Normana Wight
exhibition
Posted (2009)
an exhibition of the entire known output of the artist’s postcards, artist’s books, and other material
29 August – 26 September 2009

Launch of Normana Wights artist’s book Posted
by
Helen Cole, Librarian, Australian Library of Art, SLQ
29 August 2009

Artist’s Books

1. Posted, 2009
Each month over a 10 month period from October 2007 to July 2008 the artist made a postcard in an edition of 40, which she posted each month to a ‘select few’ including family members and friends in Australia and overseas.
The project was titled ‘then and there 1937 – 1946’, a period full of upheaval for many Australian families including the Wight family.
‘then and there’ is based on a group of photographs, many with comments and sometimes drawings on the back, of the family from this period. They were sent by Wight’s mother in Victoria to her sister living in North-West Western Australia and were returned to the artist in 2007.
Posted is about the making of that through-the-post artwork and about her father’s postings during WWII. The book opens with a reproduction of the first postcard – the artist’s father with a drawing from the back of the photograph of the house he planned to build on the Mornington Peninsula. The postcard is titled ‘c. 1937 father – car – dream’. Wight’s father, a RAAF pilot, planned to build a ‘long-low-white-house’ on this site – a dream never to be fulfilled. His aircraft disappeared in New Guinea during the war and was not found until some 20 years later.
Like memory ‘Posted’ jumps back and forth and is neither a chronological report on the family nor on the decade. The artist’s jottings are preparatory notes to go with the page image. The postage stamps are indicative of the ‘through-the-post’ project and sometimes point to the specific ‘postcard’. Page 4 shows the garage – the beginnings of the ‘long-low-white-house’. It became the family’s home from 1942 – 1949’, and the postage stamp of a Border Collie. A Border Collie being the family’s pet at that time. The ‘Postage Paid Australia’ rubber stamp was made for posting Wight’s exhibition invitations to her show held in 1994 at grahame galleries + editions. 
On page 7 the notation from the back of photograph, ‘On this site we hope to build a ‘long-low-white house’, is transposed across the photograph. At the bottom of this page the artist writes, ‘The evaporation of dreams.’  It is true that this decade evaporated many dreams. Posted is nevertheless full of hope.
($880.00)

2. A Sort of Diary, 1986/87 A handmade book made as a personal gesture of thanks to the people Normana met and worked with at Peacock Printmakers in Aberdeen, Scotland from November 1986 to February 1987. The book was begun in Scotland and completed back in Australia between March and May 1987. It comprises screenprints on handmade and recycled rag paper (60 sheets), and a ring-binder covered with screenprinted Japanese Kozo paper (silver and grey). 23.0 x 19.0 x 4.0 cm. Edition of 2. Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; National Library of Australia A Sort of Diary is not on display. Both copies are held in public collections, see above. A number of trial proofs are on view.

 

 

3. Jam Doughnuts – Fragments of Foreign Food, 1989 Two booklets (19.5 x 19.0 x 10.0 cm) housed in ‘Kodak’ box with screenprinted cover with text ‘Jam Doughnuts Fresh Daily’. Covers screenprinted in 4 colours on BFK Rives. The main book shows display windows filled with sumptuous arrays of foreign food from the ‘Pork Pies at Harrods’ to the ‘Coquilles St. Jacques à la Rouen’. The fixed accordion structure is screenprinted in 12 colours and printed in two sections – joined. The 2nd book, an open accordion format, carries handwritten recipes screenprinted in one colour of the ‘goodies’ from the display windows. In 1978 on a visit to the V&A artists’ books collection Wight saw a smallish cookbook with prints by various artists – French c. 1928. The book’s cover was shelving-type chequered paper and was very elegantly type set with coloured capitals with etchings by Bonnard, Vuillard etc. During that trip, and a later one, Wight took many photos of food, window displays mostly. In 1980-81 she made colour separations from slides and tried to plan how to use them for her own cookbook. The project came to a standstill with page one. Cost and how to make it unified and “natural” were the problems. Wight made a single print The Cookbook That Never Was (see under prints). The idea was then shelved until mid-1989, when she started again on a smaller, simpler scale. Wight photocopied the original images, collaged, drew and wrote on them, then photographed them again for silkscreen transparencies. Edition of 6. Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; National Gallery of Australia; Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane. (The box container of copy for sale in this exhibition does not have screenprinted cover) ($990.00)

4. The Book of Bitzer Fragments, 1990 ‘Bitzer’ was one of the artist’s favourite companions as a young child. As his worn appearance and ‘button-eye’ attests, he was much loved. Handed-down to the artist’s brother, Jamie, to whom the book is dedicated, ‘Bitzer’ acquired a knitted jacket. In 1989, whilst preparing for an exhibition at Grahame Galleries in Brisbane, ‘Bitzer’ re-emerged. Photocopied images from watercolours and drawings made for book. Printed on Japanese paper. 21.0 x 30.0 cm. Edition of 20. Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; Baillieu Library, University Melbourne; Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane; Monash University, Melbourne; University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba Collection of the Centre for the Artist’s Book. (nfs)

