1st March, 2016#

studio + excursion workshop on the island of Skopelos in Greece, 16 – 29 May 2016


drawing +linocut + woodcut + book construction workshop 16 – 29 May 2016.

This 2 week workshop is the opportunity to contemplate the people, flora, fauna and the varying range of landscapes found on the island of Skopelos. A creative printmaking intensive – processes available during this workshop include ​linocut + woodblock + the artist book.

The workshop will be delivered as a series of master classes and will give you a comprehensive understanding of the varied applications of relief images, from bold to refined outcomes that can be applied to your own working practice. You will develop your drawing skills and discover the alternative and traditional approaches to the artist book.
for more information    www.skopelosworksonpaper.com

4th January, 2016#

Skopelos workshop 16 – 29 May 2016

10th November, 2015#

Review “INFLORESCENCE” The Street Theatre, 21st and 22nd March 2015

Those arriving for Inflorescence at The Street Theatre were greeted with a dimmed room full of delicate, hand-crafted paper flowers. Butterflies on the walls formed the words “breathe” and “care”. The attention to detail – each crinkled petal, the lace-like perforations on draped paper – was exquisite. The audience settled in as the room plunged into darkness.
Improvisation musician Reuben Lewis on trumpet, accompanied by double bass, drums and electronic percussion, set the mood but never took over the show. The music smoothly transitioned between warm, playful jazz and a foreboding emptiness, punctuated with Morse-like beeps, insect chirps and the sound of a gentle breeze blowing through a desolate forest. Changes in tempo marked the passage of time, shifting from 1920s-esque jazz to sparse electronic beats (and back again).
Meanwhile, visual artist Dianne Fogwell moved carefully through the “garden”, gently placing small beads of light in the heart of flowers and making shadows of butterflies dance across the floor. A long strip of perforated paper ran through the room while other pieces draped, rockily. On taking a closer look, the pinpricks of light were laid out in patterns representing pollen forms, language (Braille), insects and a musical score. This suggested a concern not just with the literal pollination of flowers but with inspiration as a result of the creative cross-pollination between music, language, art and nature itself.
At the end of the performance, there was a long, expectant silence. Fogwell explained that Inflorescence was a brief sketch designed to make us think about pollination. This was a wise decision and a necessary prompt and reminder. Inflorescence claimed to draw inspiration from “the triangle of pollination: the flower, the pollinator and the pollen” (YAH program) but it was not immediately clear that pollination was the focal point. The dreamy performance washed over the audience and could be enjoyed with minimal effort. It did not necessarily compel one to ponder the significance of pollination. The fact that the flowers and butterflies were but beautiful facsimiles seemed, instead, to question how far we’ve come from nature.
Lewis and Fogwell, equal partners in the development and execution of Inflorescence, drew on one another for inspiration. This speaks to the “pollination of new ideas with old”, mentioned in the program. Fogwell mingled with the audience afterwards and was happy to answer questions. This helped to clarify and strengthen her message.
It is difficult to fault a performance as thoughtfully put together as this one. A joyous yet meditative celebration of life, Inflorescence was both visually and aurally beautiful. Without Fogwell’s closing comments and willingness to engage with the audience however, its messages about pollination risked being lost. It was the type of performance that will go on to inspire others and this, perhaps, was its true aim.

by Shu-Ling Chua

for ScissorsPaperPen

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

15th August, 2014#

‘Inflorescence’ installation / performance Sydney and Melbourne

“Pollinisers, pollinators and pollination are part of an exacting process that is fundamental to the world’s food source and usually goes unnoticed, quietly working away in the background of our daily lives. There is an intrinsic beauty to this process that has formed the basis of my contemplations leading to the work in this exhibition. When moths, butterflies, bees and others visit to harvest their essence it is a choreography that nature has performed throughout history. In these encounters, the flowers disclose their secret to the pollinators, who take it home in the form of scent and taste.” – Dianne Fogwell

Musicians Reuben Lewis, James Greening, Miroslav Bukovsky, Ronny Ferella, Geoff Hughes and master printmaker Dianne Fogwell come together to contemplate the natural choreography of pollination. Drawing on their accumulated history and perforated backgrounds in jazz, groove-music and free improvisation the ensemble will explore the sympathetic resonances found in this hidden world of Dianne’s artwork; illuminating memories of pollinators planted, plucked, gathered, observed and listened to.





