Brent Harris on making The Problem

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the problem small_684
Brent Harris, The Problem, 2015, original photopolymer gravure and multi-layer screen print, 76 x 56 cm, edition of 30, $880 unframed.

In 2015 the Print Council of Australia commissioned Brent Harris to make a special fundraiser print to help raise money to pay Imprint contributor fees. The result was The Problem, an edition of thirty photopolymer gravure and multi-layer screenprints.

An article based on the short talk Harris gave at the Fitzroy Town Hall on 26 November 2015, along with collaborating printmaker Trent Walter of Negative Press, about the way this print was worked into reality can be viewed here. To purchase The Problem view the PCA store here.

Harris’s exhibition A Backroom Project will be on display at Tolarno Galleries from Saturday 5 March.




The Year of Print Makes a Flying Start in February

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It’s time to leap into action print lovers and printmakers. There is so much to see and do as part of the Year of Print in February.  Lucky for us, there is one extra day this month to squeeze it all in.

Here’s a quick overview of what’s starting in February:



  • Calling all printmakers!  Entries for 2016 National Works on Paper open 1 February and close 15 April. NWOP is one of Australia’s most prestigious awards and acquisitive exhibitions (up to $50,000 acquisitions and awards).

Northern Territory

  •  If you live or or if you’re lucky enough to be visiting the Northern Territory check out The mirrored image: ten years of prints at Nomad Art.  This exhibition features a selection of prints from across the Northern Territory to celebrate the Year of Print (#PCAYoP2016).


  • Melbourne print lovers, make sure you visit Editions 2016, an annual exhibition showcasing the excellence and diversity of 40 Victorian based printmakers.
  • From 11 February Kate Hudson, will be showcasing Garden “a collection of colour and black & white linocuts inspired by the birds and flowers that I see in my Eltham garden.” 
  • Kate Goring-Smith’s exhibition This is the Way it all Comes Together shows audiences the connection between bird, crab, algae, coast, ocean, trawler, current, fisherman, sunshine, chemicals, water, wind. Check it out at Port Jackson Press Print Gallery from 12 February.
  • Central Victoria’s unique landscape, with its predominately dry environment shaped by mountains, hills and flat plains provides rich material for artists living and working in the area. Elemental opens 24 February at Latrobe University Gallery in Bendigo.


  • Print lovers in Townsville must visit the PressNorth bookplate exhibition Belonging: Life in the tropics.  The exhibition  reflects contemporary ideas and narratives of regional artists in North Queensland.

New South Wales


So what are you waiting for?  Make a leap into the Year of Print this February.  Be sure to give us your feedback using #PCAYoP2016 on social media or leave a comment on this blog.


Praise for Paper Contemporary 2015

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A letter to PCA President Akky Von Ogtrop, Curator of Paper Contemporary, held at the 2015 Sydney Contemporary Art Fair.

Thank you for a wonderful opportunity

Dear Akky,

The opportunity for Umbrella Studio to step up, and step out by participating in the Sydney Contemporary had many benefits for the organisation and artist/members.

For us to become part of and embraced by the “print making family” supports building new and reconnected with existing professional networks and personal relationships. I believe this was one of the primary benefits of our participation. It was a pleasure to reconnect with some of the artists and important clients and others who participated in residencies or visited Umbrella over the past years.

It is critical to the future success of our artist members and the continuity of our organisation to showcase the outstanding printmakers who currently live and work in North Queensland. So many of the visitors were pleasantly surprised to see Umbrella and Monsoon Publishing  positioned side by side, showing real strength in numbers and establishing the reputation for quality of Townsville as a vibrant and progressive printmaking community.

Paper Contemporary offered us a chance to check out and be a part of the international art scene. I really want to thank you for coming up with this idea, to feature works on paper in this prestigious art fair.

Also, thank you for your endorsement of Jo Lankester’s prints and enthusiastic assistance in making sales is sincerely appreciated.



Vicki Salisbury


(07) 4772 7109


Forget Santa…it’s only 23 more sleeps until the 2016 Year of Print

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If the thought of Santa Claus squishing his way down your chimney doesn’t float your boat then perhaps the 2016 Year of Print will get you excited.

There are more than 180 events scheduled around Australia, both nationally (including regional and rural areas) and internationally for the Year of Print.   This year-long celebration of exhibitions, competitions, workshops and residencies will create a fabulous meeting place for Australian artists, Australian and international art lovers, art students and arts media.

In addition to the events, the Year of Print will foster interesting discussion on contemporary printmaking practices and promotion of printmaking and works on paper through our publication IMPRINT, on this blog and via social media.

We have created #PCAYoP16 to promote the Year of Print.  Please use this hashtag on your Year of Print social media posts to make your contribution to a national and international dialogue for everyone to follow.

