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Lino Love with Betty Jo Designs – Lino Artisans: Carolyn Audet, Craig Bennet & Bruce Reynolds

by Jenny Butler
Wednesday 3rd August 2011

Over the coming few weeks Liz Jones of Betty Jo Designs is going to be one BUSY lady! Liz is running classes at Harvest Textiles starting next week, she is also revealing an installation at Pussycat Black for Craft Victoria’s Craft Cubed festival this Thursday AND is part of POP-UP Sale at the Nicholas Building commencing from Thursday with many other TDF favourites – check out the details here! They all sound brilliant, just like this weeks Guest Blog – thanks again Liz!! – Jenny x

I get a real buzz when I find contemporary Australian artists who have a love of vintage linoleum and have embraced the medium in their work.

Tasmanian artist Carolyn Audet is represented by Inka Gallery in Hobart. Her recent show “Water and Air” was a collection of vintage lino assemblages of beautiful boats and birds.

“Cruise Ship II”

Carolyn’s assemblages are inspired and constructed using vintage linoleums from the 1950-70s and have been collected from a variety of homes in Tasmania. Carolyn says, “The lino itself evokes memory of childhood, of being at grandmother’s house, of comfort and love.”

“Bird”’ & “Bird 1”

“I have constructed the individual pieces into shapes and silhouettes to form two groupings, each using similar materials and found objects of the era. Both groups convey a similar essence of ‘freedom’ – one “manmade”, the other “nature”. Both Bird and Boat themes have been an ongoing interest in my sculpture and in my etchings. The shapes of these forms, I find most pleasing to the eye.”

“Ocean Liner”

“Linos’ are getting harder to find and I wanted to capture them and showcase them in another form, showing the sweet sense of ‘antiquity’ and shaping them into other delicate ‘paintings’ whilst keeping their integrity intact.”

I love the naïve simplicity and ingenious use of repurposed materials in Carolyn’s collection of work.

“On Track”

Another talented Australian artist that works with vintage lino is Craig Bennet from New South Wales. Craig is represented by Arthouse Gallery in Sydney.

Craig emailed me earlier this year inquiring about any tips for acquiring salvaged lino. As you can see he incorporates it into his vibrant abstract assemblages and it sits amazingly well with the other discarded or unwanted objects in his work.

“New Contraption”

The basic theme of Craig’s work is to re-assess and re-value materials such as used lino which have been considered worthless and discarded by our society. The lino Craig chooses is often obviously old, damaged and clearly worn.

“Oxygen” and “Honestly, I Can’t Play a Note”

Craig’s aim is to dispute the view that these materials are worthless re-present them and give them a second chance as part of his collage and assemblage work. Once incorporated into his work the materials take on a new function totally different to the reason they were first manufactured.

“Old and New”

The vintage lino seen in these works was mainly found discarded at demolition sites. Craig says “Although once considered worthless, vintage lino often holds a high aesthetic value. To me vintage lino is a material far more valuable than traditional art making materials as it can not simply be purchased. Sadly it is becoming harder to find as so much of it has now been disposed of.”

“Dryboat”

Bruce Reynolds is a Queensland based artist who exhibits with Ryan Renshaw Gallery in Brisbane and Artereal in Sydney. Bruce works with beautiful pieces of salvaged lino layering them in stunning jigsaw like collages.

He sets out to build his painting, rather than “paint” them, by using the pigments already found in the linoleum to provide colour and form. I love the combination of florals and abstract lino in Bruce’s pieces. Coincidentally, I have spied a few pieces of lino I have in my collection.

“Brilliant Cut Lino” and  “Arranged”

Most of Bruce’s work combines the various ages and patterns of linoleum and is sometimes layered with painting and photography, especially aerial photographs he has taken from a hot air balloon or light aircraft.

“Academy Observed State”

Bruce says “Connections between near and far, ancient and recent, and fashion and philosophy are the sorts of concerns that have made lino attractive and useful to me.” Bruce creates “abstract compositions from fragments of the real world; lifting the lino from the floor into paintings on the wall

“22 London Road”

This collage is made from lino that originated in the house the work hangs in. It’s stunning memento of an era long gone.

- Liz x


by Jenny Butler
Wednesday 3rd August 2011

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