Off the Press II is the second iteration of an annual exhibition at Railway Street Gallery in Newmarket showcasing contemporary printmaking processes by artists based in Tāmaki Makaurau. The six artists featured for 2023 are: Ina Arraoui, Maree Brogden, Jude Gordon, Anita Mudaliar, Brie Rate and Rachael Schanzer. Each artist has presented a selection of recent work in response to their concerns about our inner and outer ecologies and our personal relationship to the natural world.
Drawing on her background in healthcare practice, artist Maree Brogden explores the concept of deep ecology which considers the great and small of the relationships of human behaviour and the natural environment. In healthcare practice, the great and small milieu refers to a psychodynamic life, where instinct informs survival. These reflections bear in mind an interrelatedness that has disconnection and disruption in the absence of unison. Her series of layered drypoints are visual symbols for the lifeworld great and small.
Printmaker Anita Mudaliar’s Organography series, examines and deconstructs the patterns and structures from botanical and anatomical tissues using discarded plastic materials through the medium of collagraph printmaking. As a practising GP, she is concerned about how the plastic waste on a larger scale is causing harm and destruction to our ecosystems and is now also being found inside our bodies in the form of microplastics.
Also highlighting how our health and that of our environment is inextricably linked, is the work of printmaker Jude Gordon. The interdependency between the health of human and plant species was also advocated by the ancient Greek philosopher Hippocrates, which her collection of silk mezzotint, lithography and linocut makes reference to. The healing power of plants in the context of Rongoa Maori is touched on, noting that our mental and physical health is connected to how we respect and nurture the natural world.
Brie Rate’s series of woodcuts on handmade paper question our complicated existence in the ecosystem, alongside notions of slow time, mental health, and environmental responsibility. She sees paper making and printmaking as having the ability to speak truthfully to their materials and at the same time, transform our way of seeing them. Her trees are presented as living monuments that manifest dynamic relationships between humans and the living world which should be considered, questioned, and appreciated more often.
Rooted in observation, is the work of printmaker Rachael Schanzer. Her series of prints are multifaceted in the desire to communicate the beauty of coastal areas, while at the same time drawing attention to the increase of human consumerism deposited on the tide lines in recent years. As a result, she has made each work under her own self-imposed restrictions, creating her printing plates using only recycled household waste and packaging as an alert and invitation to reflect on one’s own consumerism.
Also using Tetrapak cartons and discarded nikau palms to create her printing plates, Ina Arraoui’s plant series is part of a broader interest in the symbolism of plants. The moonflower is one of many plants that has been both vilified and venerated over history for both its harmful and healing qualities. These contradictory perceptions, myths and legends are in constant circulation, shifting between the currents and constellations of our imagination and shaping our relationship to the natural world.
Please join us for the opening on Wednesday 11 January from 5pm – 8pm. The exhibition will be up until Saturday 28 January 2023.