Second symposium (1992)

Print; Theory, History, Practice & Politics 1960-90

Second Australian Print Symposium

National Gallery of Australia, 9-11 October 1992

Convenor: Roger Butler, Curator Australian Prints, Posters and Illustrated Books, National Gallery of Australia

The Second Australian Print Symposium was structured to complement the exhibition My Head is a Map which celebrated ten years of acquisitions acquired from the Gordon Darling Australasian Print Fund.

During the period 1982-92 the National Gallery of Australia acquired over 1400 items for the print collection through the Gordon Darling Australasian Print Fund. These ranged from small, traditional, delicately worked etchings to large mural-sized multi-plate prints in which the plates have been marked with an electric grinder. Also acquired were works produced by lithography and screenprinting as well as newer processes such as electrostatic prints and computer-generated images.

Prints from all states and territories in Australia were represented in acquisitions, as were the near neighbouring countries of Aotearoa New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Western Samoa in the Australasian region. The exhibition Affirmations of Heritage: Prints by Australasia's First Inhabitants shown in January 1992 at the National Gallery of Australia demonstrated the depth of the Gallery's important holdings of this material.

My Head is a Map was not an exhibition of 'printmaking now' but rather a survey of work produced during the years 1982-1992. In formulating the exhibition it was decided not to attempt to include works by all the artists who had produced significant prints during the decade (it would have been an impossible task). Instead thematic groups of works by a small number of artists producing prints were selected relating to a recurring theme in recent Australian art - location in its many manifestations.

The choice of speakers for the symposium was closely linked with the exhibition (5 of the speakers were represented). The papers amplified the themes in the exhibition and provided an historical and theoretical background to the decade.

Keynote Address

Alphabet/haemorrhage: Performance and printmaking.
Mike Parr

Mike Parr is a leading contemporary Australian artist who is known for his outstanding work in the areas of performance and conceptual art, video and drawing. Parr produced his first prints in 1988 and since that time has produced an impressive body of work. The Australian National Gallery has a comprehensive collection of Parr’s prints. His mural sized series Language and chaos I, II, and III, is included in the exhibition My Head is a Map.



Art as printmaking: The deterritorialised print.
Charles Green

Charles Green is a Melbourne-based artist and critic.

The TECHNO-FETISH in printmaking.
Graeme Cornwell

Graeme Cornwell is a Sydney-based print artist currently teaching lithography at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales

Why printmakers can’t talk.
Robert Nelson

Robert Nelson is Lecturer, History of Art and Design, Monash University, Caulfield Campus


New Technology: impacts on print imagery.
Anne Kirker

Anne Kirker is Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs at the Queensland Art Gallery

My electric visions.
Diane Mantzaris

Diane Mantzaris is a Melbourne-based printmaker who utilises computer generated images in her work

Returning to Venusburg. Discrete and overt perversions, a fascination with intercourse.
Neil Emmerson

Neil Emmerson is a Melbourne-based artist, sometime custom printer and itinerant teacher.

Cultural identity

Links with Asia.
Alison Carroll

Alison Carroll Visual Arts Manager, Asia Link was formerly Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Being in the Pacific.
Robin White

Robin White, New Zealand born artist and teacher, lives on the Central Pacific Islands of Kirribati. She exhibits regularly New Zealand and Australia

Forms of ID: Printmaking and issues of cultural identity.
Clare Williamson

Clare Williamson is Assistant Curator Prints, Drawings and Photographs, Queensland Art Galler. Her thesis was on Political posters in Queensland.

In grandmothers country.
Judy Watson

Judy Watson is an Aboriginal Australian printmaker born Mundubbera, Queensland

Poster Art

Accordion to Mao’: The heroic and democratic era of the poster in Australia 1975–1985.
Ann Stephen

Ann Stephen, Curator of Social History, Powerhouse Museum and Michael Callaghan, Redback Graphix, Sydney.

Don’t get mad, get even: the ancient art of communication in a technological age.
Julia Church

Julia Church is a Melbourne-based writer, graphiste, and teacher.

The Introduction of Formal Print Education in the 1960s

Melbourne printmaking in the 1960s.
Tate Adams

Tate Adams who trained as a printmaker in Melbourne and Dublin, Ireland, initiated the Diploma of Art (Printmaking) at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in 1960. He was Director of Crossley Gallery and Editions and Lyrebird Press.

The evolution of printmaking and art education in South Australia in the 1960s.
Udo Sellbach

Udo Sellbach who trained as a printmaker in Germany, established printmaking departments in tertiary art schools in South Australia (1960), and later in Hobart and Canberra.

The Sydney Scene in the 1960s.
Earle Backen

Earle Backen, a Sydney-based artist, studied printmaking with Stanley Hayter at his Paris Atelier 17. He helped introduce printmaking in tertiary institutions in New South Wales in the 1960s.

Selling, promoting and documentation

Selling the work, my experiences with commercial galleries, Australia and overseas.
Jorg Schmeisser

Jorg Schmeisser is head of Printmaking at the Canberra Institute of the Arts.

Facing Facts – a partnership in hard times.
Helen Maxwell

Helen Maxwell is Director of aGOG (Australian girls own gallery), Canberra

Documents of the lost printmakers: only you can provide the information.
John Thomson

John Thomson is Deputy and Acquisitions Librarian, Australian National Gallery

Organising Printmakers

Open session

Griffith Artworks
Fire Station
Newcastle Print Workshop
Print Circle
Print Council of Australia Inc.
South Australian Print workshop
Southern Printmakers
Sydney Printmakers
Umbrella Studio
Western Australian Printmakers Association

Printing and Publishing

Custom-Printing: The Australian Experience 1960–1990s.
Julie Robinson

Julie Robinson is Assistant Curator, Prints, Drawings and Photographs at the Art Gallery of South Australia

Love prints.
Ray Arnold

Ray Arnold is a Hobart-based artist, poster and printmaker

Publish or die. Reflections on the Courts and Jester portfolio, Ars Multiplicata and contemporary Australian artists prints.
Jeff Gibson

Jeff Gibson is a Sydney-based artist and writer. He was the screen printer of the Courts and Jesters Portfolio