Presented with support from Colbourne Avenue and the Sydney Fringe Festival.

Start time & door price TBA

10th August, 2014#

Infloresence performance

Reuben Lewis will be playing a short performance at the opening of the exhibition ‘ Inflorescence’ at Beaver Galleries  on the 21st August at 6pm.  Hope to see you there.

27th September, 2012#

The Canberra Times article – The gentle strokes of recognition

13th September, 2011#

Fogwell’s work refuses to yield secrets

Dr Sasha Grishin, 

Canberra Times review of the Beaver Gallery exhibition.

The Canberra-based artist Dianne Fogwell, is a master craftsman with an exceptional command of printmaking technologies. She is also an artist who is particularly obsessed with the surfaces of her works.

Dianne Fogwell has refused to stand still or lock herself into a particular style or idiom. Today, at age 53, she is reinventing herself as a fantasist – a creator of dream-like realities, but set within a specific Canberra “wonderscape”. Perhaps to say reinventing a slightly misleading, as the fantastic element has always been present in her art, but now it has become the most prominent element. Living in an inner north suburb of Canberra, she observes, samples and collects elements of the natural environment which surround her – leaves, flowers and butterfly wings – and weaves them together into a fantasy-like narrative.

She also dislikes the transparency of means in her art making and enjoys the element of surprise. As the viewer stares into her dense radiating surfaces there is a quality of alchemy about the work – we are never quite certain exactly how it was done. A major piece in the exhibition, “The Musicians (2008)”, has a great complexity in its surface where Fogwell has combined linocut and wood cut designs with oil-painted imagery mounted on gesso on panel. The flowers and butterflies appear suspended in space or drafting on an invisible breeze. Structurally she thinks as a printmaker, with a constant layering of surfaces, and she invites the viewer to dissolve into her compositions.

Other pieces in the exhibition, such as “journey” involve more of a mapping dimension but perhaps less of a physical movement through space and more of a daydream about space. Incidents, comic and ephemeral, diaries and objects, dreams, yearnings and multiple realities all play a part in many of her works in this exhibition.

Having observed and admired Fogwell’s art for more than two decades, I never cease to be amazed by the fecundity of her imagination.

She manages to combine that which is very personal and intimate with an Alice in Wonderland – like innocence and shares that sense of discovery with the beholder.

Refusing to categorised and pigeon-holed within a particular stylistic orientation, Fogwell certainly is what the print media call an “original”. With a distinctive yet constantly changing voice.

22nd August, 2010#

Peoples Choice Award

I have received the Peoples Choice Award for the Mount Eyre Vineyards Art Prize, Rex Livingston Gallery, Sydney 2010 and the Peoples choice award for the Print and Drawing Award, Swan Hill Regional Gallery, Victoria, 2010. I was also selected finalist in the following awards

  • 2010 ‘Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize’, The Croydon, Sydney. NSW.
  • ‘Swan Hill Drawing and Print Prize’, Swan Hill Regional Gallery, VIC.
  • ‘Mount Eyre Art prize’, Rex Livingston Gallery, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2009 ‘The Stanthorpe Art Festival’, Stanthorpe Regional Gallery, QLD.
  • ‘The Cricket Art Prize’, touring exhibition – Sydney Cricket Ground, NSW, Harrup Park Country Club Mackay, QLD.
  • The Bradman Museum, Moss Vale, NSW.
  • ‘Burnie Print Prize’, Burnie Art Gallery, TAS
13th July, 2008#

The possibility of serendipity

In the process of creating artworks Dianne Fogwell rejects the idea of pre-imagining an image or an idea, preferring to think about something; a tree, wind, drought. From the first drawn or carved line, through to the choice of forms and colour and the building of layers, her images and ideas start to emerge. For the viewer entering the world of the artworks and looking for her intended narrative, then finding another personal meaning of their own, is unexpected and pleasing. These are, for the artist and the viewer, the surprising and beautiful moments of serendipity, the making of desirable but un-sought for discoveries.

Fogwell’s terrain where serendipity occurs has been formed by her extensive personal artistic practice and teaching, and her expertise as a master printmaker. Although aspects of her practice have changed and evolved there are existing threads which connect and strengthen the new directions. In the 1996 exhibition catalogue “A Matter of Making: CSA Alumni”, Fogwell commented on how she and other artists construct or reinforce their notion of reality. “It is my perception that on the plate, in the book or on the canvas there is a momentary balance of forces: a space where I can be between realities.” This continues to be the place where she explores, questions, summons, embroiders and celebrates.

