Laura Stark writes about the recent passing of Robyn Waghorn for Sydney Printmakers.
‘I have known Robyn for many years, living close by and belonging to a number of printmaking groups, we often shared rides to go to meetings. I admired her sense of purpose, the certainty and consistency with which she approached her work. She was a very private person but also generous and empathetic. Her artist’s statements were brief, bared back to essentials, unwavering in the certainty of her vision. She was always restrained and not given to self promotion.
In 2016 we had a joint exhibition at the Hazelhurst Arts Centre. Ruth Burgess opened the exhibition and in her beautifully expressed opening speech she referred to a comment on Robyn’s work made by Sasha Grishin, that it ‘was noted for a tragic dimension and a sense of loss and absence’.
She then went on to say ‘Using the subject of the Australian bushfires as the origins of her work, Robyn found that while flame is necessary for some species for regrowth, hope is expressed by the white lines and spaces symbolising regeneration and healing, (so much in keeping with Robyn’s own life as a nursing sister).’
Robyn qualified for an Honours degree in printmaking at the SCA. Her studies led her to the use of rich black relief prints. The sense of space these produced found its way into diverse books and images to become the central fugue in her work, tearing apart the conventional view of landscape.
We worked together on a print for the Sydney Printmakers exhibition ‘Collaboration’ in 2005, which, when I last saw it, was hanging in her home. I’m proud to have had the opportunity to have had that close contact with her and that, in that work, our mark making will always be linked.’
Laura Stark Oct. 2020
In Robyn’s words about her work…
I see my work as a documentation of space – my space.
My mark making describes my emotional link with my space…my space stripped bare of detail…showing the starkness of the devastation. I ask the viewer to imagine the detail. I look at a narrow horizontal strip of the landscape.
I use linoblocks as the basis of this set of prints, I am looking for a dense black!
Repetition….the tool of printmakers…not necessarily an edition.
I photographed the aftermath of bushfire…the white represents ‘the space between’. On the deeply dissecting sandstone plateaux which encircle metropolitan Sydney there is to be found a hardy flora, world famous for its diversity of species protected by a system of national parks on the Woronora and Hornsby Plateaux, the woodlands and open forest , popularly regarded as Sydney’s “bush”. The possibility of fire must be faced by much of this bush and the adjoining urban areas. Some plants are dependent on fire for their propagation. Hence, the third book, has the addition of text…the names of some of these botanical species of our area, handwritten.
THE set of 3 concertina books each a separate story.
The first is a panorama folded into individual images and contains a few collaged and printed red strips representing the burning embers of trees.
The second is a panorama of the blackness left behind and
The third documents the botanical names of plants of the Illawarra affected a by bush fire.
These books are a personal, contemplative view of the aftermath of a bushfire.