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Jo Lankester

CORNERSTONE Jo Lankester 1


Cornerstone

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Jo Lankester

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Publisher

Published on the occasion of

CORNERSTONE

Gallery Services, Townsville City Council PO Box 1268 Townsville Queensland, 4810 Australia prtg@townsville.qld.gov.au +61 7 47279011

Jo Lankester

Š Gallery Services, Townsville City Council and the authors 2014

18 July - 24 August 2014

ISBN: 978-0-949461-01-8

organised by

Project Manager

Gallery Services

Shane Fitzgerald

Shane Fitzgerald Manager Gallery Services Eric Nash Curator Sarah Welch Exhibitions and Collection Coordinator Michael Pope Education and Programs Coordinator Rob Donaldson Digital Media and Exhibition Design Coordinator Jo Stacey Team Leader Administration Gallery Services Holly Grech-Fitzgerald Collections Management Officer Carly Sheil Digital Media and Exhibition Design Officer Alex Shapley Exhibitions Officer Tegan Ollett Education and Programs Officer Nic Horton Education and Programs Assistant Wendy Bainbridge Administration Officer Gillian Ribbins Administration Officer Danielle Berry Arts Officer Michelle Littman Gallery Assistant Patricia Dunn Gallery Assistant Damian Cumner Gallery Assistant Rurik Henry Gallery Assistant

Perc Tucker Regional Gallery Cnr. Denham and Flinders Streets Townsville QLD 4810 Mon - Fri: 10am - 5pm Sat - Sun: 10am - 2pm

(07) 4727 9011 ptrg@townsville.qld.gov.au www.townsville.qld.gov.au @TCC_PercTucker PercTuckerTCC

Exhibition Curator Eric Nash / Shane Fitzgerald

Publication Design and Development Rob Donaldson / Eric Nash / Shane Fitzgerald

Acknowledgements

Gallery Services would like to acknowledge the efforts of the artist, Jo Lankester, and Townsville City Council in realising this exhibition and supporting publication.


CORNERSTONE Jo Lankester

Perc Tucker Regional Gallery


FORE WORD

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Shane Fitzgerald

BENE ATH THE SURFACE

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Eric Nash

SERIES I 14 SERIES II 44 CURRICULUM VITAE

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Cornerstone

FORE WORD In showcasing Jo Lankester’s major exhibition Cornerstone, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery furthers its developed reputation for celebrating the region’s home-grown talent. Cornerstone, which coincides with exhibitions by her printmaking contemporary Donna Foley, and members of the PressNorth Printmakers, underlines the Gallery’s dedication to the development and recognition of the achievements of Townsville’s artists. As it stands, there could be no Townsville artist more deserving of recognition than Jo Lankester. Possessing considerable technical ability and a deep commitment to her craft, it was fated that Jo Lankester should reach this significant milestone; a major exhibition in her region’s premier art gallery. However, Cornerstone isn’t just about acknowledging Lankester’s achievements in delivering this visual triumph, but also casting an eye to the artist’s future. In a region brimming with artistic promise, Jo Lankester personifies its immense potential. Having previously worked behind-the-scenes at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Lankester is aware of the energy and effort required to succeed as a professional visual artist in a regional centre such as Townsville.

Since dedicating herself solely to her craft, she has worked diligently to develop an unmistakable visual language. In this period she has also become deeply ingrained in the region’s complex and active arts scene, thus ensuring a unanimous respect and admiration not only for her artistic output, but also her generous nature. These very qualities displayed by Lankester have resulted in her current level of success, but it is these same qualities that, if consistently applied over time, will inevitably lead to a greater recognition of her work on the national stage. The works within Cornerstone make a statement of an artist who has a clear understanding of the many possibilities of her medium, and a firm handle on the precarious field of abstraction. The two series presented within the exhibition, which variously explore the texture and form of rocks and boulders found around Townsville, enchant through their rich colours and shrewd compositional devices. I trust visitors to the exhibition will instantly recognise Lankester’s immense talent, and potential, through these captivating collagraphs. I wish Jo every success in her artistic journey. Shane Fitzgerald MANAGER, GALLERY SERVICES

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

BENE ATH THE SURFACE An insight into the seductive prints of Jo Lankester Cornerstone represents the most significant solo exhibition to-date in the career of emerging Townsville-based artist Jo Lankester. It is both fitting and humbling that such an emphatic public announcement of her undeniable talent should be held at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, where the artist worked for close to a decade before re-focusing her efforts on her arts practice in 2010.

The artist recalls during her early arts education, “working in the field with one particular teacher who would encourage us to ‘frame’ our surroundings using our hands. I suppose that’s where my instinct to find compositions in our everyday surroundings was honed. I don’t particularly like working from photographs, but it’s a practical framing tool to acquire images that act as a starting point for my works.”¹

Immediately upon viewing the works that comprise Cornerstone, one realises these efforts have not been misplaced. Moreover, it seems lamentable that someone with such a keen eye for colour, tone and texture would take so many years to return to her true calling; followers of her work remain thankful, though, that she has done so now.

