Wellington based artist Denise Durkin creates expressive, abstract monoprints, brimming with life as she continues to explore the boundaries of mark-making in her arts practice. https://inaarraoui.com/denise-durkin/
At the beginning of lockdown I embarked on this ambitious project which I knew could keep me busy in isolation for the unpredictable weeks ahead of me. This triptych is comprised of three A4 woodblock panels, starting with the key block and then creating three more blocks to add colours. The style references Japanese woodblocks, known as ukiyo-e, where three blocks were frequently used to depict a narrative, often including animals, birds and landscapes.
This narrative piece is inspired by the female leopard escaped Auckland Zoo in 1925. For three weeks the public feared for their lives, locking themselves inside and even taking up arms in case they came face-to-face with the “spotted fury”. Her reign of terror ended when she was found by a group of fishermen, drowned and floating at the mouth of the Tamaki river near Karaka Bay.
This work speaks to the fragility of the ecosystems that make up our natural environment and the responsibility society has to take action to protect them. The Tamaki Estuary gives food and shelter to thousands of endemic and international migratory birds. Many of these species, including the banded dotterel, Eastern bar-tailed godwit, royal spoonbill and pied shag, are under threat due to increased human activity. The fact that little is done when the detriment of our actions is clear as day, raises the question of whether it’s in our human nature to make drastic change in the face of danger that doesn’t affect us directly. Or can a leopard indeed change it’s spots?
This is a unique single edition print. Contact me if you are interested in purchasing it.
Happy New Year everyone! So far 2020 has been like a dream, getting to work every morning in the Il Bisonte Printmaking studio in Florence alongside talented print people, technicians and tutors. It’s been such a challenge being completely out of my comfort zone of relief printing and learning all about etching and the many techniques that come under the umbrella of this process, such as aquatint, Gum arabic, chine Cole, dry-point, spit-bite, soft ground……..the list is endless! I’ve got total FOMO and want to try everything all at once.
This print above is my first multi-technique etching using hard ground, gum arabic and aquatint. A lot of work yet to do on it but was thrilled to discover I can achieve similar poetics of bold lines, shapes and patters, which attracts me to woodblock and stencils. There is so much I’m learning everyday and not just technically but how to get the different elements of the image to speak to each other and embody an idea.
And just when I think – hey, that’s quite good, my tutors show me something even more mind-blowingly beautiful that makes me want to try again and keep pushing my boundaries.
So, yeah, probably won’t have heaps of time for updates for the next 6 months while Im on this journey, but I’ll keep you all updated on FB and insta.