Rebecca Beardmore




Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, Australia


Born in Montreal, Canada in 1974
Academic background:
M.F.A. in Printmaking (University of Alberta, Edmonton, 1998-2001)
BVA in Printmedia  (Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, 1995-1997)

Rebecca Beardmore moved to Sydney in 1994 to study printmaking at Sydney College of the Arts, the University of Sydney. Upon her completion in 1997 she returned to the North to complete a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, a Centre for Excellence in printmaking. It was during this time that she encountered an offset lithography proofing press and developed a method of printing photographic images onto non-porous architectural surfaces. Although there have been significant technological shifts in production, the illusory painterly quality of the printed images is still present in her work today. For the past decade Rebecca’s work has explored the fragile relationship between seeing, perception and understanding. Her work is situated very much on the boundaries of perception, having a fugitive presence that is almost an absence, in which the viewer is partially reflected. The subtle interplay of text, image and material surface sets up a provocative and shifting relationship between the artist, the work, its meaning and the viewer.

Rebecca Beardmore is subject chair and lecturer in Printmedia at Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney. In 2010 she won Australia’s most prestigious print award, the Freemantle Print Prize. Her work is held in numerous institutional, museum and private collections, including The Art Gallery of NSW, Rhode Island School of Art and Design and The University of Alberta, Print Study Centre.


On the Periphery of Things - defining the 'Edges' of contemporary print practice from the North to the South


Printmaking has a rich but marginalised history within the discourse of Fine Art. There are relatively few major publications devoted exclusively to contemporary Printmedia that address expanded notions of current print practices and bring together work by a broad international print community. Furthermore, there is very little Australian representation within the current wider dialogue of print practice – situated almost exclusively in the Northern hemisphere. Printmaking, often-coined the most ‘democratic’ of art forms, holds both a coveted and scorned view of it’s distinguished position as both an art form equally at home within the vernacular of the everyday, as it is preserved in the private collections of specialist connoisseurs. Perpetuated by its devoted allegiance to technological advancement; the invention and innovation that accompany printmaking’s historical decree as ‘conveyer of pictorial information’(William, I. 1969), it cannot escape the duality of its cultural imperative. Most notably from the middle of the twentieth century and ever present today, the contradictions in practice, intention and collaboration pervade all aspects of this field of creativity. The rise of digital media brought forth renewed debate about the nature of fine print and reproduction with the same attitude that maligned the validity of the economic activities of commercial print publishing houses. In the end the accelerated momentum of this digital evolution has facilitated a greater depth of participation, creating new agencies of distribution and reception, and perversely, a renewed interest in ‘hands-on’ and more traditional technologies. Within the intelligent articulation of new and traditional processes and media we find a faithful investment in the unique characteristics of a finely crafted print edition along side the ephemerality of street stencils and paste ups, ‘unlimited’ editions in the form of downloadable pdf files and the accessibility and affordability of ‘zines’, badges and stickers. This expansion has blurred the cultural playing field - situating the commercial and political strategist alongside the technical purist and the experimental sampler, producing a community of artists that at once strives to shed the compartmentalisation of media specificity and to embrace the postmodern plurality of contemporary practice, while acknowledging the value, support and collegiality of the established printmaking forums; triennials, biennials, symposiums, competitions and exchanges.

It is this paradoxical nature that perpetuates print’s ancillary position within the broader discourse of contemporary art and yet, in turn, spurns the very attraction that Printmedia holds as an exciting medium of choice for an ever expanding collective of creative practitioners seeking the freedom encapsulated in its autonomous field of operation - one that showcases in equal measure, profound integrity and humorous irreverence.

In 2006 Richard Noyce addressed the multi-faceted and complex character of contemporary Printmaking in his book titled “Printmaking at the Edge”- a collection of work by 45 artists from 16 countries whose work pushed towards the limit, or sat at the ‘edge’ of a particular frame of reference - be that technical innovation, geographical, material, or meta-physical… A short time later a selection of the artists (from the North to the South) gathered, with the author, to discuss the individuality of ‘Edges’ for a panel at the 2007 Southern Graphics Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. The ‘edge’ as a point of demarcation between one thing and another marks a position in space and time where one thing ends and another begins; a point of difference but ultimately a transformative point of exchange; a place of negotiation between one thing and another. In the wake of Richard Noyce’s recently published sequel, “Critical Mass: Printmaking Beyond the Edge” (2010) which features work by a further 52 artists from 27 countries, including 6 from Australia or New Zealand, the 2011 Impact 7 conference at Monash University in Melbourne marks a timely opportunity and geographically pertinent location- at one of the Southern most ‘edges’ of the world- to continue this dialogue. ‘On the Periphery of Things’ draws on this expanded international family who have, by inclusion, contemplated the transience of their ‘edgy’ position, to re-address the question of ‘edges’ and the nature of distinction and connection within the wider and multiplex community of print that, despite itself, continues to push onwards and outwards.

List of Panel contributers

Rebecca Beardmore - convenor
Richard Noyce- author, independent researcher, contemporary art, printmaking. Scott Betz- Associate Professor of Art, Department of Fine Art, Winston-Salem State University
Liz Ingram- Distinguished University Professor, Department of Art and Design, University of Alberta
Mike Wegerer- artist in residence RMIT Melbourne 2009, Alicia Candiani-


Wednesday 28 September


1:30pm - 3.00pm





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