Some time ago I was given a couple of adhesive street signs, and ever since I have been looking for an opportunity to use them. All I knew was that I wanted to use the ‘green’ section of the sign Greenswood Lane, in conjunction with some astroturf, in an artists’ book. Finally the idea took shape and a deadline presented itself, and I am pleased to say that my book made it as a finalist in the 2017 GreenWay Art Prize. The book is digitally printed on fine art paper, 7-hole pamphlet stitched, and sits in a black box lined with astroturf, the street sign used as the title on the front. Text fragments are taken from descriptions of common NSW eucalypt, wattle, grevillea and hakea species, found in the discarded pages of an out-of-print botanical encyclopaedia.
I knew of Chuck Close, but until I saw the current exhibition of his work at Sydney’s MCA this week, I had no idea how absolutely amazing his work is, nor of the depth and breadth of his skill as a printmaker. I think I’m doing well when I manage a two-colour woodcut, but that pales to insignificance when compared to his 84-colour or 113-colour woodcuts. Or his 126-colour screenprints. Not to mention the thousand-plus watercolour pigment squares he painted, scanned and manipulated until ready for use. Or that phenomenal mezzotint, Keith. But what impressed me most were his working grids, like the template for the etching of Philip Glass. The editioned etching and the spitbite grid hung side by side, the grid as superb as the finished portrait.