Engaging musings by printmakers on science
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Engaging musings by printmakers on science

Connections: Part One. Various artists. Megalo Print Gallery, 21 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston. Until August 25.

What happens when science and printmaking meet? Five artist printmakers – UK Frederick, Ingeborg Hansen, Nicci Haynes, Anna Madeleine and Erica Seccombe – respond to collaborative ventures with scientists in this new exhibition at Megalo.

Nicci Haynes, <i>550Hz</i>, 2018 in <i>Connections: Part One</i> at Megalo.

Nicci Haynes, 550Hz, 2018 in Connections: Part One at Megalo.

I am not in a position to comment on the scientific implications of the collaborations, as too scant material is provided at the exhibition, and will focus on the works on display.

Nicci Haynes has been preoccupied with art and sound for at least a decade, devising various forms of notation, sound scores and sound contraptions. Her four recent etchings, in the form of "soundscapes", are some of the most outstanding and intriguing works in this exhibition. She describes the process as "sugar vibration" realised as sugarlift etchings with aquatint that have been bitten in nitric acid and printed as regular intaglio prints. Each print is associated with a particular sound event and bears a title such as 400Hz, Blag’s song, 550Hz and 500Hz. Although sound art with artists like Susan Philipsz, Alvin Lucier and KatiPaterson has been around for some time, where art is made out of sound, Nicci Haynes translates sounds into moody prints as a form of visual music.

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UK Frederick, <i>starscape3</i> in <i>Connections: Part One</i> at Megalo Print Gallery

UK Frederick, starscape3 in Connections: Part One at Megalo Print Gallery

UK Frederick (Ursula) is another Canberra-based printmaker who has taken as her source of inspiration glass photographic plates in the heritage archive of Mt Stromlo Observatory. These glass plate negatives of the Southern night sky were made in the decades following World War II and contain notational inscriptions, which to me appear as some unintelligible language. For this exhibition, Frederick has made an installation of similar photographs employing the chemigram process (painting with chemicals on a photosensitive surface) of her own imaginary universe, what she refers to as "astrophotographic" images, on which she has screenprinted her private notational inscriptions. They are strange, slightly eerie, but effective images that hint at a reality beyond the known terrestrial one.

Erica Seccombe, in collaboration with Stuart Ramsden, <i>Testing Space on a Sphere</i>, detail, 2018 in <i>Connections: Part One</i> at Megalo Print Gallery.

Erica Seccombe, in collaboration with Stuart Ramsden, Testing Space on a Sphere, detail, 2018 in Connections: Part One at Megalo Print Gallery.

Erica Seccombe, in collaboration with Stuart Ramsden, traces space on a sphere through a series of complex screenprints moving from a fully occupied sphere to a near void space. Anna Madeleine’s Pranatamangsa AR is an augmented reality artwork that is based on Indonesian farming calendars where the celestial star signs are linked with agrarian practices. The technology is somewhat fiddly, but the message of the individual photocopy prints is relatively simple. The inscription on one of the prints reads, “Kasa: 22 June – August 1 (42 days). Leaves fell down, woods were dry. A time to cultivate second crop. Flying insects (like grasshopper) laid eggs.”

Ingeborg Hansen, <i>Broken I</i>, 2018 in <i>Connections: Part One</i> at Megalo Print Gallery.

Ingeborg Hansen, Broken I, 2018 in Connections: Part One at Megalo Print Gallery.

Ingeborg Hansen, another Canberra-based printmaker and the artistic director of Megalo, has one of the simplest, but most effective exhibits, a series of 10 screenprints based on insects in various states of disrepair.

This is not a tightly curated exhibition but does bring to the fore a number of engaging musings on science in print.