Artist Helen Best explores her new exhibition IMPRESSED: Moments and Memories in print.

8 August, 2019
In Exhibitions,
Printmaking, Q&A

From top:

Inland Lake III: lithograph, 31 x 42 cm

Goldfish Bowl: Woodcut, 32 x 30 cm

Metronome: Woodcut, 43 x 57 cm

From the Sea: lithograph, 76 x 53 cm




Q: What were some of the foundation ideas you began with when embarking on this exhibition project?

HB: Colour is fundamentally important to me. I’m influenced by colour in landscape, especially of places I have visited. I work from sketches or photographs to build a print from these collated memories. Sometimes this happens quickly and sometimes it takes many months before the idea becomes a print.

There are several reoccurring themes in my work such as, colours seen at sunrise and sunset, still life objects and their shadows, reflections and light, and urban-inspired scenes from travels, sketches and photographs.

My preferred printmaking medium is zinc-plate lithography, though I work also with wood and lino blocks as well. I think I’ve tried every printing technique that exists but favour those that provide for nuanced colour in multiple overprinted and transparent layers.

I rarely begin a work by drawing but instead prefer to start with textures or colour layers using resists and masks to build form and structure into the print.

I use my prints to make books and enjoy both the craft of bookbinding and giving a print a second life as an object.

Q: How did the selection take place?

HB: The work was selected by looking back over what I had done and sorting them into thematic groups. Even though there is a big variety of work in the show—in terms of size, approaches and techniques used—it’s interesting to see how they fall into themes, and how the same subject matter—treated differently—reoccurs over time.

Q: How does the exhibition manifest – what do visitors experience?

HB: There are approximately 90 works in the show. Because I looked at everything I’ve made, in some ways the exhibition is a retrospective. I’ve included some early works especially when the subject matter has held my attention consistently over time.

Each theme has a wall panel that provides a brief introduction to each group of works.

Q: What are some of the key works and what subject matter do they deal with?

HB: Looking back, the works I consider to be key are From the Sea (lithograph), Metronome (hand-applied watercolour on woodblock) and Bicycle race (lithograph and assemblage on plastic).

These pieces all deal with different subject matter, but each represents the manifestation of a technique or effect I had been working on, and the culmination of that idea or theme.

IMPRESSED: Moments and Memories in print. Prints and artist books by Helen Best

is at Gallery Lane Cove, Upper Level 3, 164 Longueville Road, Lane Cove, until 17 August