Rock and boulder surfaces are not a new source of inspiration for the artist; in fact they were among her very first artistic explorations while at Technical College, prior to her VCA training.

Cornerstone sees the artist – who attained her Bachelor of Visual Arts majoring in Printmaking from the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) in 1994 – explore the intricate surfaces and arrangements of rocks and boulders found on Castle Hill, Magnetic Island, and in a variety of locations around the Townsville region. Lankester is always finding pleasing compositions, textures, lines and colour combinations in the natural and, occasionally, the built environment, and will return to these ‘finds’ with camera in hand to arm herself with sufficient source imagery.

In Cornerstone, Lankester builds upon these early explorations of surface and texture, and pushes beyond her comfort zone by utilising new colour combinations, incorporating abstract rock formations in combination with surface textures, and adopting pure abstraction. In this final development, she rejects the refined, representational focal points such as drawings of birds, feathers or nests that have underpinned the bulk of her recent output. Lankester’s shift towards pure abstraction is seamless, with these new bodies of work opening themselves to all audiences and their varied experiences and emotions. In this, any number of viewers’ readings of the works are invited, a fact encouraged by the artist. While the surface and form of the boulders Lankester

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Jo Lankester

has referenced are evident when communicated, the collagraphs on display expand beyond this constraint to variously evoke images from the most microscopic view of our world, to the most expansive image of our universe, as in the stunning Symbiosis – Crustose Lichen. Such is the breadth of the various readings of Lankester’s prints that they can also be viewed somewhere between these very extreme ‘near and far’ readings, sharing a number of qualities with the landscape paintings of renowned Australian artist Fred Williams. The organic marks achieved by Lankester are particularly akin to the sepia toned Sherbrooke Forest etching and aquatints produced by Williams in 1962. Her increasingly refined, vibrant colour palette sits comfortably alongside Williams’ gorgeous 1979 oil painting Strath Creek Falls VII, which was included in the 2012 National Gallery of Australia Touring Exhibition Fred Williams: Infinite Horizons, or any of his later paintings inspired by the Pilbara region. Similarities between the works of Williams and Lankester may stem not only from their abstract approach or inspiration drawn from the rugged Australian terrain, but also from an adopted process of refining field studies in their respective studios to achieve a final ‘major’ work. Deborah Hart, the National Gallery of Australia’s Senior Curator, Australian Painting and Sculpture post-1920 and Curator of Fred Williams: Infinite Horizons, points to Williams’ desire;

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“...to get to know particular landscapes well, returning again and again and amassing large series of works over several years. The outdoor oils were generally complemented by what he called ‘a summation oil’ painted in the studio. While the outdoor paintings were generally more spontaneous and representational, the studio works…were more distilled and abstracted, rather like his earlier approach.”² For Lankester, this process of refinement begins with photographs and sketches made in situ, from which desired colours, grass blades, cracks, lichen or moss, textures and compositions are identified, re-worked, re-arranged and deliberated over to achieve the conclusive abstract large-scale collagraph. Also as in Williams’ paintings, Lankester’s prints – when viewed in isolation – elicit powerful, singular emotional responses derived from the viewer’s predisposition and chosen reading. Viewed consecutively within the Gallery however, the emotional journey is more fluid, prompted by movements between comforting boulder forms, at times aggressive line work, and a palette that shifts from melancholy blue and grey hues to more lively oranges, umbers and ochres. In discussing Lankester’s practice, the word ‘effort’ cannot be understated. While she, like many successful artists, thoroughly enjoys time spent in the studio, she is also unfazed by the mental and physical exertion and occasional anguish required in achieving quality results.


Cornerstone

An affirmation, provided to Lankester by her artist peer, good friend and confidante Hannah Murray, best articulates Lankester’s working ethos; Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives. This commitment to quality resonates throughout Cornerstone; tellingly, however, none of the works appear laboured, overworked, or overstate the considerable effort that has gone into creating them. While the art-naïve among us will recognise the skill of a realist painter through the plain-to-see difficulty of their craft – the precise draughtsmanship and hours upon hours of meticulous rendering required to create the likeness of their subject – the skill of abstract artists in making the difficult appear effortless is oft underappreciated. Each of the prints within the exhibition – all produced as unique states rather than in editions – have been agonised over by the artist, and in some cases include upwards of 10 separate plates. The viewer, however, doesn’t read the hours of dedication, the careful deliberation and methodical planning, or even the occasional contempt for the work. Rather, they are seduced by Lankester’s subtlety of tone and highly textural surfaces, and the exceedingly natural aura of the works.

