town of Newstead alone, there were over 3000 Chinese miners. The forest floor is still pockmarked with holes, enduring evidence of its gold mining history. The Eucalyptus leaves in LEAVES OF ABSENCE were sourced there because of their significance to the project but also because of their singular shapes - in part the result of interventions by my 'insect collaborators', the Eucalyptus tip bugs. (Their invaluable contribution rates a special mention on the book's colophon page). 

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

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A book launch and an exhibition opening

After a hectic year, during which it was part of some significant exhibitions*, the Moth Woman Press artist book LEAVES OF ABSENCE is finally in one place long enough to be officially launched. The launch, which is less than a week away, will take place in the Melbourne Athenaeum Library on Friday, 24 November, from 6 - 8 pm.
The event is a double celebration; the library recently acquired a copy of the book and has invited me to be their artist-in-residence during Melbourne Rare Book Week in June/July 2018. 

Five days later, on Wednesday 29 November, my solo show, FALLEN WOMEN, opens at Tacit Contemporary Art. It will comprise a goodly selection of the work I've made since completing LEAVES OF ABSENCE

The exhibition runs until 17 December. I hope you'll have a chance to call in. 

*During 2017 LEAVES OF ABSENCE was included in Between the Sheets, the biennial international artist book exhibition at Gallery East, Perth, WA, which subsequently travelled to Australian Galleries, Melbourne. The book was also part of the touring exhibition, From the Bower, Patterns of Collecting, which had long and successful runs at Warrnambool Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ballarat. From the Bower will continue its run in 2018 - details TBA. LEAVES OF ABSENCE was also shortlisted for the Geelong Print Prize and the Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award. (See previous post).  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

LEAVES OF ABSENCE at Fremantle Arts Centre

Leaves of Absence, 2017, artist book,  32.5 H x 25.5 W x 4 D. Ed: 10 plus 1
A/P. Installation view, Fremantle Arts Centre. (Image courtesy FAC).

In the midst of preparations for its Melbourne launch on Friday 24 November, this photo of Leaves of Absence, landed in my inbox.

Pictured above: Leaves of Absence, 2017, artist book with selected page views, in situ at Fremantle Arts Centre, WA, during the recent Fremantle Arts Centre Print Awards. The exhibition concluded on 12 November. 

Click on image for a clearer view.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

SELF-MADE floor talk at the State Library of Victoria

For some weeks it has been all go at Moth Woman Press as we simultaneously prepare for an artist book launch and a sizeable solo show that are only five days apart. (Full details of both events will be provided soon).

So it was a welcome treat take some time out on Thursday November 9 to attend a Print Council of Australia Special Event: a Curator's floor talk on the exhibition, Self-made: zines and artist books at State Library of Victoria. 

Self-made curator Monica Syrette (far right) speaks about the
history of zines and artist books to a captivated audience.
 In the centre are Andrew Stephens, Editor of the PCA
journal, IMPRINT, and Sharon Okines, PCA Membership Manager.

Two Moth Woman Press zines, The Moth Woman Vigilantes and Tattooed Faces, are included in the show - although the first time I visited some months back, the latter zine was nowhere to be found. Shortly afterwards, Monica Syrette, guest curator of Self-made, informed me that it had been stolen. At a RRP of $4.00, this was hardly a top end of the market art heist, but a compliment of sorts, I guess! Monica subsequently acquired a replacement copy at the Tonerpalooza Zine Fair (see previous post) and it has remained ensconced in the reading racks ever since. That's it on the top shelf, far right, in the photo below.

The exhibition finishes its run tomorrow, Sunday November 12, but will soon begin an extensive tour. 

Monday, September 25, 2017


The Moth Woman Press stall at TONERPALOOZA II. Photo credit: Shane Jones

It was terrific seeing so many familiar faces among visitors and stall holders alike on day two of the splendid TONERPALOOZA II zine fair, which ran over the past weekend (see previous two posts and Blog Post September 8). We met some lovely people and, thanks to our hosts with the mostest, Sticky Institute and the State Library of Victoria, it all ran like clockwork and we had a ball. Thanks also to Shane Jones for invaluable zine stall assistance.

L - R: Miranda Costa and myself. Photo credit: Shane Jones

Photo credit: Shane Jones

My able assistant, Shane Jones, with TONERPALOOZA II participant, Miranda Costa

Fellow zinesters Gracia and Louise (left) and Miranda Costa (fair right)

Shane Jones

Having Shane to cover for me meant I could periodically stretch my legs, as well as check out the other zine stalls - and very fine they were.

Food is forbidden in the library (quite rightly) so I ate my packed lunch outside the library entrance in the company of a pigeon and a duck which had clearly lost its way (see directly below).

Pictured below and immediately following: Sticky Institute's stall.

Centre: Sticky Institute coordinator, Luke Sinclair