Following the Welcome to Country by Aunty Norma Ingram, curator Catherine Skipper congratulated the artist and thanked the artist’s brother Gerard who read four original poems from his published collection View to the Maze. Pianist Heather Robinson provided lovely musical interludes.
Launching the exhibition, printmaker John Crawford celebrated printmaking as a highly creative, collaborative and communal activity. Drypoint, he explained, is a printmaking technique in which an image is incised into a plate with a hard-pointed “needle” of sharp metal or diamond point. Traditionally the plate was copper but now acetate, zinc or plexiglas are commonly used.
Virgona’s interest in “abstracting photographs” is evident in many of the works – the use of photography combined with printmaking transforms the original photographic image. In the large work, “Mum”, a solitary figure is centred in a multilayered suburban interior – reminiscent of a blown-up film reel, stretched out and pulled back together to make a single image. The surface of the image is marked by loose brushwork – a painterly technique involving old-school photographic chemicals. Louise says the image takes her back to a time in her life when she first moved to Hornsby.
Louise attended the Fine Arts course at Hornsby TAFE for three years. She studied a variety of subjects in her first year but thereafter she specialised in drawing, a compulsory component, photography and printmaking. After the surprise closure of Hornsby TAFE’s Art Department in 2014, Louise continued to practice printmaking at the Wallarobba Arts Centre, also at Hornsby. She is now part of a creative group called Press Gang.
Louise’s work ethic is impressive. She is keen to develop her skills in photography and excited about the accessibility and creativity of mobile-phone cameras.
Louise has a large body of completed work in addition to the exhibited works and she continues to add to it with a passion. She likes the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe and the paintings of William Dobell and Russell Drysdale.