Helen Cole, Librarian, Australian Library of Art, SLQ
launches Wight’s artist’s book Posted
29 August 2009
in conjunction with the launch an exhibition of the entire known output of Wight’s postcards and artist’s books and other material will run from
29 August – 26 September
1. Posted, 2009
Each month over a 10 month period from October 2007 to July 2008 the artist made a postcard in an edition of 40, which she posted each month to a ‘select few’ including family members and friends in Australia and overseas.
The project was titled ‘then and there 1937 – 1946’, a period full of upheaval for many Australian families including the Wight family.
‘then and there’ is based on a group of photographs, many with comments and sometimes drawings on the back, of the family from this period. They were sent by Wight’s mother in Victoria to her sister living in North-West Western Australia and were returned to the artist in 2007.
Posted is about the making of that through-the-post artwork and about her father’s postings during WWII. The book opens with a reproduction of the first postcard – the artist’s father with a drawing from the back of the photograph of the house he planned to build on the Mornington Peninsula. The postcard is titled ‘c. 1937 father – car – dream’. Wight’s father, a RAAF pilot, planned to build a ‘long-low-white-house’ on this site – a dream never to be fulfilled. His aircraft disappeared in New Guinea during the war and was not found until some 20 years later.
Like memory ‘Posted’ jumps back and forth and is neither a chronological report on the family nor on the decade. The artist’s jottings are preparatory notes to go with the page image. The postage stamps are indicative of the ‘through-the-post’ project and sometimes point to the specific ‘postcard’. Page 4 shows the garage – the beginnings of the ‘long-low-white-house’. It became the family’s home from 1942 – 1949’, and the postage stamp of a Border Collie. A Border Collie being the family’s pet at that time. The ‘Postage Paid Australia’ rubber stamp was made for posting Wight’s exhibition invitations to her show held in 1994 at grahame galleries + editions.
On page 7 the notation from the back of photograph, ‘On this site we hope to build a ‘long-low-white house’, is transposed across the photograph. At the bottom of this page the artist writes, ‘The evaporation of dreams.’ It is true that this decade evaporated many dreams. Posted is nevertheless full of hope.
2. A Sort of Diary, 1986/87 A handmade book made as a personal gesture of thanks to the people Normana met and worked with at Peacock Printmakers in Aberdeen, Scotland from November 1986 to February 1987. The book was begun in Scotland and completed back in Australia between March and May 1987. It comprises screenprints on handmade and recycled rag paper (60 sheets), and a ring-binder covered with screenprinted Japanese Kozo paper (silver and grey). 23.0 x 19.0 x 4.0 cm. Edition of 2. Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; National Library of Australia A Sort of Diary is not on display. Both copies are held in public collections, see above. A number of trial proofs are on view.
3. Jam Doughnuts – Fragments of Foreign Food, 1989 Two booklets (19.5 x 19.0 x 10.0 cm) housed in ‘Kodak’ box with screenprinted cover with text ‘Jam Doughnuts Fresh Daily’. Covers screenprinted in 4 colours on BFK Rives. The main book shows display windows filled with sumptuous arrays of foreign food from the ‘Pork Pies at Harrods’ to the ‘Coquilles St. Jacques à la Rouen’. The fixed accordion structure is screenprinted in 12 colours and printed in two sections – joined. The 2nd book, an open accordion format, carries handwritten recipes screenprinted in one colour of the ‘goodies’ from the display windows. In 1978 on a visit to the V&A artists’ books collection Wight saw a smallish cookbook with prints by various artists – French c. 1928. The book’s cover was shelving-type chequered paper and was very elegantly type set with coloured capitals with etchings by Bonnard, Vuillard etc. During that trip, and a later one, Wight took many photos of food, window displays mostly. In 1980-81 she made colour separations from slides and tried to plan how to use them for her own cookbook. The project came to a standstill with page one. Cost and how to make it unified and “natural” were the problems. Wight made a single print The Cookbook That Never Was (see under prints). The idea was then shelved until mid-1989, when she started again on a smaller, simpler scale. Wight photocopied the original images, collaged, drew and wrote on them, then photographed them again for silkscreen transparencies. Edition of 6. Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; National Gallery of Australia; Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane. (The box container of copy for sale in this exhibition does not have screenprinted cover) ($990.00)
4. The Book of Bitzer Fragments, 1990 ‘Bitzer’ was one of the artist’s favourite companions as a young child. As his worn appearance and ‘button-eye’ attests, he was much loved. Handed-down to the artist’s brother, Jamie, to whom the book is dedicated, ‘Bitzer’ acquired a knitted jacket. In 1989, whilst preparing for an exhibition at Grahame Galleries in Brisbane, ‘Bitzer’ re-emerged. Photocopied images from watercolours and drawings made for book. Printed on Japanese paper. 21.0 x 30.0 cm. Edition of 20. Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; Baillieu Library, University Melbourne; Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane; Monash University, Melbourne; University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba Collection of the Centre for the Artist’s Book. (nfs)
5. Garden Booklet, 1990 Gesso and watercolour on canvas. 5.0 x 6.0 cm. Height with plinth 22.0 cm. Unique. Collection of the Centre for the Artist ‘sBook, Brisbane (nfs)
