Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jo Lankester Artist Statement for XXX+Why Group Exhibition 1 May - 27 June 2010

Welcome to my blog on printmaking.                                   © Jo Lankester 2010

Echlin Street Quarry, West End, Townsville      
I create prints depicting the landscape, not just from a representational view, but also an emotional response to the landscape. When I use the combination of drawing and mark making mixed with emotion my works shifts to abstraction, hinting towards landscape but allowing the viewer to read other possibilities in the work.

My work is site specific. In each project or group of prints that I create for exhibition there is an intent to tell a story and give a true sense of place and ideas explored whilst on location, in this case the Echlin Street Quarry, West End, Townsville.

My interest in producing large scale abstract works was developed in my last year of University at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne in 1994, during a field trip to country Victoria. My inspiration was found in the surface of rocks, and in particular the patterns and colours of lichen. I felt compelled to portray the patterned surfaces in the printmaking medium which took on characteristics of abstract landscape. Working on a large scale enabled me to convey the enormity of what I see and feel on location and fit the whole translation onto the plate without restrictions.

My intention is to capture the elements I am exposed to and translate them through mark making directly on the plate, often using rocks or sticks from the environment in the act of creation; to scratch and paint sugarlift on to the surface of the printmaking plates. Connecting with the site on this level is an integral part of my artistic process and engages me on a very powerful level.

I get great satisfaction from preparing the plates, packing a back pack of materials and taking a hike, even if it means carting heavy and often hot aluminium or copper plates up steep hills, through high grasses, or, as was the case at Echlin Street, up a washed out quarry road that had water rushing over it. A beautiful element when working on location is the action of working directly onto the printmaking plate. I can select and delete visual information easily, as opposed to working in my studio from a photograph. While photographs can depict the physical appearance of the landscape, they omit the energy of the site, my reaction to this energy being central to my visual practice.

Unsettling feelings and self doubt can sometimes creep in once I get back to my printmaking studio to prepare the plates for etching. There is a moment in time when I reflect on what I have created and ponder if it is right, if I have succeeded in creating art worthy of exhibition. Ultimately, I have faith and trust in my judgements and move forward.

I enjoy the magic of washing out a sugar-lift and seeing the wild marks I have created using found objects on location, then trusting in those marks to etch and aquatint the way I intended. It is an inconsistent process, one that can deliver brilliant results first go, or be very lengthy to achieve the desired aesthetic.

I am very much in love with the printing process; getting to know the plate intimately as I ink and wipe the plate, familiarising myself with the intricacy of different sections, choosing the colour inks and trying different variations until the print demonstrates my intentions.

Happy printing.
Jo Lankester

P.S. For your fee printmaking expert interview series go to
P.P.S. To purchase my print pictured above, Jo Lankester, Echlin St Quarry Juxtaposition 1b, 2010, Etching Aquatint, 80 x 60 cm $270.00 Edition 10 I can be contacted on or +61400626313
Fortune favours the brave.
Publius Terence

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