Saturday, August 29, 2020


Jewel Beetle Woman, 2014, hand coloured linocut, 56.5 x 38 cm
Printed by Simon White at the Australian Print Workshop
Photo credit: Tim Gresham

The recent Melbourne International Film Festival was the catalyst for reflection on my relief prints from the mid-1990s that were directly influenced by film (see previous post), a neat segue into today’s post, which focuses on current printmaking news.

Early this year, the Australian Print Workshop called to tell me I was the recipient of the annual George Collie APW Award along with the late Barbara Hanrahan. Then came COVID-19, followed by stage 3, then stage 4 restrictions and everything was - and still is - placed on hold. In the continuing uncertainty and upheaval, the APW never did get around to officially announcing the news of the award - until now. 

Details of the 2020 George Collie APW Award exhibition are included in the latest edition of the APW’s newsletter, NEWSPRINT. No dates have been provided for the show as yet; I’m just happy and relieved to know it’s going ahead. For further information, visit here:

In further news, my solo show at Queenscliff Gallery and Workshop, originally scheduled for late 2020, will now take place in 2021. I’m really excited about this exhibition, which will comprise paintings, relief prints and drawings. Dates for the show at QG&W are June 3 - 21. Full details will be provided nearer the time.

Speaking of the above mentioned galleries, in the past week I received the happy news that my linocut Jewel Beetle Woman (pictured top) made when I was a special guest artist at the APW Summer School in 2014, has been sold by QG&W to a private collector in California.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Through the eyes of film

Mirror, Mirror, 1996, linocut, 31 x 46 cm

For me, one of the highlights of every year (if not THE highlight) is the Melbourne International Film Festival. This year I’d planned to book myself into the same tiny, budget friendly, strategically located hotel that was my base for MIFF in 2019, the first year I no longer had a permanent base in Melbourne. 

Then came the news I’d been dreading, but expecting: MIFF 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Orson Welles once described film as a ribbon of dreams. Indeed, film has long threaded its dreamlike way through just about every aspect of my life, including my imagery. Perhaps that's why, despite the postponement of several major projects that were set in place for 2020 (two solo shows, a residency and the George Collie APW Award exhibition) the cancellation of MIFF 2020 was the blow that fell the heaviest.

Later, a scaled-down online version of the film festival, MIFF 68 1/2, was announced. To me it seemed like the complete antithesis of everything that makes MIFF in particular, and cinema going in general, special. Films are made to be seen in cinemas with all the attendant highs and lows that come with the territory. We own a projector paired with a BluRay player, but not the attachments necessary for streaming, so I would be reduced to watching films on my laptop. In support of MIFF, I renewed my membership but had absolutely no desire to participate in MIFF 68 1/2.

It was a recent phone conversation with Anne Virgo, Director of the Australian Print Workshop, that changed my mind. Anne had called to discuss the George Collie APW Award exhibition, which it seems will go ahead at some point, in some form or another that's yet to be determined. (More about this in my next post). In our initial conversations about the show earlier this year, Anne had insisted on scheduling it around my MIFF dates, a gesture that was kind, flexible and empathetic beyond the call of duty. When I remarked on the irony of this, and the poor substitute I perceived MIFF 68 1/2 to be, Anne flatly pointed out that this is simply how things are now and I decided it was time to get real.

Woman on a Bridge, 1996, hand coloured linocut, 46 x 30 cm

Queen of Hearts, 1996, hand coloured linocut, 60.5 x 32.5 cm

The film festival was already a few days under way when I jumped on board, but I'm so glad I did. MIFF 2020 enabled me to travel the world while remaining safe at home. It was a wild and wondrous ride, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Even the couple of films I liked the least left their mark because they took me somewhere I'd never otherwise have been. In recent MIFFs, I've seen well over fifty films. This year, partly due to my tardiness, I saw only 16 feature length films, together with numerous short subjects. To be fair, however, one of the feature films was Mark Cousins's 14 hour documentary, Women Make Film - A New Road Movie Through Cinema, which was presented in five parts. Parts 1- 4 each ran for around 3 hours, with the 5th part clocking in at a more civilised two hours. Moreover, another film, Lara, had such an emotional impact on me, I saw it twice.

Woman on the Beach, 1995, linocut, 46 x 30 cm

Throughout MIFF 68 1/2, buoyed by the remarkable and revelatory Women Make Film, I cast an occasional backwards glance at some of my works that have drawn their inspiration from women in film, more specifically Film Noir and in some instances, the Melodrama, aka The Woman's Picture.

Several of the Film Noir-related works hang in our upstairs cinema room and small downstairs office.