6. A small handbook, 1990 (no image) Watercolour on handmade paper, gesso, hand-sewn. Cover canvas. c. 24.0 x 32.0 cm. Unique. Collection of the artist. (nfs)
7. Fruit-Homage, 1991 Suite of 9 screen-printed postcards made as a homage to some artists who made notable images of fruit. The work is also about the postcard as part of the postal service, each 12.0 x 20.0 cm on 300 gsm acid free University board reflecting the artist’s ongoing project. Each postcard is a ‘through-the-post’ or ‘post-object’ addressed: Artists’ Books Exhibition Grahame Galleries at Milton posted at regular intervals from September 1991. Packaged in screenprinted folder. Edition of 20. Titles: Homage to Sanchez Cotàn / Homage to S. Cotàn – Cool /A Zen Homage / Intense Zen / Numero Uno Symbolic Fruit-Dark / More homage to George B / Obscure Pears / Bananas at Caligari / Cream Bananas Collection of Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane (nfs)
8. Enigma – a mantle – piece, 1994 Edition of 3. Collections: Artspace Mackay. ($130.00)
9. An Egg in the Hand – An Electronic Primer, 1996 The egg, an ancient symbol is used here as potential cooking – raw egg in hand, in front of Giovanni Bellini’s Enthroned Madonna & Child With Saints, with extra eggs. The meaning in the painting is about virgin birth, and the egg, an ostrich egg. In this book they all end up making a kind of primer of some of the visual manipulations, which the Photoshop programme can work into the scanned collage. 23.0 x 19.5 cm. Edition of 4. Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland. ($130.00)
10. The Egg As Symbol – A Frustrating Book, 1996 (no image) Screen-print cross-concertina construction housed in a clear plastic container. A self-explanatory frustrating experience. Case 10.0 x 10.0 cm. Edition of 6 Collections: Artspace Mackay ($550.00)
11. Tea: A User’s Guide, 1999 An instructional handbook on how to make a cup of tea. Digital prints on Arches Aquarelle paper in Accordion book. Linen covers with heat transfer print. Concertina format. 18.0 x 22.5 cm. Edition of 10 (only three were printed) Collections: Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne ($770.00) 12. Small Ceremonies Notebook, 1996/2000 (no image) A working record of the artist’s post-graduate project – digital prints mounted on watercolour paper, photocopies on tracing paper. Metal spiral binding. Cover finished in colour-laser print. Folder cover: brown cloth Fred Pohlmann 18.6 x 28 x 3.8 cm. Unique. Collection of the artist. (nfs)
13. Notebook, 2001 (no image) Made as a record of a residency at Victoria Tapestry Workshop during 3 months thanks to the Australia Council. Digital prints on rag paper and photocopies on tracing paper. Spiral bound. Covers covered with colour-laser prints. Edition of 2. Collection of the artist. (nfs)
14. La Danse, 2001 Digital print. A concertina book, small paintings of pears, scanned, enlarged and printed on rag paper. 13.5 x 16.2 cm. Unique ($660.00)
15. Towards Comfort…, 2007 Digital print on Hahnmule paper. A really small history. The making of a cup of tea. What’s that quote about the world in a grain of sand? Something like that. 11 x 15.5 x 3 cm Printer: Pasi Ihalainen. Edition of 10 Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne. ($660.00) Collaborative Works:
16. print – as – document, 1995 Produced by graduating students and co-ordinated by Normana Wight. The works are prints by artists who usually work as sculptors, and use strong colour. Published by the Performance Centre of the University of Southern Queensland. Edition of 20. Collection of the Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane (nfs)
17. Just Desserts, 1996 Hand printed limited edition artists’ book designed and printed by the third year printmaking students and staff of the University of Southern Queensland co-ordinated by Normana Wight. Edition of 45 Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane. Collection of the Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane (nfs) 18. Moments, 1997 (no image) Produced by students and invited staff of the University of Southern Queensland, co-ordinated by Normana Wight. The prints have been assembled into a folio, which is in fact a computer disk container. Published by the University of Southern Queensland. Edition of 50 Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane. Collection of the Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane (nfs)
19. Splitting Image, 1998 Produced by graduating students and invited staff of the University of Southern Queensland Faculty of Arts Visual Arts. Co-ordinated by Normana Wight and Stephen Spurrier. Edition of 48 Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane. Collection of the Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane (nfs)
20. Hand to Mouth, 1999/2000 Hand to Mouth and Pears/Pairs were the first collaborative works with Stephen Spurrier. The project was the result of direct collaboration as well as through the post. Within the theme of body parts prevalent in this body of work (manual – oral) a number of possibilities exist. As well as suggesting the action of eating and other oral escapades, the title suggests the impecunious state, or better, a sense of edginess. Concertina format containing 16 pages each 16.0 x 12.0 cm. Watercolour, collage, drawing and digital prints. Unique. Ugg Boot Press. ($1,100.00)
21. Pears/Pairs, 2001 In collaboration with Stephen Spurrier. This book is about collaboration and word-play. Wight began the collaboration with watercolour images of the pear, a fruit image rich in symbolism. Spurrier responded with reclining figures within the pears—hey presto the pears are paired. The reference to pairing continues throughout. Concertina format containing 10 pages each 16.0 x 23. Watercolour, collage, drawing.
