Annika Romeyn is an emerging artist based in Canberra, Australia. Annika has studied illustration (First Class Honours, Morgan State University, U.S.A., 2009) and printmaking and drawing (First Class Honours, Australian National University, 2010). In 2011 Annika completed an Emerging Artist Residency at Megalo Print Studio (Canberra, Australia) and was named winner of the Port Jackson Press Graduate Printmaking Award and the Embassy of Spain Torres Travelling Scholarship. www.annika-romeyn.com
Artist Talk In this talk I hope to share with you some of the ideas and processes involved in my recent work, by looking at a collection of lithographs, etchings and drawings. In general my work is inspired by the potential of small natural forms and structures to suggest vast or otherworldly realms. While found objects viewed from multiple perspectives are my starting point I use the process of drawing to combine observation and imagination, and thereby to contemplate connections between the humble and the sublime.
My recent solo exhibition “Drift,” which included prints created during a residency at Megalo Print Studio (Canberra, Australia), is reflective of my ideas in that meaning is suggested through an investigation and activation of topographies that can be read on a micro or macro scale. The title of the exhibition “Drift” (also the title of my lithograph, which features in the Qijiang International Printmaking Festival) is a geological term referring to the debris, relics or fragments deposited by tidal or glacial movement, while on a broader scale I wonder about the epic process of continental drift, and on an intimate level the ‘drift’ of the imagination.
Observation is never completely objective or analytical, but influenced by memory, emotion, mood, and of course our capacity to imagine. Observation is also mediated through the physical action of the hand – making marks and responding to materials, over time transforming an experience into a kind of record or visual reverie. Throughout my life I have developed an interest in observing and drawing directly from nature and I have found that a practical way of doing this within the environment of a printmaking studio is by looking at small found objects – debris/relics, such as seashells, that can be transported inside, held, moved and fluidly viewed from different perspectives while drawing directly onto a lithographic stone or etching plate.
Earlier in the year I was unexpectedly inspired by a crumpled plastic bag lying around the studio at Megalo Print Studio in Canberra, Australia, which brought back memories of walking on Fox Glacier in New Zealand last year. For some of the works the faults and facets of the plastic bag became the subject matter of the image while in others it seemed to provide the context, or ‘drift’, for other subjects to emerge from. In this way, incorporating mundane everyday objects, such as the plastic bag, into surreal or ambiguous ‘scapes’ has became a means to unite the humble and the sublime and to share my perspective with others. Beauty and wonder has always been in the eye and mind of the beholder and taking the time to behold small and ordinary objects has been rewarding experience with many possibilities for the future, as William Blake eloquently puts it, “to see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.”