ARTROM Gallery TOPTEN Winner Cleo Wilkinson

FEATURED ARTIST :: Cleo Wilkinson / New Zealand

Gallery comment:

Cleo Wilkinson achieves a velvety softness with a fairly monochrome canvas and focuses on the shadows that give form and substance to her subjects. Added text intertwines and adds interest.



My interest lies in the power to evoke feeling and memory with the subtle nuances of light that the richness of the mezzotint can uncover. Although I specialise in the mezzotint print technique I continue to paint and sculpt using shadow to define objects as they are brought out of darkness, just as a thought would emerge from ones memory.

I am an explorer of twilight zones and ambiguous spaces. Much of my recent work explores ambivalence - suspended .  Moments of isolation and dislocation, stillness and silence  where introspection and alienation are consciously engaged and interrogated.

I find  people waiting and lingering in darkness caught between expectation and anxiety to be  the most haunting imagery. My source of inspiration comes from memory and subconscious which is rearticulated into my own visual language . It stretches my investigation of ideas  into solitude, symbolism of thought and the human condition. I like to suggest  not prescribe - it is what is missing in the shadows and is suggested  in the darkness that provides the greatest potential for me. 

The mezzotint is known as “ maniere noire”  ( black method) it demands patience ,consequence, and precision. It is an extremely labour and   time consuming  process; and  an intensely intimate one  - for this reason  there are only a relatively small number of artists who practice this print technique worldwide today. The  technique is particularly meditative. It is about disappearing into the overall experience of the work and being totally absorbed in the process  The metal plate – working with the materials to a great extent is what the image is about. It  offers resistance to my will and forces me to think and rethink my way to solutions.    To maintain the highest standards I personally perform all the creative and technical aspects of my work. I do all this work personally without the use of an apprentice or assistant. I have invented and designed my own roulette that creates a rare stippled pattern  that can not be achieved with any other tool currently on the market.   



One of the few artists working today in the mezzotint printmaking technique Cleo Wilkinson graduated with an honours degree from Elam Art School (Auckland University) New Zealand.

The mezzotint process was invented by Ludwig Von Seigen in Amsterdam in 1642. It is a laborious and time consuming technique for creating a print and primarily for this reason it is not widely used today.

The mezzotint has rightly been described the most complex of all art forms. Mezzotint is among the most physically demanding mediums in art, once tried and quickly abandoned as “too difficult” for example by the great printmaker MC Escher. A copper or zinc plate is “rocked” with a curved, notched blade until the surface is entirely pitted. At this stage an inked plate would print a rich uniform black. The artist then uses a scraper or burnisher to flatten the raised parts, a little for dark greys, a lot for light greys, completely for white (after inking and wiping, the plate holds no ink where it is smooth).

The result of this process is an image emerging from pitch black “nothingness” a true analogue to creation. Outlines are simplified by absence of line, while substance is rendered with a virtually infinite range of tonal subtlety.

No other art can give birth to such magnificent areas of light and shade as this purely tonal medium. Imagery is permeated by mystical elements derived from the unique spatial relationships of the mezzotint medium. This technique demands a long involved process the artist can be very closely working on a plate for at least 100 hours before even starting to print the image.

> visit artist's website
1
Angela Hennessy
Angela Hennessy

3

Anna Bocek
Anna Bocek

5

Michelle P. Lim
Michelle Pauline Lim

7

Cleo Wilkinson
Cleo Wilkinson

9

Noreen Larinde
Noreen Larinde

 
2
Elisabetta Trevisan
Elisabetta Trevisan

4

Jane Andrews
Jane Andrews

6

Melissa Leslie
Melissa Leslie

8

Anki King
Anki King

10

Brenda Gale Warner
Brenda Gale Warner