Ugg Boot Press. ($1,100)
22. AS IT IS, 2005 Poems by Anne Kirker with images by Normana Wight in a boxed folio of eight poems on seven folded sheets. Printed by Normana Wight on Arches Aquarelle 185gsm paper using Hewlett Packard 930 Inkjet printer. Folio size 18 x 25 cm. Box size 20 x 26.6 cm. Edition of 10. Published by numero uno publications, Brisbane Collections: Artspace Mackay; Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne; Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane; Fryer Library, University of Queensland; Monash University, Melbourne; State Library of Victoria; Southern Cross University, Lismore. ($990.00)
23. elements, 2005 Poems by Anne Kirker with images by Normana Wight. Anne Kirker’s four poems refer loosely to the elements; earth, air, fire, water. Normana Wight has responded to these with a ‘page turner’ of a book, with a flow of text and image through a panoramic format of digital print on Raleigh Navajo Text 148 gsm and Tracing paper 115 gsm. Covers are Somerset Velvet paper 250 gsm. Japanese binding by Adele Outteridge. Perspex box sleeve. 13.5 x 29.0 cm. Edition of 12 and 4 AP. Published by numero uno publications, Brisbane Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane; Fryer Library, University of Queensland; Monash University, Melbourne; State Library of Victoria. ($880.00)
24. Artists’ Books : The Catalogue, 1991 (no image) Page for limited edition catalogue published on the occasion of an exhibition at Grahame Galleries in Brisbane. Double page titled Tanti Auguri 8 colour screenprint on both sides. Published by Grahame Galleries, Brisbane. Edition of 100. Published by Grahame Galleries, Brisbane ($440.00)
25. my favourite artist’s book, 1995 (no image) Cover screenprinted for exhibition catalogue for Grahame Galleries + Editions August/September 1995. Edition of 120 Published by numero uno publications ($11.00)
26. the stamp collection, 1998 “Your Tea is on it’s way”. A narrative made with two rubber stamps. Ten artists were invited to stamp a single blank book. Any number of stamps could be used. The stamps could be of any subject matter and colour. The artists’ stamp books were printed using the bon à tirer proof made by each artist as a reference for editioning. The books by Queensland were editioned by Lyrebird Press/Off The Wall Books and the books by other artists were editioned by Ugg Boot Press. The concept was developed and co-ordinated by Ron McBurnie (Lyrebird Press / Off the Wall) and by Stephen Spurrier (Ugg Boot Press).