5 garden booklet

5. Garden Booklet, 1990 Gesso and watercolour on canvas. 5.0 x 6.0 cm. Height with plinth 22.0 cm. Unique. Collection of the Centre for the Artist ‘sBook, Brisbane (nfs)

 

 

Image unavailable

 

6. A small handbook, 1990 (no image) Watercolour on handmade paper, gesso, hand-sewn. Cover canvas. c. 24.0 x 32.0 cm. Unique. Collection of the artist. (nfs)

7 fruit homage

7. Fruit-Homage, 1991 Suite of 9 screen-printed postcards made as a homage to some artists who made notable images of fruit. The work is also about the postcard as part of the postal service, each 12.0 x 20.0 cm on 300 gsm acid free University board reflecting the artist’s ongoing project. Each postcard is a ‘through-the-post’ or ‘post-object’ addressed: Artists’ Books Exhibition Grahame Galleries at Milton posted at regular intervals from September 1991. Packaged in screenprinted folder. Edition of 20. Titles: Homage to Sanchez Cotàn / Homage to S. Cotàn – Cool /A Zen Homage / Intense Zen / Numero Uno Symbolic Fruit-Dark / More homage to George B / Obscure Pears / Bananas at Caligari / Cream Bananas Collection of Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane (nfs)

8 enigma

8. Enigma – a mantle – piece, 1994 Edition of 3. Collections: Artspace Mackay. ($130.00)

9 an egg in the hand

9. An Egg in the Hand – An Electronic Primer, 1996 The egg, an ancient symbol is used here as potential cooking – raw egg in hand, in front of Giovanni Bellini’s Enthroned Madonna & Child With Saints, with extra eggs. The meaning in the painting is about virgin birth, and the egg, an ostrich egg. In this book they all end up making a kind of primer of some of the visual manipulations, which the Photoshop programme can work into the scanned collage. 23.0 x 19.5 cm. Edition of 4. Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland. ($130.00)

 

10. The Egg As Symbol – A Frustrating Book, 1996  (no image) Screen-print cross-concertina construction housed in a clear plastic container. A self-explanatory frustrating experience. Case 10.0 x 10.0 cm. Edition of 6 Collections: Artspace Mackay ($550.00)

Tea a user's guide

11. Tea: A User’s Guide, 1999 An instructional handbook on how to make a cup of tea. Digital prints on Arches Aquarelle paper in Accordion book. Linen covers with heat transfer print. Concertina format. 18.0 x 22.5 cm. Edition of 10 (only three were printed) Collections: Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne ($770.00) 12. Small Ceremonies Notebook, 1996/2000 (no image) A working record of the artist’s post-graduate project – digital prints mounted on watercolour paper, photocopies on tracing paper. Metal spiral binding. Cover finished in colour-laser print. Folder cover: brown cloth Fred Pohlmann 18.6 x 28 x 3.8 cm. Unique. Collection of the artist. (nfs)

13. Notebook, 2001 (no image) Made as a record of a residency at Victoria Tapestry Workshop during 3 months thanks to the Australia Council. Digital prints on rag paper and photocopies on tracing paper. Spiral bound. Covers covered with colour-laser prints. Edition of 2. Collection of the artist. (nfs)

 

4. La Danse, 2001 Digital print. A concertina book, small paintings of pears, scanned, enlarged and printed on rag paper. 13.5 x 16.2 cm. Unique ($660.00)

la danse
towards comfort

15. Towards Comfort…, 2007 Digital print on Hahnemule paper. A really small history. The making of a cup of tea. What’s that quote about the world in a grain of sand? Something like that. 11 x 15.5 x 3 cm Printer: Pasi Ihalainen. Edition of 10 Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne. ($660.00)

Collaborative Works

 

print as document

16.  print – as – document, 1995 Produced by graduating students and co-ordinated by Normana Wight. The works are prints by artists who usually work as sculptors, and use strong colour. Published by the Performance Centre of the University of Southern Queensland. Edition of 20. Collection of the Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane (nfs)

17. Just Desserts, 1996 Hand printed limited edition artists’ book designed and printed by the third year printmaking students and staff of the University of Southern Queensland co-ordinated by Normana Wight. Edition of 45 Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane. Collection of the Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane (nfs) 18. Moments, 1997  (no image) Produced by students and invited staff of the University of Southern Queensland, co-ordinated by Normana Wight. The prints have been assembled into a folio, which is in fact a computer disk container. Published by the University of Southern Queensland. Edition of 50 Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane. Collection of the Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane (nfs)

just desserts
splitting image

19. Splitting Image, 1998 Produced by graduating students and invited staff of the University of Southern Queensland Faculty of Arts Visual Arts. Co-ordinated by Normana Wight and Stephen Spurrier. Edition of 48 Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane. Collection of the Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane (nfs19. Splitting Image, 1998 Produced by graduating students and invited staff of the University of Southern Queensland Faculty of Arts Visual Arts. Co-ordinated by Normana Wight and Stephen Spurrier. Edition of 48 Collections: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland; Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane. Collection of the Centre for the Artist’s Book, Brisbane (nfs)