{Contemporary Australian Photograms}


National Gallery of Victoria 2003, First Impressions: Contemporary Australian Photograms, Brochure from an exhibition of the above name, Council of Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

This exhibition is made up of works from contemporary photogram artists.

Interesting the brochure states that they use photograms because as a medium it most suits the creative ideas the artists are trying to convey. So rather than using photograms because they like the look of them, they are using photograms because they best suit the works. Have to think about that because I use solarfast mostly because of process related concerns – the ability to cleanly get an image on to fabric – but perhaps you could say I use fabric and quilts as my medium because of the ideas of comfort and security in a hostile world. They are both more emotive and also more accessible than paint or photography. Something to keep in mind when I am writing about my work.

Also something that has come out of “Why We Quilt” a bit – The effectiveness of quilts as an art medium to convey emotion and meaning. To go beyond the craft. Perhaps I can somehow get a question or an exploration for honours out of this. It’s so hard to know what will work. (relevant to honours)

Some artists represented in the exhibition:

Ruth Maddison (relevant to painting)

Ruth Maddison.jpg       <Viewed 1 September 2020>

I hadn’t seen this before I did my face photograms but this was the type of thing I envisioned for my self portrait initially. Turned out to be difficult to achieve and certainly not on a 8 x 10 piece of paper. I wonder how many goes she had to achieve this clarity and exposure that also has a third grey tone. That comes from having her face off the paper with the points of contact being completely white and then light getting around the object to create grey. I initially tried to do this in the sun but it simply takes too long to be still on wet solarfast to create this . I did have some success a couple of years ago with cyanotype and I did my whole body and printed on both sides. Then I threw it in the washing machine and bleached the lot inadvertently. Still it was an emotive image that I could return to. Not now though because I have made my decision for the self portrait on this occasion.

Ruth Madison does work about the everyday and homely relatable portraits. Accessible and ordinary but ubiquitous in most people’s lives.



(relevant to photography)

Just had an idea how I might be able to present my idea of windows and foreground for my photography series. Perhaps I could do some photograms of objects in the darkroom and then do a two layered print with solarfast of the photogram and a photo of the view through the window only visible in the white areas of the photogram. Maybe use dense cyanotype for the photogram so I get a good white and then put solarfast in the white area and print the view. I’m not sure that the bleaching effect of solarfast on cyanotype is very strong but it can be overcome with the use of tea if necessary to return it to a dark colour. Or I could photoshop the imagery together first and just use solarfast or cyanotype.

The outside world viewed through the lens of a wine glass, coke bottle, washing powder box, nutribullet, iron, vacuum hose, cushion, hand sanitiser bottle, disinfectant can, hand weight, needs to be something that is smaller than 8 x 10. Could look through my window pictures and see what is in the foreground. There was a washer on one windowsill I know. And my little soft toys, hanging beads or wind chime, Curtains I took down. Can do a small photogram and enlarge if necessary.

Penelope Davis (relevant to sculpture)

Penelope Davis

<>       Viewed 1 September 2020

From an exhibition called Penumbra. A penumbra is the partially shaded area around an object. It’s a great word.  Penelope makes objects by casting using silicone and resin. Then she exposes them to create this type of photograph. I have been thinking about using my sculpture in this way to create imagery using solarfast.

The combination of soft and hard edges created in photograms of 3D objects gives an ethereal presence to the object that is hard to achieve in other ways.

Sculpture shadow.jpg

This is one that I have already done using my suspended toilet roll sculpture. Lots of problems with this but in proof of concept. Would work better to do a photogram on photo paper so it can be scanned and contrast increased to get a higher contrast print.


Heidi Parkes

IMG_4900 2.jpg

Heidi Parkes Artist Statement

In my work, I create a scaffolding of fabric, piecing, and quilting that allows me to reference many ideas on a single plane. The raw materials are textiles from domestic culture, fashion, family heirlooms, and scavenged prints. I integrate them with fabrics that I have embroidered, stained, dyed, or designed. These materials are pieced together to create the main imagery of the quilt, like a collage. This cloth is then beset with hand stitches, evocative of the slow process involved in construction, and functioning as a layer of ‘drawing’ on the quilts surface.

When composing a quilt I rarely adhere to a set plan, relying instead on improvisation. Remindful of color field painting, I begin my work with a feeling, place, or theme. Looking to reconstruct my world, I employ aerial views, photographic documentation, and artifacts- all the while aware that my goal is far more complex than the visual of a single point in time. The moments I choose to replicate are unique to me, and simultaneously innumerable in the lives of others.

Like so many women before her, my maternal grandmother planned a collaborative quilt to celebrate my birth, and introduced me to the art of quilting. My work continues a family tradition, but congruently incorporates new information from varied quilting traditions, and my multidisciplinary training in art. Often inspired by painters, I feel an artistic connection with Mark Rothko, Gerhard Richter, Mark Bradford, Julie Mehretu, Cy Twombly, Agnes Martin, William Kentridge, El Anatsui, Do Ho Suh, the quilts of Gee’s Bend, and the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi.     Viewed 30 August 2020

Heidi Parkes.jpg     Viewed 30 August 2020

Still looking for my “companions” for my honours project. This woman’s practice is quilt making in an art context. And on the side she also does visible mending for money. A great idea.