Commissioned artists: Mal Enright; Noreen Grahame; Madonna Staunton; Ron McBurnie; Normana Wight; John Honeywill; Wilma Tabacco; Lesley Duxbury; Rosie Weiss; Stephen Spurrier. 21.0 x 24.5 cm. Edition of 60. ($27.50)
27. Palmetum, 2002 Twenty-three original prints including silk screens, etchings, dry points, lino cuts and wood engravings by thirteen artists. Printed on Velin Cuve Reeves paper, hand bound by Fred Pohlmann in a mauve coloured paper with lino cut, enclosed in a box displaying the lino cut design. Commissioned artists: Juli Haas, Ray Crooke, Jan Senbergs, Anneke Silver, Cheryl Wilson, Danny Moynihan, Margaret Wilson, Jorg Schmeisser, David Paulson, Ron McBurnie, Tate Adams, Anne Lord and Normana Wight. The artists were invited to visit Townsville’s unique Botanical Gardens devoted to palms to record their impressions in original prints. 45.0 x 37.5 cm. Edition of 40. Published by Lyre Bird Press. ($5,500.00)
28. (The Cookbook that never was) 1982 Colour screenprint in edition of 12 Sheet 56.0 x 75.5 cm ($990.00)
29. Proof for left hand image of (The Cookbook that never was) 1982 Colour screenprint Sheet 28.0 x 30.5 cm (nfs)
30. ‘Paris – Cakes’, 1985 Colour lithograph in edition of 15 Image c. 20.5 x 39.0 cm Sheet 38.0 x 53.0 cm ($495.00)
31. ‘Caffe Latte’, 1999 Iris print on Somerset Velvet in edition of 4 Image 50.0 x 60.0 cm Sheet 56.0 x 76.0 cm ($990.00)
32. ‘A State of Grace?’, 1999 Iris print on Somerset Velvet in edition of 4 Image 50.4 x 71.7 cm Sheet 56.0 x 76.0 cm ($990.00)
33. ‘Taking Tea’, 1999 Iris print Somerset Velvet in edition of 4 Image 47.0 x 70.0 cm Sheet 56.0 x 76.0 cm ($990.00)
34. ‘Thoughts about Transience’, 1999 Iris print on Somerset Velvet in edition of 4 Image 46.0 x 70.0 cm Sheet 56.0 x 76.0 cm ($990.00)
35. Palmetum, 2001 page commissioned for book Palmetum (see commissions) Colour silkscreen 47.0 x 76.0 cm ($550.00)
36. Selection of the artist’s postcards For Nick Fisher – Beth, Oliver, Megan, undated Flower (untitled, undated) Postage stamps (untitled, undated) Pot plant at window (untitled, undated) Cat (untitled, undated) Cake (untitled, undated) Peas in pod (untitled, undated) George Baldessin’s pears (untitled, undated) Numero Uno Symbolic Fruit – Dark, (untitled, undated) Woman (untitled, undated) Some Self Portraits – Some Modern Icons – at Powell Street graphics, undated 5 Godsall St, about to be demolished by imaginary garden, undated Homage to S. Cotàn – Cool, undated Ice cream, 1975 Sofa, 1975 A souvenir of Mildura, Easter 1975 A writing post-card sent on the last day of winter, 1975 Cat, 1976 Shrubs and hedge (untitled), 1976 edition of 30 Wedding Cake? ‘the Money Show’? well … You could marry money … 1977 Ed.100 Butterfly cake, 1979 Souvenir of Scotland, 1981 Candied Fruit – France – 1978, 1982 Busy Hedge 1984 Choppy Water 1984 Chair (untitled) 1984 Self Portrait – with Blue Hand – 1986, Aberdeen – December 1986 Which Way? Wight? Aberdeen Thirteenth November 1986 Michael H – scanned at Computer graphic weekend – Review of yet another new icon, 1986 Travel in the mind, 1987 Preview – Movies on Television – III Movies on Television – IV, “Preview of A New Icon – laugh Fragment” 1986 Movies on Television – III – 1986, R. Redford – “All the President’s Men” 1988 Movies on the Little Screen – Big Smile, Harrison Ford – as Indiana Jones, Preview for a New Icon Planting the ferns 1989 Ready to plant 1989 – and Nothing But 1993 Bitzer – After all these years 1990 Movies on Television 2. William Hurt – Blast Card 1990 Movies on Television 2. William Hurt – Ghost Card Greetings from the Darling Downs 1990 Homage to Sanchez Cotàn, 1991 Bananas al Caligari (from Fruit-Homage, 1991) Cream Bananas (from Fruit-Homage, 1991) Obscure Pears (from Fruit-Homage, 1991) A Zen Homage (from Fruit-Homage, 1991) Intense Zen (from Fruit-Homage, 1991) More homage to George B. (from Fruit-Homage, 1991) Homage to Sanchez Cotàn (from Fruit-Homage, 1991) Assortment of screen prints (untitled, undated) Leaping Pink Cream, 1996 Your Tea is on its Way, 1998 c.1937 father – car – dream, 2007 (related to book Posted) 19 November 1940, 2007 (related to book Posted) celebration June 1945, 2007 (related to book Posted) ‘tynwald’ beleura road mornington c.1938, 2007 (related to book Posted) 1941 kenleigh grove, 2007 (related to book Posted) father + son+ tools 1942, 2007 (related to book Posted) on this site we hope to build a ‘long-low-wight house’, 2007 (related to book Posted) july 1945, 2007 (related to book Posted) 28 Jan 1946 mills beach east mornington, 2007 (related to book Posted) we three 1946, 2007 (related to book Posted) Urgent Posted Original Posted, 2008 From a notebook (Christmas card) 1996, The University of Southern Queensland Visual Arts Programme Award this horticultural offering . . . 1988 Christmas stocking 1975 Collection of the artist. (nfs)