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Jo Lankester

Perhaps the graceful, effortless aesthetic achieved by Lankester stems from the manner in which Cornerstone evolved. Following a long genesis of many months planning, capturing source imagery, preparing plates, printing, and reworking, roughly half of the exhibition was then printed in an intense period of less than one month. This period of creation spurred the artist to trust not only her preparation and chosen direction, but also her keen artistic instincts. Prime among these instinctive artistic choices are Lankester’s line work and command of subtle tonal shifts, which resonate with the works of Australian artist GW Bot, who is renowned for her “natural colour palette, course visual texture and complex rhythmic patterns and glyphs”.³ The artist visited Townsville in 2012 for the launch of her survey exhibition The Long Paddock at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, and returned in early 2014 to deliver workshops for members of the PressNorth Printmakers, a group which highlights the depth of printmaking talent currently thriving in Townsville. Lankester – who is actively involved in numerous local arts organisations – plays a key organisational role for the PressNorth Printmakers, and her own practice has benefitted from the group’s developed program of workshops and residencies which brings printmakers with vast knowledge and experience, such as Bot, to Townsville on a semi-regular basis.

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While Lankester has not been overtly influenced by the artist, comparisons can also be drawn with the masterful mixed media paintings of the late Spanish artist Antoni Tàpies. The similarities in the artists’ tonal variations and natural colour preferences, use of repeated lines and glyphs to create visual texture, and also in the occasional placement of energetic focal points of form are best illustrated in works such as Tàpies’ 1958 oil, epoxy resin and marble dust painting Ochre gris [Grey Ochre], held in the TATE Modern Collection, or his 1955 mixed media painting Grey and Black Cross. No. XXVI, which is within the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles Collection. Comparisons with artists of the ilk Williams, Bot and Tàpies are not made lightly, but such is the quality of work being produced by Lankester that they should be appropriate. Cornerstone presents a seductive and resolved body of work from a fine abstract artist working in a regional setting, but whose name is certainly not out of place when discussing the very best contemporary abstract artists currently practicing in Australia. Eric Nash CURATOR, GALLERY SERVICES

1. Conversation between the artist Jo Lankester and the Curator Eric Nash on Thursday 29 May 2014 2. Deborah Hart, National Gallery of Australia 2014, Fred Williams: Infinite Horizons, accessed 10 June 2014, <http://nga.gov.au/Exhibition/WILLIAMS/ Default.cfm?MNUID=6> 3. Beaver Galleries 2014, GW Bot, accessed 9 June 2014, <http://www.beavergalleries.com.au/bot.htm>


CORNERSTONE Series I


Cornerstone

Cornerstone l

2014

15 colour plate collagraph 101 x 75 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Cornerstone ll

2014

10 colour plate collagraph 101 x 75 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Cornerstone - Atmosphere 6 colour plate collagraph 101 x 75 cm unique state

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2014


Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Cornerstone - Cosmos 2014 10 colour plate collagraph 101 x 75 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Fissure Fields of Gold & Silver l 2014 9 colour plate collagraph 101 x 75 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Fissure Fields of Gold & Silver ll 2014 4 colour plate etching and collagraph 87.5 x 74.5 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Photosynthetic 2014 15 colour plate collagraph 100.5 x 75 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Symbiosis 2014 10 Colour plate collagraph 101.2 x 75 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Symbiosis - Metamorphic 2014 10 colour plate collagraph 101 x 75 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Symbiosis - Crustose Lichen 2014 10 colour plate collagraph 75.5 x 101 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Knobbyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Rock 2014 5 colour plate collagraph 101 x 75 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Glam Rock 2014 7 colour plate collagraph 101.5 x 75.2 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Shadow of No Doubts ll 2014 8 colour plate collagraph 100.5 x 75 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Esoteric â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Vortex 2014 5 colour plate etching and collagraph 87.5 x 74.5 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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CORNERSTONE Series II


Cornerstone

Ghosts of the Boulder Past l 7 colour plate collagraph 75 x 100.5 cm unique state

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2014


Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Ghosts of the Boulder Past ll 2014 10 colour plate collagraph 75 x 100.5 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Ghosts of the Boulder Past lll 2014 10 colour plate collagraph 75 x 100.5 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Ghosts of the Boulder Past lV 2014 10 colour plate collagraph 75.2 x 88.4 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

On the Surface - Cracks and Crevices 2014 4 colour plate etching and collagraph 89 x 76 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

On the Surface - Rolling Stone 2014 6 colour plate etching and collagraph 89 x 75.3 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

On the Surface â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Monsoon 2014 4 colour plate etching and collagraph 87.5 x 74.2 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

On the Surface - Fractured 2014 4 colour plate etching and collagraph 88 x 75 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

On the Surface 2014 7 colour plate etching and collagraph 88.5 x 75 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

