Proof: Two decades of printmaking reviewed on Kete


Proof: Two decades of printmaking by Print Council Aotearoa New Zealand has been reviewed on Kete. Peter Simpson says:

‘These are times when, on the one hand, prints as works of art have never had a higher profile in New Zealand, with screenprints and lithographs by artists such as Robin White, Gordon Walters, Don Binney, Bill Hammond and Ralph Hotere selling at auction for many thousands of dollars (more than $30,000 in a few cases).  But, on the other hand, confusion exists (or has re-emerged) between what is a genuine ‘print’ and what is merely a photomechanical reproduction.

Works by popular artists such as Walters and McCahon which are little more than glorified posters are being sold as “lithographs” or “screenprints” with the implication that they are “original art works not “reproductions” and are priced accordingly. It is a subject that calls for clarity and well-informed commentary.

This new book, though not its primary purpose, will serve as an informative guide to what is genuine in the field. The Print Council Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ) is celebrating two decades since its founding in 2000 with this handsome volume largely devoted to quality reproductions of “prints” — that most copious of umbrella-terms — by its more than 150 current members.

In the book, the members are divided into three categories. First are Honorary Members, those who have made “a major sustained contribution to the practice of printmaking.” These are (mostly) household names many of whom have been making prints for more than 50 years: Barry Cleavin, Dee Copland, Rodney Fumpston, Mark Graver, Stanley Palmer, Carole Shepheard, Gary Tricker and Robin White. Each is represented by a single print.

Next come Life Members who have made “exceptional past and present contributions” to PCANZ. There are 15 of these, each accorded two images. Among these are several who have been important in the establishment and continuation of the council including: Ruth Davey, Julia Ellery, Marty Veede, Rita Wearn and Kathy Boyle. Then come more than 120 participating members each represented by a single image. It would be invidious to single out names in what is a clearly a democratic and all-inclusive organisation.’

Read the full review here