Rachel Salmon-Lomas is a Perth-based print artist with an interest in creating works that simultaneously look at isolation and connection. No stranger to FAC, Salmon-Lomas held a solo exhibition Riley (The Cow) back in 2013. Alongside teaching Print at Curtin University, she is also deeply involved in Perth’s music scene as a DJ and radio presenter at RTRFM where she’s known as Rok Riley.
Hi Rachel, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your practice?
My practice is predominantly print-based including etching, drypoint and silkscreen. I love print so much and have worked at Curtin University as a Print Technician and lecturer for many years now! Up until now, my work was largely focused on themes of isolation and connection, both through the urban landscape and character-based investigations using traditional print processes. In the last few years, I’ve been expanding on these ideas and trying new things – the work in the Fremantle Print Award is an example of these new explorations.
Why did you enter the FAC Print Award? Is this your first time being part of the award?
The Fremantle Print Award is definitely something of a culture in my department. We encourage each other and the students to enter! It’s the most important competition of it’s kind and such an honour to be part of. I was a finalist when I was in my Honours year at University and again a few years ago. I’ve felt so incredibly lucky every time, it’s so hard to get into!
Tell us about your work in this year’s FAC Print Award?
The work documents an imperfect record of my carbon emissions, documented for each year of my life up to this year. The project is intended to continue and span my entire life. The name Time Horizon is a term used for the Global Warming Potential of something measured over a 100 year period, therefore each print exists as a carbon paper transfer within a 100-page duplicate book, one which ultimately reflects the difficulty and futility in creating a truly accurate record of this kind.
Each year considers life events that affect figures, such as the advent of mobile phone and laptop technology, the increase in the use of plastic packaging and recycling. I also reflect on events in my personal life – moving out of home, living in share houses, breaking up with my long term partner and the passing of my Dad. It is a living document, an ever-expanding invoice from the earth. I see the steady consumption increase but also my constant attempts to be better – I have been so dedicated to being as mindful of my impact as possible throughout my life.
Time Horizon was inspired by finding an old invoice book in the storeroom at work and on the front cover, it said “Carbon Book with Extra Carbon”, which sat in my mind for a long time. It was while working on another piece for the award I had the idea for this one. The mathematics were so difficult – finding accurate carbon calculators and trying to remember details of my life in order to be as accurate as I could, it took so much time! I kept calling my mum asking “Did we have a gas heater when I was seven? How often did you use the dryer for my clothes when I was 13?”
I studied Sustainable Development after my Arts degree and have always tried to find ways of bringing my interest in protecting the environment and my art practice together somehow. Hopefully, this is the start of something.
What do you think about the state of contemporary Australian printmaking?
I think its an exciting time right now – I think there was a real push against tradition for a long time. People pushing the boundaries of what a print is, which I’ve always been inspired by – particularly within the Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award. Lately I’ve noticed there has also been a real return to investing in the traditional processes themselves. Right now I feel there is a balance of both approaches going on, which I really like. I think it creates even more potential within the medium to keep expanding and growing.
What’s up next? Where else can people see your work? (other exhibitions, projects etc.)
As a result of the work in this award, I’ve been asked by the Cool Change Contemporary curatorial team to participate in a touring exhibition called 415 Parts Per Million across 2019-20. The first show is in Hobart at Rosny Farm then re-presented at Cool Change Contemporary in March 2020. So exciting!