Tell us a bit about yourself and your practice.
I’ve always been physically outside in the world, surrounded by plants and those people enthusiastic enough to nurture them. My work aims to confuse the space between the real and the virtual, utilising 3D modeling and sculpting software to form the basis of an architectural approach to natural organic geometry. Instead of giving over to algorithmic processes, plants are digitally sculpted by the hand and eye to form intricately detailed studies. Banksia species have become a signature theme, exploring the geometry of these iconic botanical forms. My works are presented in their final form as limited edition archival prints on museum rag.
Why did you enter the FAC Print Award? Is this your first time being part of the award?
I respect how the FAC Print Award encourages broad and contemporary definitions of what constitutes printmaking. Fremantle Arts Centre is such a sympathetic space for presenting the works, in terms of scale and light. I am traditionally from a printmaking background, but use the current possibilities of digital print to get the exacting detail and refinement from my virtual images. This is my third consecutive year as a finalist in the Fremantle Print Award.
Tell us about your work in this year’s FAC Print Award?
This year’s entry colour_series/banksia_ericifolia/2019 continues my work exploring the geometry of iconic Australian flora. I have tried to maintain the clarity of detail in this digital print, but also to reference some of the unexpected marks that can result from traditional relief printing. It is the largest of my works on paper to date and a new direction in allowing colour to elicit a different response than my usual black and white images.
What do you think about the state of contemporary Australian printmaking?
There are a number of current traditionalists whose recent works are a magnificent reminder of the mastery of their medium. However, the blurring of the boundaries between discrete traditional practices has enabled a vibrant visual exploration that isn’t preoccupied with fitting into strict disciplines anymore. I’m currently enjoying the embrace of nostalgia and Australian identity by some contemporary printmakers and their practice of revering and incorporating early visual records of this country into a modern process of image-making.
What’s up next? Where else can people see your work? (other exhibitions, projects etc.)
I’m seriously trying to balance my indoor arts practice with my outdoor botanical curiosity, so I am off to the Cape region of South Africa for a month to study the geometry and form of our nearest botanical relatives. I have recently been featured in the September issue #7 of INKQ, a unique quarterly publication from the United Kingdom, with emphasis on the amalgam of art and the natural sciences. More of my works and details can be seen at https://garthhenderson.com or by appointment in Melbourne.