I think the difference from traditional quilters here is in the statement above. Heidi seems to be approaching her quilt making from a art perspective. She is connecting herself to artists in other disciplines and is putting content into her work via the imagery and the medium in the way of artists. She approaches stitch as a means of drawing and cloth as a means of painting and collaging.


Thomas Knauer

Has written a book called Why we Quilt, that has works from a number of quilt artists and discusses the meaning around these. Thomas Knauer produces quilts with two themes – activism around gun violence in America- and living with his chronic illness.

I’m really struggling with my painting and I realise when I look at his work that I am drawn to the pieced quilt. Something about chopping up the fabric or print and reproducing it in a somehow better form.

I’m trying to find  people working with quilts in more of an art context and he may be one of these. Think I’ll get the book because it is recent and has a number of contemporary names in it that may also be people I can look at. In the meantime I’ll go chop up my self portrait prints and rejoin them in some way…..

Thomas Knauer.jpg       Viewed 25 August 2020

Honours ideas

Just want to document what was discussed when I met with Toby Juliffe in regard to getting started with my Honours proposal.

Want to know their own practice better. What is my practice doing?

Insight into journey of practice – experiment, write, produce.

Aligned to ambition.

Proposal is in four sections and about 1000 words total.

Use references

Can decide on research or professional at the end of the first semester.

Outcome for research findings can be exegesis, publication, website, podcasts, exhibition.

Four sections – Summary – what is your question, needs to be pretty narrow, external -politics, social justice, medium related – capacity, integrity

Context – ” companions” in this area

Significance – why do this – now, here? social, aesthetic, medium etc

Outcome – guess this just means final body of work and mode of presenting research.

Needs to contribute a voice to an area.

What is motivating me and why am I doing it.

When I mentioned quilting Toby just through our a type of question – “capacity for quilting as a critical medium for art“. Sounds something like what I might like to do.

Before I was thinking that I would be putting forward something around the depiction of everyday objects but now I am thinking that it will be more about the medium of quilt making and its place in the art world. Or maybe its ability to have a place in the art world. Or maybe what elements are required for it to be taken seriously as art. Got to be careful because these are possibly questions that are too big.

But I am definitely thinking that I don’t want to limit myself to one way of printing on fabric or one theme, but rather limit myself to the production of quilts of various, possibly emotive themes. It really would be a return to my original reason for going to tafe – to learn to print on fabric to use in quilts. Of course since then it has become so much more.

Toby straight off mentioned Tal Fitzpatrick – who is an artist that works with quilts -often collaborative quilts. She calls herself a craftivist and uses quilts as a form of social activism. Not my interest really but someone to look at.

My other thought has been around art and health. Maybe I could research around mental health and quiltmaking in some way. I need to finish the unit on Arts and Health and then I’m also learning about dementia now as part of the Island Project so there is that that could also be incorporated. But that’s a bit off track possibly. Need to find artists working with quilts so I can find some “companions” and see what sort of questions or things they are working through.

Tal Fitzpatrick and Kate Just – covid19quilt on instagram

The digital submitted squares automatically assemble themselves on the instagram feed in a quilt format. So far looks like their are more than 400 submissions. I will need to make a square and submit too.

covid19quilt.jpg    Viewed 9 August 2020


Reading from left to right these are the artists that have contributed to this tiny segment of the covid19quilt that I have depicted here. I love the juxtaposition of the aggressive sentiment and the delicate embroidery in Fuck this shit.

This is a large scale collaborative project which to some extent resonates with my interest in the benefits to  health, especially mental health, around making.

2020_Honours_Application_Guidelines_TJ Coord

Project Proposal Guidelines from the application guidelines

Reasons for writing a project proposal

Your project proposal:

  • Gives you an opportunity to think through your project carefully, and clarify and define what you will do during your program of study
  • Provides you with an outline to guide you through your project
  • Lets the School know what you are planning to do
  • Helps the School choose an appropriate supervisor and work space


Developing your proposal

The process includes:

  • Choosing a topic
  • Narrowing and focussing your topic
  • Outlining the key literature and examples of art or design work in the topic area
  • Deciding on what visual strategies you will use to explore your topic


Your project proposal does not permanently set what you will do. It is a starting point and throughout your course you will probably adjust and change your project.


A suggested format for your project proposal

Please provide your name:

Please indicate your preferred Honours stream – Research (Studio), Research (Theory), Professional (Studio) or Professional (Internship):

Please indicate your preferred studio/media/work placement:


Description: (approximately 250 words):

Provide a brief description of your project, outlining your intentions and proposed outcomes.



Resolution: (approximately 250 words):

Outline the strategies you will employ in the development of your project. In the case of studio-based projects, this should include the practical and/or technical steps required. In the case of internships, this should include a synopsis of skills and vocational outcomes.


Significance: (approximately 250 words):

Explain why this project is of interest to you in personal, social, vocational or artistic terms. Where relevant refer to previous projects that you have engaged in.


Context: (approximately 250 words):

Provide a summary of contextual references for your project. This may include other work in the field that is relevant to your project in terms of idea, theme, style, method or technique.


Photograms – 

Should my honours be about this or about quilts. Loving my photograms on fabric currently. That’s all.