|Petru Voichescu||Karen Kaese|
|Jenny Sanzaro-Nishimura||Julianna Joos|
|Jude Roberts||Andrée-Anne Dupuis Bourret|
|Paula Quintela||Élisabeth Dupond|
|Sandra Pearce||Denis Charland|
|Glenda Orr||Carlos Calado|
|David Nixon||Christiane Desjardins|
|Catherine Money||Jay Dee Dearness|
|Eunkyoung Moon-Back||Judith Borrick|
|Andres Manniste||Elmyna Bouchard|
|Laurent Lamarche||Mirella Aprahamian|
(left to right, de gauche à droite) Catherine Money , Julianna Joos
En mai 2010, quand nous avons pensé à l’eau comme thème de cette exposition, j’étais loin de me douter des catastrophes qui allaient se produire l’année suivante au Queensland, en Australie, et ailleurs dans le monde : l’inondation de la ville de Brisbane en janvier, le Tsunami au Japon en mars ou encore les inondations en Montérégie en mai 2011… Quand nous avons choisi le thème Portraits d’eau, nous voulions surtout aborder l’expérience d’un échange international à travers un élément vital universel.
We chose the theme of Water Portraits for this exhibition to enable a cultural identity to emerge from the artworks of two countries that are on opposite sides of the world. Eleven Queensland artists (from Impress Printmakers) were selected for their unique relationship with water and their approach to interpreting this theme through printmaking.
Australia is the driest continent of the world, after Antarctica, experiencing a fascinating range of climates and weather. The centre of the continent is largely arid or semi-arid, leaving 80% of Australians people living within 100 kilometres of the coast. Jay Dee Dearness feels a real sense of dislocation when away from her coastal childhood home and identifies this in her cyanotype Prototype for a Safety Blanket 1 whilst Sandra Pearce references the overuse of our coastline through man’s activities impacting on our natural environment and resources. Her monotypes What Lies Beneath question whether we, in fact, love our coastline to death.
The discovery of the Great Artesian Basin by European settlers allowed the development of a valuable sheep and cattle industry in otherwise unproductive areas. Jude Roberts references these underground aquifers and bore dams in her lithograph, Sub-artesian.
In the tropical regions across northern Australia a wet summer is typical as the monsoon moves in. During the wet (October to April), north-westerly winds bring humid conditions. These life-giving rains replenish the dry land and bring the luscious new growth featured in Judith Borrick’s intricate Life Giving Waters.
The El Niño Southern Oscillation in the Pacific Ocean is having a large impact on the weather patterns within Australia, causing periods of extreme dryness as well as heavy rainfall. Because of these extremes, and our long history of drought and flooding rain, Australians are generally very conscious of water, our supplies and its quality.
Impress Printmakers are located in the capital of Queensland. The sub tropical Brisbane region with a population of 2.7 million people is the fastest growing region in Australia. Recently, in the grip of severe drought, Brisbane residents were living with the toughest water restrictions of any capital city. Locals were encouraged to invest in water tanks to ease pressure on the system and were given specific days and times to water their gardens. The community was faced with the challenge of reducing per capita consumption to less than 140 litres per day. Glenda Orr’s etching, The Disconnect contemplates childhood memories of summers spent playing underneath the backyard sprinkler hose. Will this joyful activity become a thing of the past?
The other extreme was exemplified by the extensive floods of January 2011. Brisbane was under siege from all directions with a tragic combination of runoff from the flash flooding in the Lockyer Valley (to the west), a king tide and heavy rain. Jenny Sanzaro-Nishimura has chosen to focus on three sections of the Brisbane River close to her home in her collagraph prints. She has layered her collagraphs to simulate the layering of silt and detritus along the river banks after the floods, drawing our attention to man’s impact on this changing environment.
Eight months down the track and Brisbane is almost back on its feet. But what of the emotional effects on the many residents affected by the floods, the loved ones lost, the homeless or those still awaiting repairs to their family home? In my own work I draw attention to the mental health issues often overlooked and unacknowledged by such tragedies of nature. Karen Kaese’s etching and aquatint print Shelter sensitively interprets the reflective, melancholy nature of water and its ability to stir up memories and provoke narrative, whereas David Nixon is lured by the play of light on the surface of water and its abilities to calm and quiet the mind.
Eunyoung Moon-Back’s etching with aquatint The Sea at Night considers more optimistic aspects of water in the way that it carries us on our journey or voyage of life. Paula Quintela identifies water as a vehicle to connect people on many levels.
It is a privilege, therefore, to curate this exhibition Water Portraits on behalf of Impress printmakers because after all, it is water that connects Canada and Australia despite the distance.
Catherine Money, Curator – Queensland
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