On the Surface ll 2014 6 colour plate etching and collagraph 89 x 75.3 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Keystone l 2014 5 colour plate collagraph 101 x 75 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Keystone ll 2014 8 colour plate collagraph 101 x 75 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Shadow of No Doubts l 2014 6 colour plate collagraph 101.5 x 75.5 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Esoteric

2014

10 colour plate collagraph 101 x 75 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

Esoteric - Summit 2014 7 colour plate collagraph 101 x 75 cm unique state

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Jo Lankester

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Cornerstone

CURRICULUM VITAE Jo Lankester (b.1972, Melb) Victorian College of the Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Printmaking, 1994 EXHIBITIONS Solo 2008 Grass Trees, a little white space, The Brewery, Townsville, Qld 2000 Reflections, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Niche Space, Townsville, Qld Selected Group Shows 2014 Glide, Robert Crispe, Michelle Hall, Jo Lankester, Pinnacles Gallery, Townsville Qld 2013 58th Townsville Art Society Awards, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville, Qld 2013 North & South Postcards 2013, a simultaneous exhibition of prints by PressNorth Printmakers, Townsville, Qld and Firestation Print Studio, Melbourne, Vic 2013 Wing Tipped Vortice, Michele Hall and Jo Lankester, Cell Art Space, Cairns, Qld 2013 Strand Ephemera 2013, The Strand, Townsville, Qld 2012 PressNorth: Out of the Box, Pinnacles Gallery, Townsville, Qld 2012 The Expanded Field of Printmaking, Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, Townsville, Qld 2012 Compact Prints, Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, Townsville, Qld 2012 Connections, Queensland Regional Art Awards Touring Exhibition, John Flynn Place Museum and Gallery, Cloncurry, Qld; Mt Isa Civic Centre, Mt Isa, Qld; State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld; TYTO Regional Art Gallery, Ingham, Qld 2011 Neoteric Print, Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, Townsville, Qld 2011 Place & Being: Pressnorth Members Exchange Portfolio Exhibition, Artspaced Inc, and Brush & Press Studio, Townsville, Qld 2011 Strand Ephemera 2011, The Strand, Townsville, Qld 2011 Paper Bird, Jo Lankester and Hannah Murray, Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, Townsville, Qld 2010 Compact Prints, Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, Townsville, Qld 2010 XXX+WHY, Pinnacles Gallery, Townsville, Qld 2002 (W)ink, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville, Qld 2002 Tropologic, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville 1998 Observations, recent prints made at The Australian Print Workshop Access Studio, Melbourne, Vic 1995 Recent Prints Made at the Australian Print Workshop Access Studio - by June Defdteros Jo Lankester - Graeme Lee, Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne, Vic

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Jo Lankester

1995 1995 1995 1994

Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle, WA 2nd Student International Art Biennial, Art Gallery Skopje, Skopje, Macedonia Australian Print Workshop Christmas Show, Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne, Vic Canson Student Print Award, Brisbane, Qld; Sydney, NSW; Melbourne, Vic

BIBLIOGRAPHY Crawford, Marian PressNorth: Out of the Box, Imprint, Summer 2012, Vol. 47, Number 4, p. 32. Naylor, Stephen Umbrella Studio and the Neoteric printmakers, Imprint, Autumn 2012, Vol. 47, Number 1, p. 10 Butler, Roger and Virgo, Anne (Editors) Place made: Australian Print Workshop, National Gallery of Australia 2004, p. 185 COLLECTIONS Art Bank City of Townsville Art Collection Crown Limited National Gallery of Australia National and international private collections CURATORIAL PROJECTS 2012 PressNorth: Out of the Box, Pinnacles Gallery, Townsville, Qld 2012 The Expanded Field of Printmaking, Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, Townsville, Qld Artists: Michelle Hall, Jo Lankester, Margot Laver, Alison McDonald, Jenny Mulcahy, Hannah Murray, Rhonda Stevens and Alan Valentine 2011 PressNorth: Place & Being, Artspaced Inc and Brush & Press Studio, Townsville, Qld 2011 Neoteric Printmakers, Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, Townsville, Qld Artists: Aja Ausman, Kelly Bianchi, John Bradshaw, Laura Castell, Michelle Hall, Donna Foley, Karen Fiorito, Sheree Kinlyside, Jo Lankester, Kyana Pike, Gerald Soworka, Sandra Wright AWARDS AND GRANTS 2013 58th Townsville Art Society Printmaking Award. Judge: Mandy Martin 2013 RAF PressNorth Printmakers Professional Development Project 2011 Neoteric Printmakers, Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts. RADF Funding 1995 2nd Student International Art Biennial, Art Gallery Skopje, Skopje, Macedonia 1994 Canson Student Print Award

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Jo Lankester Cornerstone  

Published on the occasion of Jo Lankester's Cornerstone Exhibition

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