Film Noir inspired linocuts in the cinema room

Installation view in the office. The painting top, second from right, is by Michael Vale and the etching top right is
by Rick Amor. All remaining works - the paintings on the left and the oil pastel drawing bottom right - are by me.

Actress, director, producer and writer, Ida Lupino

One of many extraordinary women film makers highlighted in the Mark Cousins documentary is Ida Lupino. I've seen a number of her films as director, including The Hitch Hiker and The Bigamist (both 1953) but was unfamiliar with Outrage (1950) one of her films prominently featured in the documentary. The excerpts from this film, the story of a rape and its aftermath, made for powerful viewing. I've actually managed to track it down on YouTube, pending securing a copy of my own. Directly below is a still from Outrage. I include it here because of the uncanny similarities it shares with my linocut that directly follows it, Woman at the Door, a work that was made without any prior knowledge of Lupino's film.

Mala Powers in a scene from Outrage (1950). Directed by Ida Lupino.

Woman at the Door, 1996, linocut 60.6 x 32.5 cm

The feature films that made up my personal MIFF 68 1/2 are listed below:

Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema (2019)
Directed by Mark Cousins • Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Chechewa, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Farsi, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Mohawk, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, with English subtitles • UK 

Two of Us (2019)
Directed by Filippo Meneghetti • France, Luxembourg, Belgium 

Lara (2019)
Directed by Jan-Ole Gerster • Germany 

The Leadership (2020)
Directed by Ili Baré • Australia 

The Go-Go's (2020)
Directed by Alison Ellwood • UK, USA 

Born to Be (2019)
Directed by Tania Cypriano • USA 

La Llorona (2019)
Directed by Jayro Bustamante • Mexico, Guatemala

Sunless Shadows (2019)
Directed by Mehrdad Oskouei • Iran, Norway 

Rebuilding Paradise (2020) 
Directed by Ron Howard • USA 

The Plastic House (2019)
Directed by Allison Chhorn • Australia

Prayer for a Lost Mitten (2020)
Prière pour une Mitaine Perdue
Directed by Jean-François Lesage • Canada 

Bombay Rose (2019)
Directed by Gitanjali Rao • India, Qatar, France, UK 

Anne at 13,000 Ft (2019)
Directed by Kazik Radwanski • Canada, United States 

Just 6.5 (2019)
Metri Shisho Nim
Directed by Saeed Roustayi • Iran 

Shirley (2020)
Directed by Josephine Decker • USA

Some Kind of Heaven (2020)
Directed by Lance Oppenheim • USA 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Looking back in lockdown

Looking back to see... 2011, linocut with chine colle, 38 x 28 cm

This linocut resurfaced as a memory in today’s Facebook feed. I’ve never been one for dwelling in the past, but life in lockdown has found many of us mining our memories, and this work, Looking back to see..., encapsulates a lot of mine. The little cat is Mimi, the first cat I ever owned. Her resemblance to our cat, Alice, is striking and my COVID-19 hair is now nearly as long as this, so in some ways it feels like I’ve come full circle. The print was never editioned, but it’s a task I’ve determined to complete in a new, post-COVID world. 

The work looks back over time to my long ago life in London. Travel is one of so many things, once taken for granted, that I miss. My thanks to Suzana Klarin, who has applied the following quote to Looking back to see...:

‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes’.  

For more about Looking back to see... go HERE.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020


Lifelines, 2020, pigmented drawing ink, gouache and watercolour on Khadi paper

Crisis is a Hair
Toward which the forces creep
Past which causes retrograde 
If it come in sleep

To suspend the breath 
Is the most we can
Ignorant is it Life or Death
Nicely balancing.

Let an instant push
Or an atom press
Or a Circle hesitate
In Circumference 

It - may jolt the Hand
That adjusts the Hair
That secures Eternity
From presenting - Here -

Emily Dickinson

Sunday, August 2, 2020


It has taken no less than two decades to resolve this modest painting. The work was originally intended to be part of the solo show, Private Collection, at Australian Galleries Melbourne in 2000, but never made it onto the gallery wall. I’ve long considered it a dud, and am not quite sure why I hung onto it all these years. For the past decade it languished at the bottom of a cupboard and only resurfaced during our move late last year. 

A couple of days ago the painting caught my eye, and with the clarity that can only come with time and distance (in this case, a great deal of it) I recognised the latent potential of a work I’d believed was beyond redemption. It’s not quite there, but close enough to it, and the process of resurrection has been surprisingly straightforward and hugely satisfying. 

Pictured top: Web, 2000-2020, acrylic on four canvases, 35 x 25 cm overall.