Goulburn Regional Art Gallery

The Vario Print exchange is, as its name suggests, a varied print exchange *.

This project had its origins in an idea for 24 members of the Southern Highland Printmakers (SHP) to exchange with an American print group with whom I had previously collaborated.
Dates were set for production and exchange of prints, folio and paper sizes for printing were determined and possible exhibition venues were discussed.
This initial plan hit a barrier with the folding of the American group.
After some enquiries through the Print Council of Australia I was put in touch with Impress, a  Brisbane based, printmaking group. They readily took up the offer and through Angela Gardner, their co-ordinator, both the Virtually Six (V-6 ) Welsh and Hawaii Print Group from the U.S.A., were brought into the exchange.  Professor Charles Cohan (Dept of Art and Art History) University of Hawai’i, acted as the Hawaiian coordinator and Tom Piper from V-6 acted for the Welsh print group.
The SHP had decided early on against a themed approach as it was felt to be restrictive. As it was the group’s first exchange we thought it best to use it as an opportunity to showcase the diversity within the Southern Highland Printmakers, in terms of approach, media used and so on.
As it turns out, even without a set of criteria, there was a conscious effort on the part of many of the Australian contingent  to reflect the Antipodean perspective as many members were well aware of the intended overseas homes for many of their prints. No doubt the Welsh and Hawaiian groups were aware of this aspect also.
There is something unique about the experience of an international exchange, a collective swap of images and ideas on paper. It is a humbling process, there is a sense of ‘trade’ at work. There is certainly an element of the ‘lucky dip’. It is a process that few other art practitioners outside of print making could undertake. 
 The days of doing such an exchange through posted letters and phone calls are long gone. All communication for this exchange was carried out via e-mail . This instant rapid computer based communication was quite a contrast to the processes and considerations involved in the actual production of most of the works created.

The complete archive sets of all forty eight member prints will be exhibited at venues across Wales Hawaii and here in Australia.  The Goulburn Regional Art Gallery  (NSW, Australia) will show the works ,  February  9-26th 2011.

* A print exchange is, put simply,  a group of printmakers coming together to produce multiple prints, usually to a predetermined size and set number, and then swapping the collated sets of these prints amongst the participating members.
 
 

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