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

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…

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…

Nillumbik Prize 2011

Nillumbik Prize 2011 Peter Wegner Man Resting 2011 Oil on canvas 153x123cm (detail) The Nillumbik Prize Exhibition opens at Montsalvat's Barn tomorrow evening at 6pm. I whipped in… 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…

Dena Ashbolt. Artist in Residence Montsalvat.

Dena Ashbolt. Artist in Residence Montsalvat. Dena Ashbolt is Montsalvat's latest artist in residence. She arrived there over a week ago and will be there for six weeks in all.… More…

Montsalvat metal work

Montsalvat Metal Work Metal work can be found on buildings all over Montsalvat. Here are just a few examples. A lot of it is recycled from other places. More…

David Moore teacher Montsalvat

David Moore- Teacher Montsalvat David Moore teaches oil painting in the cottage at Montsalvat. He's been teaching there for many years and has a dedicated following of students,… More…

Kavisha Mazzella

Kavisha Mazzella I so looked forward to this interview. When I saw that Kavisha was launching her CD 'Love and Sorrow' at Montsalvat, I was pretty excited. What fun sitting in her… More…

Simon Baigent

Simon Baigent at Montsalvat Simon has lived and worked at Montsalvat since 1973. He is tightly woven into the fabric of the place. Staff at The Meeting Pool (Montsalvat's… More…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Fu Hong

Fu Hong - a Retrospective Exhibition FU Hong Window I, oil on canvas, 152 x 122cm. (Photograph courtesy of the artist) The above painting is one of many being exhibited in the… 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 Ashbolt. Almost there!

Dena Ashbolt... almost there! Apart from some finishing touches with ink, Dena's work is complete. It's looking great... Tomorrow is the last day of her residency and she will… 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…

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…

Susan Reddrop cont...

Susan Reddrop cont... (Front) Theses photos came in today from Susan Reddrop. Another great piece. Here's a commentary in her own words... "called 'Table Ornament for… More…

Engaging Form

Engaging Form Maria Vanhees, More Than Skin-Deep ll, earthenware, press-mould and coil built, soda fired, H47 x W53 x D34cm. 2009 (detail) Feast your eyes on these examples from… 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.