Kicking off the Year of Print in January 2016 will be the following events:

  • Re-representation by Laurel McKenzie – Laurel McKenzie considers ways in which women have been (and continue to be) represented in fine art and popular media.
  • Postcards from the North & South – A collaborative project exchanging and exhibiting prints in Australia and overseas by PressNorth Printmakers and Firestation Print Studio stimulating interconnections in printmaking and fostering communication.
  • People’s Rag blog – Co-ordinated by Clare Cowley, People’s Rag is an open-ended platform for people to forward ideas from across Australia and internationally on their experience with printmaking.
  • Thinking of Place – A contemporary exhibition by 60 printmakers on the theme: ‘Thinking of Place’, which may relate to social, cultural or political issues about place, such as; concepts of land, country, the environment, ancestral connections, colonisation, identity associated with geography, imagined locations, or other ideas.
  • Picked and Pressed – Twenty four Newcastle printmakers spent time in the vineyards of the Hunter Valley region in 2015 to find inspirational material to create prints.
  • 2006-2016: a decade of printmaking. A Charles Sturt University Art Collection exhibition – Printmaking is a strong collection focus and the historical basis of the CSU Art Collection.  This exhibition features a diverse selection of print media by Australian living artists with a focus on monotypes. Curated by Thomas Middlemost.

  • Limited Edition: A selection of PCA prints from the Burnie Regional Art Gallery Collection – The artists represented in this exhibition were all commissioned by the PCA to create a limited edition of prints.

  • William Kentridge: Drawn from Africa (National Gallery of Australia travelling exhibition) – A travelling exhibition from the NGA featuring prints, film and related drawings by South African artist William Kentridge, from their collection.

  • We’ve got the sky to talk about – An exhibition of prints, drawings, artist books and zines by Lorelei Medcalf made during a summer residency at Sauerbier House, an historic villa and contemporary art space on the riverbank of Port Noarlunga.
  • Mindy Dore Screenprints

Be sure to participate in the Year of Print by attending local events to support printmakers and printmaking in Australia and internationally and let us know what you think via #PCAYoP16 .



2016 Print Commission

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Artists are invited to submit digital images of recent work for selection to create a new print edition for the 2015 PCA Print Commission.  All forms of printmaking, including digital, are welcome.

To enter, go to the store and complete the entry form and make your payment.  Entries close Friday 5 February 2016.

Invited judges for the 2016 Print Commission are Roger Butler, Senior Curator, Australian Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Australia and John Loane, Master Printer and artist, Viridian Press.

Emerging Artist Award, Indigenous Award and three week residency at Artspace Sydney

In celebration of the Print Council of Australia’s 50th Anniversary 2016 Year of Print, additional awards will be given to selected artists. An Emerging Artist award, Indigenous Artist award and residency at Artspace Sydney with access to facilities at UNSW Art and Design will be awarded to shortlisted artists.

To be eligible for the Emerging Artist award, entrants must have graduated with in a Diploma or Degree of Fine Art (Visual Art) at a University, TAFE or Technical College within five years of application.

2016 key dates

5 February      applications close

26 February    artist applications shortlisted

8 April              shortlisted artists submit bon à tirer

22 April            final selection of 10 artists made

15 July             completed artists’ proofs submitted

7 October        completed editions submitted

How it works

  • Artists complete and submit this application form (inclusive of handling fee) with a current CV and three images of recent work.
  • Shortlisted artists produce a bon á tirer (or working drawings if the medium precludes this) of an entirely new print and judges make their final selection.
  • Selected artists each produce eight artists’ proofs and an edition of between 30 and 40 prints for distribution to subscribers.
  • Artists’ proofs are exhibited in selected capital city galleries and are returned to the artists at the conclusion of the exhibition.
  • Selected artists each receive a supply of 50 sheets of Canson quality printmaking paper for editioning, provided by Canson Australia.
  • PCA pay an artist’s fee of $700 to each selected artist (inc GST).
  • Contractual details for 2016 will be provided on the Conditions and Agreement form forwarded to selected artists.
  • Non PCA members are welcome to apply.
  • Artists chosen for the Commission will be required to join the PCA.

How To Build A Printing Press At Home

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Are you a printmaker who doesn’t own your own printing press at home? This step by step film will walk you through the process of how to build a printing press from easily accessible materials such as car jack and wood.


How The 2015 Print Commission Finalists Were Chosen

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Call for Entries

The Print Council of Australia received more than 120 submissions for the 2015 Print Commission.  Judges, Anne Ryan, Curator Australian Art at the Art Gallery of NSW and Jude McBean, Regional Gallery Director Grafton Regional Gallery said the 2015 submissions were of a high calibre.


“It was a very difficult selection process. The entries were diverse both in approach and medium and came from across Australia and New Zealand. It was exciting to view New Zealand printmakers in depth and also to the work of young artists,” said Jude McBean.


The process to select to the ten finalists was a long and considered task.  The judges were influenced by the following attributes in their final selection:

  1. The quality of finish and resolution.
  2. The way the narrative was expressed in combination with the medium.
  3. The sheer physicality of the print – the surface of the print, the way the ink or media meets with the paper or support.
  4. And on balance, which artworks were more interesting visually and conceptually.


