Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In Silhouette: Hand/Eye Magazine and Clunes Booktown

Tall Tales, 2013 unique concertina books,  80 x 15 cm (open). Installation view, Maroondah Art Gallery, November 2013
 Photograph by Tim Gresham.

Scott Rothstein, who profiled my work last year on his excellent blog Art Found Out, has just published a short piece about my silhouette imagery for the online arts journal Hand/Eye. His article focuses particularly on the one-of-a-kind artist books, including the series Tall Tales. Scott's article, In Silhouette - Deborah Klein's diverse and eclectic paper art, can be read HERE.

The publication of the article is timely, as I have been invited to exhibit a selection of these and other book art in Biblio, the artist book section of this year's Clunes Booktown on the weekend of 3-4 May.

Over the past few weeks I've been doing a great deal of advance preparation, because on Friday my partner Shane Jones and I will be winging our way to London for a month. We are scheduled to return just three days before Booktown begins.

I've made four new zines for Booktown, using iPad apps as a basis for the layout and design. These are three of the four:

The Shadow WomenThe Shadow Women 2 and Shadowomen 3, 2014, zines, laser printed, 10.5 x 7.5 cm (closed). 
Edition: 100. Photograph: DK

For more detailed information about Clunes Booktown and the new zines, visit Moth Woman Press HERE

Monday, March 17, 2014

March in March

It wasn't about which political side you were on. It was a protest against a government that was actually voted in by my fellow Australians, a government that is in the process of destroying everything so many of us still believe in. And so, so many of us were there yesterday: estimates vary from 30,000 - 50,000. In the last three days similar marches have taken place all over the country.

March in March began with a rally outside the State Library of Victoria. Afterwards the crowd marched from Swanston Street, turned left into Bourke Street and officially ended on the steps of Parliament House. These are a very small selection of around two hundred shots I took yesterday (including the shameless selfie of Shane and I directly below). We were both very proud to be there. Lately we'd been feeling deeply ashamed to be Australian.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Jewel Beetle Woman signed off

Most of the past week has been spent hand colouring the edition, plus various proofs (Artist Proofs, APW Proofs, Presentation Proof, Viewing Proof, etc) of the linocut Jewel Beetle Woman. It was a satisfying, pleasurable process, despite being rather more time consuming than I'd anticipated. As a rule, I hand colour with watercolours, but for the first time ever, I used pigmented drawing inks. The result was a far richer and more luminous surface.

Based on past experience, I was wary of accidental drips and as a preventative measure cut stencils for two of the high risk areas: the body and hair. The greens of the beetle's upper body and legs were applied without benefit of stencils, but fortunately there were no mishaps.

Jewel Beetle Woman, 2014, linocut, hand coloured, 56.5 x 38 cm, edition: 20
Printer: Simon White. Photograph: Tim Gresham

Today was a red letter day: the edition was delivered to the Australian Print Workshop, where it was numbered, titled, signed, dated and the relevant paperwork completed.

As always, it was great to catch up with the folk at the APW. I've really appreciated their enthusiasm and encouragement throughout this project, particularly Simon White, who so expertly printed Jewel Beetle Woman. I was delighted that APW Director Anne Virgo picked up on the influence of the artist-naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717). It turns out that not only does Anne share my deep admiration for this artist, she actually owns one of her exquisite hand coloured woodcuts. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Profile in Print by Sasha Grishin

The latest edition of Craft Arts International has just hit the newsstands in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and US. On pages 50-55 there is an article by Professor Sasha Grishin: Profiles in Print - DEBORAH KLEIN, a detailed and insightful overview of my printmaking practice, dating from the early years through to the present. Prof. Sasha Grishin selected the images that accompany the article; there are a far more generous number of them than most art magazines allow. My wholehearted thanks to Sasha for his superb essay and to Tim Gresham for converting the older images from slides to digital: some have either never been published, or haven't surfaced in many a long year.

Pictured below:
Page views of Profiles in Print - DEBORAH KLEIN by Professor Sasha Grishin, Craft Arts International No. 90, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

And Now for Something Completely Different

It’s great news that our friend Donna McRae's acclaimed movie Johnny Ghost (which she produced, wrote, directed and edited) has just been released on DVD. 

But before Johnny Ghost, in 2008, in fact, there was Donna's short film Lamb of God. Indeed, that is how it was again last week, when both films screened in Melbourne, the latter on Wednesday, January 12 (for a three week run at MARS Gallery as part of Make Believe It's Nothing, an exhibition showcasing short films) and the former at ACMI on Sunday, February 16 for two back-to-back screenings. What none but the most ardent of cinephiles will know, is that Shane and I appear in both movies. In the former we are mere extras. Our scenes were filmed in St Kilda's Dog's Bar Cafe (we can be glimpsed in the background conducting a heated argument). In the latter film, however, I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to call us supporting players. Lamb of God's non-linear narrative is based on the true story of Emma Williams, (1) a prostitute who was hanged for murder in the Old Melbourne Gaol (as was its most notorious inmate, Ned Kelly).

Yesterday Shane and called into MARS Gallery to revisit the film. We were thrilled to see it in its original three-screen format. I've unearthed some never-before-published snapshots that Shane and I took during the shoot. I remember we had to rise very early in the morning so that the scenes in the Old Melbourne Gaol, which is a National Trust property, could be completed before it was opened to the public for the day.

The film is almost without dialogue. I played the hard-hearted prison guard who coldly pushes Emma towards the hangman's noose. The superb Tamara Searle portrayed Emma. Production Designer Michael Vale (2) was the chillingly sinister hangman. The D.O.P. of both films was the brilliant Laszlo Baranyai.

Shane's scenes were filmed at Latrobe's Cottage, which is also owned by the National Trust. He played one of Emma's customers. I may be a tad prejudiced, but I thought he was terrific in the role.

(1) Emma Williams was hanged on 4 November, 1895. To learn about Emma and other women like her, visit CULTURE VICTORIA’s Felon Families: Stories of Women Prisoners and their Families HERE.

(2) Michael Vale's wonderful film, The Long Walk, 2009, was the other standout of the exhibition.

The Old Melbourne Gaol: a chilling place - it's not hard to believe the many claims that it is haunted

We were each assigned a prison cell to change into our costumes. Coincidentally, I was given Emma Williams's cell.

The affable Michael Vale chats to Tamara's Emma, prior to his transformation into Emma's hangman

Running through a scene prior to shooting: from left, DK, Tamara Searle, Donna McRae and Laszlo Baranyai

Latrobe's Cottage: Michael Vale assists Shane with his costume