1st September, 2014#

A master printer explores flowers and fertility

Canberra Times
August 29, 2014
Dianne Fogwell: Exhibition ‘Inflorescence’

Beaver Galleries, 81 Denison Street, Deakin. ACT. 2600

Dianne Fogwell has been exhibiting professionally since 1978 and her practice has been characterised through its diversity, vibrancy and passion. She is a hyperactive and multifaceted individual, one who refuses to be easily pinned down or compartmentalised.

She is predominantly a printmaker, but she has also ventured into furniture design, she is a recorded jazz singer, and has worked with installations and in collaborative projects.

As an artist, Dianne Fogwell is a builder and compiler, rather than an inventor of the grand gesture. She will create an exquisitely wrought module which becomes the creative epicentre around which other modules are arranged. Her art involves an endless process of adjusting and arranging until an internal harmony is achieved and then the work is complete.

In her studio she has countless trays of small carved lino blocks which she will move around the arena of her picture space until the desired composition becomes apparent and is resolved. The final appearance of the piece frequently appears as much of a surprise to the artist as it does to her audience.

A recurring theme in the present exhibition is that of pollination and cross-fertilisation, the glue which brings life together and guarantees that future generations will come into being. The show consists of oil paintings and relief prints, the latter serving as the backbone and highlight of the display.

A number of the titles I found somewhat puzzling, such as Anthomancy, for one of the big oil paintings. I am assuming from its etymology, ‘anthos’ meaning flower in Greek and ‘manteia’ prophecy, that it deals with making pronouncements about the future by looking at flowers, a bit like ripping petals off daisies to determine if she loves you. Are flowers for Fogwell the canaries in the cage that testify to our planet’s health?

Fogwell’s general anthomania (love of flowers) sees the creation of complex bouquets of flowers, where seashells and ocean plants share the space with birds, butterflies and bees. It becomes a cornucopia of fecundity with precisely observed plants, flowers, marine molluscs, seed pods, insects and birds all crammed into the same space. There is a sense of joy in her celebration of this fecundity and an appeal to all the senses – particularly to smell, touch, taste and sight. And a celebration of the choreography and the frozen music that surrounds all of life.

Her linocuts, particularly Aroma, Hover and Fragrant, are the strongest pieces in the show and see the assembly of her cast of characters, in cut-out lino matrixes, brought together in unexpected juxtapositions. Delicate, exquisite in their detailed articulation, and realised in a soft pastel palette, these prints are charming pieces and breathe a distilled maturity. For the purist, the editioned black and white linocuts Protea, Banksia and Waratah are hard to beat with their crisp classical beauty.

Dianne Fogwell has taught for many years and worked for more years as a professional master printer. In these recent works she adopts a more reflexive attitude as she contemplates the beauty and magic of nature. She celebrates a fragile ecology with a wish and a prayer.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/entertainment/a-master-printer-explores-flowers-and-fertility-20140828-107b0w.html#ixzz3ByobfMCf

Sasha Grishin

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