Clare Humphries



Clare Humphries




RMIT University, Australia


Clare Humphries lives and works as a print-based artist in Melbourne, Australia. Prior to commencing her art practice she worked as an occupational Therapist, and now brings an interest in psychology and family dynamics to her visual work. Her prints are represented in numerous public collections including the National Gallery of Australia. She is currently undertaking a PhD by research at RMIT that is concerned with the aura that surrounds personal objects of deceased family members


Relational surfaces: The tissue of materiality


Materiality has become an important value in contemporary art practice. Printmakers are increasingly conscious about the materials they use and processes they employ, mindful of the cultural and conceptual associations that each triggers. This has accompanied a turn towards the material qualities of print in its varying modes with a recent emphasis on investigating the 'haptics' of the surface. In this paper I consider the materiality of analogue printmaking in relation to ideas of loss, residue, accretion and wear. Drawing on my print-based research into family 'relics' I explore the idea that materiality concerns more than the physical substance of a print or object; it also encompasses a field of unseen relationships between the body, the materials of making, the acts of using and the passage of time. In this way I will examine the parallels that exist between the surface of the print and that of objects passed down when a person dies. Intergenerational possessions, for example, carry a history of deterioration and wear on their surface. They substitute for the loved ones who have touched and held them. In other words inherited belongings, like prints, exist as material remains, as what is left over. Both indicate that something has been touched by something that is now lost, and in doing so engage a dialectic between here/not here and now/then. In examining these implications through my print-based research I propose a view of materiality as a set of relations that operate on the surface, whilst being entangled with forces, bodies and times that exist beyond and beneath it.


Friday 30 September


11:00am - 12.30pm





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