Rebecca Beardmore is well established as one of Australia’s most respected contemporary printmakers. Having pushed the boundaries of traditional printmaking far beyond the expected for almost two decades, Beardmore has become well known for her experimental practice. As an artist she approaches each new body of work as a kind of personal challenge, embracing unusual materials and experimental processes, to create works that engage with the legacy of fine art printmaking whilst throwing all the rules out the window.
(To view & purchase artworks from this series scroll to the end of this online exhibition page).
Elusive and often ethereal, Beardmore’s works eschew the responsibilties associated with establishing immediate representational accuracy. Her works are created by photographing reflections cast on to sheets of polished zinc. Having thus started with an image that in itself is already not quite real, not quite what it seems, Beardmore translates the image onto paper, glass or metal. In this latest series, Neither here not there, Beardmore’s images capture an aura-like evocation of the Australian landscape. Particularly interested in how we see and the connection between the eye, the brain and the heart, Beardmore’s works are slippery, ambiguous, poetic and mysterious.
“Australian culture is propelled in an environmental dialectic in the region of drought and flood, dearth and plenty, nothingness and enormity, attrition and creation, while culture waveringly keeps its traditional adversary, nature, in check.” -Ross Gibson*
Neither here nor there explores the peripheral spaces of the Australian outback; the frontier sites of the Nineteen Counties of NSW that defined the limits of location of crown land in 1829. Focusing on the outskirt towns of the Central West NSW; Canowindra, Coonabarabran and the Warrumbungles, these isolated colonial settlements embody the nostalgic pastoral sites of human intervention where the boundary between cultivation and wilderness blur.
The sites are captured photographically, the images shot indirectly, as reflected scenes distorted, marred and muted, in a polished zinc plate. The intent is to represent the idea of place, rather than the specificity of location. Through their framing these works present the landscape as a view to be looked at, a claiming of the land that recalls not only the condition of cultivation but the authority of visual literacy enacted in the very partiality of our looking.
The oversaturated colour digital pigment prints are overlaid with hand printed photo gravure plates, the densely inked engraving of the intaglio process emphasizing the image encounter through its material surface. Each pictorial site is paired with a colour field gradient, an ocular apparition of sorts, drawn from its photographic trace. The intensity of these abstract relief rolls shimmer with light and heat- evoking the powerful sentimental projections of our mythic Australian wasteland. Crucially, the works present a convergence between the photographs proposed authenticity and experience of immediacy with the material sensuality of more painterly impressions. These works, drawing on reality and its representation conjure a new visual experience and the poetics of how we engage with, and navigate in and out of space.
Rebecca Beardmore grew up on the east coast of Canada. Born to Australian parents, she moved to Sydney for her BVA and later returned briefly to western Canada to complete her MFA in the department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta, a Centre for Excellence in Printmaking. She has been living in Sydney for the past 20 years and is a lecturer at Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney.
Through an innovative and experimental approach to materials and techniques, Beardmore seeks to expand the rhetoric around image perception and disrupt the image as an object of representation – evoking tensions between reading, seeing and perception. An accomplished print artist, Beardmore is at the forefront of practice and innovation in her field. The artist is a previous winner and has been an invited judge in Australia’s most prestigious print prize, The Fremantle Print Award.
Her work is held in public and private collections, including the Guangdong Museum of Art (China), the Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney), Rhode Island School of Art and Design (New York), Artbank (Australia) and the Print Study Centre of the University of Alberta (Canada). Beardmore has also been a finalist in many significant art prizes including the Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award (2010 & 2011) and the City of Hobart Art Prize (2014). She exhibits internationally and is represented by Artereal Gallery, Sydney.
View Rebecca Beardmore’s ‘Neither here nor there’ series in full below.
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