Typography often straddles both art and design. This years parkin prize winner is a beautiful example of text glyphs being used for illustrative means, as delicate typewritten strokes weave together to build a beautiful textural drawing.
Wellington-based Poppy Lekner won the prestigious award and $25,000 cash prize – with ‘Forward Slash’, reflecting on the winning artwork, Charlotte Davy, the judge for this year’s prize said:
“Forward Slash is a delicate unrelenting work produced on a Brother typewriter, the artist has mechanically made the same mark over and over again, meshing and weaving the symbol into a single image. Far from the kind of quick digital keyboard art that can readily be morphed into emoji, this piece is a beautiful meditation created using a laborious process of pressing the character into the surface repeatedly in a line, then adjusting and realigning the paper at the end of each row before setting out again.
The piece owes a debt to 1960s Op art with its repetition of form, and also to Conceptualism with its negation of the artists hand through the use of a machine and the exploration of chance. The minute variations in the angle of the typewriter key hitting the surface of the paper and the artist realigning the piece at the end of each row produce unsettling distortions in the overall grid. The pared back quality of this drawing is mesmerizing, and in our chaotic and difficult world it contemplates a kind of simplicity, immediacy and acceptance of imperfection that often seems far from reach.”
In her artist statement, Poppy describes Forward Slash as part of a series using the typewriter as a drawing tool. She describes how it shows the hand of the artist while using a machine to generate the work.
“I recently started using a typewriter as a means to write short form recollections of my childhood and family members, and then try and see what it could do in terms of mark making. I’ve always been drawn to abstract artworks and influencers such as Agnes Martin, whose paintings are very geometric and minimal but the touch of the artist through the mark is easily identifiable. I have worked on lots of different explorations using the typewriter but I hadn’t committed as much time previously as I had in this work which required dedication because using a typewriter to mark make is quite a laborious thing.
I have a real love for minimalist mark making, line and form but also the artist cut through using a typewriter, with the discreet marks, different pressures and ability to communicate what is going on at the time with the pressure of the ink or the lack of ink.”
The Parkin Drawing Prize exhibition season runs until 30 August at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts Gallery Academy Galleries, Queens Wharf, Wellington. All the artworks will be for sale giving admirers and collectors the opportunity to purchase some wonderful pieces.
Further information on the award and exhibition can be found on www.parkinprize.nz.