Unlike other bodies of her work, which have more literal and biographical surroundings, narratives and moods, this, her first exhibition at the Catherine Asquith Gallery, is more concerned with the process of transition. These transitions between realities are temporal, at the intersection of the natural and the manmade, are both personal and universal and have cultural reference. The works are a complex layering of ideas, images, inks and pressure; the combination of which results in unique-state linoleum and wood-relief prints. Fogwell starts with the grounds of stained colour and translucent metallic inks, applying a series of incised and drawn immersive environments, then embosses, stamps, brushes and imprints text and objects to describe the layers of meaning and metaphor.

For the past six years Fogwell has cut into blocks to create what she calls ‘an alphabet of images’. To her “…they have become a personal iconography and when I place these elements in sequences or in layers they allow space to imagine’” An alphabet only makes sense when its letters, characters or elements are combined to form a language of shared meaning. Individually they are only what they appear; a feather, a shoe or a word.

The invention of moveable type was the springboard for the printing of books. It brought ideas to an infinitely wider readership democratising the written word. Fogwell’s moveable alphabet is a myriad of birds, plants, flowers, animals, moths, buttons, shoes and fish. Whereas the English language alphabet may be confined to 26 letters, her growing lexicon of images (now numbering over 400 characters) and its articulation of ideas can be infinite.

The flora and fauna of Fogwell’s iconic alphabet are Australian species. Relying on keen observation and intuition each is drawn directly on the block often from different angles and in different scales, so when they appear together in the same picture plane, movement and relative distances are conveyed.

A residency on the island of Skopelos, Greece in 2002 sharpened Fogwell’s awareness of the natural elements and unobtrusive everyday objects. Her heightened observation and valuing of these is evident in her drawing, imbuing them with meaning and their careful arrangement. Resulting works are simplified and more pared down to allow for an interplay between objects and atmosphere. The distance of geography, history and culture is often the precursor to such shifts in an artist’s practice.

Serendipity 2007 is a large and immersive environment flowing across four paper panels. Spread across the gallery floor it invites the viewer to wander into the carpet of leaves no longer fresh and green, their colour fading and edges curling against approaching winter. This carpet is so deep it is not possible to see the ground; so densely packed, the discarded necktie, an antique iron and moths with their wings spread, must all rest gently on its surface.

In talking about intense personal connection to her works Fogwell gives us insight into the work Confirmation 2008. “…a gush of wind that has disturbed the layer of your skin. You feel warm inside but gradually getting colder towards the outer layer. Like a tree with its leaves being blown off: there is a moment when the leaves are not on the tree, but they are still in the air together.” For the viewer, by the time the eye has travelled down the opposite side of the work to its base, the negative spaces surrounding the flocking birds, have instead become the positive description of their form.

It is a branch and swirl of aerodynamically shaped leaves that bind the two sheeted work Surrender 2008. Blush coloured seed pods holding close the potential of their life tumble in the eddy of a breeze. The sense of movement at a particular point in time is also strong in the works Terrain 1 & Terrain 11 2008. The water, having just retreated, has left flotsam and jetsam. Rivulets have disturbed a smooth surface leaving it grainy. Fish and driftwood forms angled towards the centre of the activity direct the eye in expectation. Bleached shells are suspended in the moment, the lines of their chronology indicating an accumulated texture of life.

Fogwell’s work also refers to the politics of our time: to refugees, drought and the resource of water. Proclamation 2008 is part of a meditation on the ‘unthrown children’ and the 2001 Tampa crisis. Ideas were floated and formed, images purported to be real were discovered to have other less malignant meanings, and the space between the realities was divided by law, cultural prejudice and politics. The work’s silver and gold metallic pages hold two sets of important and tightly written texts running in different directions to each other in echo of Asian, Arabic and early Christian scripts of worship. Within the illegible text there is a challenge to understand, a stirring movement and the evidence of the human hand.

Just as the paper Fogwell chooses to ground her prints is of a robust composition, able tolerate the pushing of its boundaries with multiple press passes, marks and stamps, her approach to her work is explorative, demanding and multi-layered. Like life itself they are part of a continuous movement. Within this fluid nexus of artistic practice and everyday life there is always the possibility of serendipity.

Katherine Wilkinson Melbourne July 2008 1102 words