STOPPING TIME: Material Prints 3000 BCE to Now expands on the definition of printmaking by bringing works of art together in thematic clusters, regardless of their period or place of production, collapsing the temporal distances between them and emphasising the dual power of material prints to embed or carry time and to stop time as we engage with them.
The exhibition extends well beyond the usual point of origin for printmaking in the fifteenth century when Johannes Gutenberg (1400-1468) invented the movable type printing press, to the perceived decline of printed imagery with the development of digital photography at the end of the twentieth century.
From ancient Mesopotamian images pressed in clay from cylinder seals to contemporary 3-D printing this exhibition positions traditional prints as part of a much larger constellation of printmaking. The timeless encounter with material prints can be described as “aesthetic time” (Keith Moxey Visual Time: The Image in History) but when artists attempt the synthetic transfer of ideas into matter and image it is more a process of collective cultural imagining and technological revelation rather than aestheticism.
Featuring key works of art from the Newcastle Art Gallery collection, STOPPING TIME also includes works of art from the Griffith University Art Museum along with several private collections and recent works of art by contemporary artists including Ali Bezer, Blair Coffey, Ryan Presley and Pamela See.
The 6th Day: God created Man 1977
screenprint on paper, edition 34/50
52.0 x 72.0cm
Purchased with assistance from the Visual Arts Board, Australia Council 1978
Newcastle Art Gallery collection
Courtesy the artist’s estate