The ten finalists were:

BARKER Caterpillar MorningClinton Barker
Caterpillar Morning
Image size:44 x 44cm
Paper size: 58 x 56cm
Cook- highresAnnette Cook
Striated Pardalote Net
Etching, aquatint, linocut & stencil
Image size: 55 x 50cm
Paper size: 62 x 56cm
HUANG_sleep well my princessYing Huang
Sleep Well My Princess
Etching and screen print on steel
Image size: 20 x 28.5cm
Steel plate size: 20 x 28.5cm
INGHAM2mb jpegChris Ingham
Up Against It All
Image size: 33.5 x 26cm
Paper size: 63 x 59cm
MACDOUGALL_JunoPrue MacDougall
Etching and screenprint
Image size: 40.5 x 28.5cm
Paper size: 69 x 49cm
PETERSEN_MergeJenny Peterson
Intaglio and relief
Image size: 49 x 43 cm
Paper size: 70 x 56cm
POlJSKI_Building Type ABCat Poljski
Building Type AB
Etching and screenprint
Image size: 45 x 38cm
Paper size: 45 x 38cm
STONEMAN _Spinal Structure in Transformation [L2 + L3]Emma Stoneman
Spinal Structure in Transformation [L2+L3]
Archival inkjet print on cotton rag paper
Image size: 38.5 x 27cm
Paper size: 48.5 x 33cm
WARD_Purple Lost_2015_50x50cm_linocutPeter Ward
Purple Lost
Image size: 50 x 50cm
Paper size: 75 x 57cm
ZULUMOVSKIVera Zulumovski
Aspects of Facial Topography
Silkscreen and collage
Image size: 46.5 x 36.5 cm
Paper size: 67 x 54cm



The Problem by Brent Harris

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I have always worked my ideas across different media: painting, printmaking and drawing. Most often drawing comes first, which will then lead onto a print or a painting and this is often where things get mixed up. Sometimes a print will lead to a painting, but just as often a painting will be developed in a printmaking technique.[i]

Since making The Fourteen Stations, a series of etchings and aquatints produced at Viridian Press with John Loane in 1989, Brent Harris’s involvement with printmaking has been long and varied, often overlapping and informing other areas of his practice.

In this new work, The Problem (2015), printed by Trent Walter of Negative Press, two techniques are combined: photopolymer gravure and screenprint.

The gravure plate forms the ground: a perplexing palimpsest of inky, layered imagery. Finger marks swarm and merge into strangely shifting profiles, a heavy figure lurches forward with one arm raised in an ambiguous gesture. These marks reference The Fall #7, a single monotype from a large series shown at Tolarno Galleries in 2012, in which the artist adopted an intuitive method referred to as the ‘dark field’ technique[ii]. In using this process Harris often embraced the absurd imagery that began to emerge as he wiped the blackened ground.[iii] .

In contrast, the precise execution of the bearded foreground figure, achieved through three screenprinted layers, recalls the more graphic quality of earlier works such as the Swamp and Grotesquerie paintings from the late nineties and early noughties, where the compositions were resolved through drawing and reassembled on the canvas.

As is often the case in Harris’s work, the bearded figure in The Problem has travelled, in various incarnations, through a series of works. First emerging in a small panel painting on board in 2010, he resurfaces in a large painting The Dream (2015), and then again, reversed and enlarged, in the painting Peaks (2015). As in Peaks, where Harris describes this bearded figure as ‘some kind of witness’[iv], his gaze is directed back into the work as if contemplating possible meanings buried in the marks of the ground. Etched and inked with red ochre, he might be looking at an ancient rock surface scarred by time: its ambiguous layers – where images, impressions, ideas emerge and overlap; can be felt, but also slip and recede – make sense in their resemblance to the experience and complexity of life itself.

Most recently, and corresponding with the development of The Problem, the figure appears again in a new painting, To the Garden (2015),which in its title and details refers to Gauguin’s painting Christ in the Garden of Olives (1889). This transference of information across time and media is a distinctive aspect of Harris’s practice. The artist’s imagery is continually evolving and suggesting, but resisting, set narratives or status; aptly dwelling between abstraction and ‘odd figuration’[v].

Part of the lure of Harris’s work, evident in The Problem, is the artist’s willingness to remain open to the possibilities inherent in process. These are lived works, in which the artist’s singular visual language embraces complexity and reflects a deep knowledge and love of art.

Article by Emily Kiddell, Editor, IMPRINT

[i] Brent Harris, artist statement, email correspondence, 2 September 2015.

[ii] A reductive technique where a plate is completely blacked out with printing ink and imagery emerges where the ink is wiped back. Usually only one good impression is printed.

[iii] Brent Harris, artist statement provided to Jane Devery for her article ‘Brent Harris: The Fall’, Imprint Vol 47 No 2, 2012. The artist stated: ‘as this series developed I found myself reflecting on the absurdities of the human condition’.

[iv] Brent Harris’s notes on the process leading to Peaks, 2015, email correspondence, 2 September 2015. Here Harris cites Colin McCahon’s early figurative paintings, such as Crucifixion according to St Mark (1947), as being full of witnesses.

[v] Brent Harris’s notes on Peaks, 2015, email correspondence, 2 September 2015.