Art, Identity & Place

How wild places, deep time and archaeology inform my contemporary art process

An introduction to Nicola Perkin and her Australian Imagery

I would like to introduce Nicola Perkin and one of her recent collagraph experiments.

Nicky and I share a love of painting and printmaking. We are members of a printmaking group in Anglesea on the Surf Coast in Victoria, Australia.

The main theme in Nicky’s artwork, paintings and prints is her response to the Australian landscape. In her words:

” I was born and bred in London  where I only saw the horizon once a year on our annual family holiday; at times I am overwhelmed by the vastness and emptiness of Australia. In an attempt to find my sense of place, I explore my response to this alien landscape.”

Nicky’s printmaking and painting both have limited palettes allowing a heavily textured surface. Within her collagraphs the surface textures and limited palette echo those of the landscape; ” others are built up layers of colour capturing the changing light”.

“There is a deliberate silence to my paintings, by presenting the viewer with a space, the work attempts to engage the viewer. It is in our nature to fill that void, bringing our own interpretation to the viewing, remembering a similar journey or view “.

The mark making visible on the collagraph plate and second image that shows the detail in the plate’s surface demonstrate how important the texture through mark making can characterise and trace Nicky’s relationship to a particular place. Elements and aspects of abstraction make me feel that her imagery is very Australian in a sophisticated and understated way. The texture, flattening of surface and random marks draw in my eye and at the same time disperse that focus into the linear texture that amplifies the sense of stillness and space.

I enjoy how the texture becomes form and atmosphere, and the work while figurative is also abstracted.

Nicky's collagraph

Collagraph techniques are many and varied and generally have a painterly quality in contrast to traditional graphic line drawn etching.

The two vertical chine colle areas began as pieces of masking that were placed on the inked plate, then run through the press, peeled back and turned around and placed onto the print as another element within the  composition.

Nicky presents a sense of void where the viewer can bring to this element their relationship, interpretation and emotions about a particular aspect of this environment. I relate to the sunburnt terrain, aridity and drought resistant vegetation. I almost hear the sound of crackling dry leaves underfoot.

Other collagraphs:

Author: elainedesterre

I have been producing oil paintings, mixed media, prints (etching), digital prints and drawings for many years travelling to the Australian outback and overseas for inspiration and further education. My formal education consists of a PhD in painting and a BA in printmaking and my artwork is represented in public and private collections. My purpose and ongoing challenge is to create a gender-balanced and environment-focused iconography within the Western canon of European oil painting. These themes find expression within imagery about time, memory and identity as well as in geomorphology of evolutionary and environmental significance.

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