For background on the artist and works, see below.
About the ArtistCraig Bluett is a painter and printmaker based in Blenheim, Marlborough. He has also taught art in various media extensively, at secondary and tertiary level, and explores a number of innovative techniques in his work. His painterly approach crosses over into his printmaking, especially when using a subtractive technique which allows him to scratch or brush into the ink before printing to create a sense of layering of ideas as well as image.
His Antarctic series are printed using flat oven baking trays as the metal plate, on which he works the ink. This unusual tool not only gives the unusual curved outline of the plate, reminiscent of early photographic plates taken by explorers, but also allows nuances from variations in the tray surface to add to the texture or variation in surface.
One of his Antarctic works was selected for the Centre for Contemporary Printmaking Biennial Foot Prints International Exhibition in New York in 2008, and he was also a finalist in the Peters Doig Marlborough Art Award in 2009.
‘This series of monoprints continues a large body of work about our impact on the environment of Antarctica. I am greatly concerned about environmental issues relating to Antarctica and its preservation.
Boats in these works refer to historical and personal journeys, both physical and metaphorical. Here is the vast white space travelled by early explorers; man against nature, fighting for survival. But now it’s a different survival, survival of the environment.
Much of the recording of these exploits used the latest technology, the camera. The camera was used to record atrocities both to humans and animals and the demise of a region. As many of these photographs were printed from glass negatives they often showed cracks and imperfections. I have mimicked these very flaws to emphasize the fragility of the region. The monoprint technique I have used gives a painterly and spontaneous effect.’
– Artist’s statement, Craig Bluett 2009