WOMEN OF SUBSTANCE :  Printmakers at QCA.  Reviewed by Dr. Charles Zuber.

International Women’s Day On Tuesday, 8th March was a chance for printmakers to gather together for an exhibition at the Queensland College of Art’s Whitebox Gallery. The printmakers were also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Print Council of Australia.

Women of Substance showed the work of 34 printmakers from Griffith University Print Club, Alumni, students and staff as well other invited artists from interstate and overseas. The title, Women of substance, allowed for a wide range of interpretations, but what the works on show had in common was a recognition of women’s contribution to the fabric of our society in many and varied contexts, and on this day, in particular, their ability to inspire others.

The curators, Jennifer Sanzaro Nishimura and Jennifer Stuerzl, included the artist’s stories on the gallery walls with their corresponding prints.  The intention was to create a gallery space that was an open book with each print and story like a leaf or page in the book. The viewer could move around in any order, flicking the pages as it were, and viewing each work. Collectively they became stories about Women of Substance.

Women of Substance

In this photo taken at the show, mother holds daughter whilst looking at a print called Grandmother Dreaming, by midwife and printmaker Marianne Wobcke

Interestingly, the images and their narratives were not about famous iconic figures rather they were about the familiar. Grandparents, mothers, brothers and sisters and children filled the walls with particular stories of respect, love, and inspiration.

It is also apparent in the show, just how diverse the practice of making prints has become. Techniques vary as does the paper, ink and applications – such as the integration of digital images within the broad church of printmaking.

What all prints have in common is the production of editions.  This means for this show, that although the prints are no longer on the walls, the work can continue to exist as a folio set that might be shown again in other galleries and collaborative ventures both in Australia and overseas. The invited international printmakers Juliana Joos, Jude Macklin and Charles Cohan, were selected because of their contribution to the QCA print community through their residencies, master classes and print exchanges.

Five complete sets of prints and a custom made box for each set have been collated for gallery collections. These include for example, the University of Hawaii, Aberystwyth University, Wales and Griffith University.  The curators of the exhibition and folio print sets acknowledge the assistance of other participating artists.

 The printmakers would also like to thank Senior Lecturer in printmaking, Russell Craig, QCA, for his assistance and support.  Thanks are also due to Edwina Corlette, for opening the exhibition.