Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/rokcommon/RokCommon/Registry.php on line 381

Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/rokcommon/RokCommon/Registry.php on line 394
isiiad - Michael Schlitz Winner of The Rick Amor Print Prize

Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/gantry/core/utilities/gantryregistry.class.php on line 326

Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/gantry/core/utilities/gantryregistry.class.php on line 339

Michael Schlitz- Winner of the Rick Amor Print Prize 2011

MSchlizte_desert_girl_s

Desert Girl woodcut on kozo 76x56cm

 

Of his winning piece, Michael says, "Desert Girl is an amalgam of two personalities I have known in the past."

Montsalvat is currently hosting the exhibition of prints submitted for the Rick Amor Print Prize.  It's a stunning collection well worth a trip out to Eltham.  This years winner, Michael Schlitz, lives and works in Tasmania.  Above is his winning work and below more prints by Michael from this series.  He offered me the following quotation from Artlink to describe his work.

"In Michael’s large scale woodprints, he often depicts a solitary man seemingly trapped or encompassed by nature. They exude a dark melancholy which undermines any temptation to see the works as whimsical surrealism.


'His work is neither simplistically auto-biographic or didactic about his ideals and love of the environment that he lives in. It would be fairer to say that his work represents an extension of both his life and ideals.'  - Simon Mee, University of Southern Queensland gallery curator.

 

His prints are hand burnished onto hand made Japanese Kozo paper. Kozo being a plant [Broussonetia kajinoki] which provides a paper that is used for its softness, sensitivity and absorbency in the traditional art of relief woodblock printing.

MSchlizta_desertflower

The title of Michael Schlitz' latest exhibition of woodcut prints, at the Bett Gallery in Hobart, is significant on two levels. It refers quite specifically to an ongoing engagement with the 'natural' environment, but also wryly alludes to the manner in which we operate with it – and within it.
At a time when 'political art' seems to be enjoying resurgence all over the planet, the issues for artists who wish to express concerns about the environment and the degradation of the natural environment are complex. In Europe at present there is a decided leaning towards a post-conceptual 'an-aesthetic' approach where the primary concerns of many artists would seem to be to avoid traditional media and use the space of the gallery or art institution to elicit a dialogue or engage in pedagogy. Such an approach owes little to the crafts of arts practice and presents as a bland encounter with texts and images and perhaps video, designed primarily to educate. It is almost as if such artists have decided that the only way to deal with such issues is not to 'cloud' or 'confuse' an idea with the sensual. A key issue in terms of art-making is the nature of 'crafting' itself. The establishment of a sympathetic relation to a material, and the development of a certain virtuosity in its manipulation, (such as Schlitz possesses), should not be things to be denigrated or ignored.

MSchlitzh_father_and_child_09

Thankfully, Schlitz' prints remain firmly inside the aesthetic tradition and yet are capable of exploring the nuances of our fraught relationship with the natural world. He is also able to add to the tradition of printmaking itself – no mean feat. Of all the traditional art forms printmaking is often the quietest and least arresting, yet Schlitz has produced a suite of powerful images, aesthetically sophisticated yet never prioritising the formal over content. Here the issues and the images are wedded in a simple and eloquent balance, a bit like the difference between poetry and prose.
In all of these works the images are centralised and monumental, consisting of a simple human image and a tree or landscape. His method of detailed cutting of the whole surface of the block gives the prints a unity and an internal connectedness not usually present in this medium which generally relies for its effects on stark areas of black and white. Schlitz achieves a complex and subtle range of tonalities and contrasts through many depths of black/grey/white as well as the variety of depth and width in the line. These techniques are exemplified in Mangrove boy and Two inverted trees, (both from 2005) and go far beyond simply addressing the contentious issues such as clear felling and logging of old growth forests. Instead they depict a relationship with nature which refers to a more timeless, even mystical engagement with forests and invites comparisons with the Japanese tradition.

MSchlizti_water_table_well09

Our relationship with nature is depicted from a variety of points of view, all unsullied by editorialising on the artist's part. The character in one image is carrying two saplings, perhaps to plant them, (although he may equally have just torn them from the ground); in Forester another's face is depicted as the face of the cut tree, implying perhaps that what we do to a tree, (the environment), we in some ways do to ourselves. There is psychic room to enter into these works. The direct and powerful medium of woodblock ensures that the ideas are never harmlessly aestheticised and the scale of the prints underscores this, some as large as 138cm by 125cm.

It seems appropriate that the artist's concerns are expressed through the medium of woodcut, given their subject matter and it is refreshing to encounter an artist who has the capacity to eloquently address issues of concern.That he can do so and add something new and significant to an ancient tradition is all the more creditable." Sean Kelly Artlink

RickAmorExhib_s

My thanks to Michael for allowing me to reproduce his work and for providing information for this blog.

For more information about Montsalvat and the Rick Amor Prize go to Montsalvat's website. For a great documentary about Rick Amor's work, shown on the ABC Sunday Arts Program, go to this link.

Parent Category: Arts
Facebook Image

Symbols of Loss and Recovery

Symbols of Loss and Recovery I had such an adventure finding Leanne Mooney's studio last Friday. It's out on a dirt track at Christmas Hills, across a creek and through the bush.… More…

Stonework and sculptural details.

Stonework and sculptural details. On my first visit to Montsalvat, I noticed the big picture. The buildings, the large sculptures, the steps, stairs and pathways. The things that… More…

The Rug Maker of Mazar-e-Sharif

The Rug Maker of Mazar-e-Sharif Montsalvat is currently showing rugs and embroideries from the Middle East, courtesy of writer and carpet seller Najaf Mazari. Najaf is well known… More…

"Urge" -A Celebration

"Urge"- A Celebration The night after Susan Reddrop delivered her work to the MARS Gallery for this exhibition, she delivered another precious gift to the world. That night, her… More…

Timothy Clarkson Ceramic Artist

Timothy Clarkson Ceramic Artist The great news from Montsalvat is that more studios have been made available for new artists to join the arts community there. Before Christmas I… More…

Beyond the Trees

Beyond the Trees- A celebration of Thomas Lloyd Guitars. A guitar is shaped like the body of a beautiful woman. All sensuous curves and smooth 'skin'. Any wonder that they're… More…

Farewell Matcham

Farewell Matcham. Today is a sad day for Montsalvat. Friends and family of Matcham Skipper will gather to give him a fond farewell at 3pm today. Matcham passed away last week at… More…

Ruth Marshall

Ruth Marshall I was beside myself with excitement about meeting Ruth Marshall. What would you say the chances were of me missing meeting her in New York last year by a day, only… More…

Chair of the Board-Morag Fraser

Chair of the Board- Morag Fraser It's true to say that over the last month and a bit, I've fallen completely and utterly in love with Montsalvat. If you've read the Montsalvat… More…

New Montsalvat Studio for Jeanette Dyke

New Montsalvat Studio for Jeanette Dyke I'm pretty happy working from home at my little piece of Warrandyte heaven, but I have to admit that this workspace did have me feeling… More…

"Urge"

"Urge" (Susan's work from a previous exhibition, in her studio at Malvern.) I've got a photo of a piece from Susan Reddrop's exhibition "Urge", due to open next Wednesday. I was… More…

Dena's Progress cont...

Dena's Progress cont... The key aspect of this piece of work is beginning to emerge. It's scale is not obvious from the photo. It's approximately two and a half meters long by… More…

jan preston

Jan Preston When I was young, my dear old Dad introduced me to Dixieland Jazz. Whenever it came on the radio he would get this big grin on his face and point out features of the… More…

Dena Ashbolt's Grand Finale

Dena Ashbolt's Grand Finale. It seems fitting that the last post in the official Month in Montsalvat series should be the final pics of Dena Ashbolt's stunning work, done during… More…

Lyndal Walker

Lyndal Walker How audacious of me to take a photo of a photographic artist. I cant help myself though. As you see, Lyndal Walker, photographer and latest Artist in Residence at… More…

Sue Thomas

Sue Thomas Sue enjoys nothing more than playing around with textile ideas in her tiny studio at Montsalvat. She shares the studio with her daughter Amy Skipper, grand daughter of… More…

Montsalvat's Concert of Musical Ideas

Montsalvat's Concert of Musical Ideas. Last week I had a rare, exquisite pleasure. Montsalvat's latest Artist in Residence, composer, ethnomusicologist and dance anthropologist… More…

The Whistler, Matcham Skipper

The Whistler, Matcham Skipper 1922-2011 I wish I'd met Matcham Skipper. His farewell gave me a glimpse of him. Whistler, story teller, father of many. I've seen his work of… More…

Michael Schlitz Winner of The Rick Amor Print Prize

Michael Schlitz- Winner of the Rick Amor Print Prize 2011 Desert Girl woodcut on kozo 76x56cm Of his winning piece, Michael says, "Desert Girl is an amalgam of two personalities I… More…

Montsalvat extension

Montsalvat Extension As I suspected, a Month in Montsalvat just wasn't enough. It officially ends today but I still want to bring you a special tribute to Matcham Skipper, a piece… More…

Copyright

THIS ENTIRE SITE © 2010-2012 ISIIAD. ALL OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND WRITTEN MATERIAL HEREIN, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ARE COPYRIGHTED BY ISIIAD. NO PART OF THIS SITE, OR ANY OF THE CONTENT CONTAINED HEREIN, MAY BE USED OR REPRODUCED IN ANY MANNER WHATSOEVER WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.