Letterpress printing exhibition presents rare opportunity
Letterpress printing, a craft which some might consider obsolete, is embraced in a small but extraordinary exhibition organised by the Christchurch Art Gallery at Central Library Peterborough.
Press Letters – Fine Printing in New Zealand since 1975 exhibits some of the finest examples of letterpress printing produced in New Zealand in the last 37 years. The exhibition opens Thursday 30 August to Sunday 23 September and is timed to coincide with The Press Writers’ Festival.
“This is a unique and rare opportunity to indulge in the beauty, skill and thought that has pervaded every aspect of the production of these books,” says Gallery director, Jenny Harper.
“One notable example is The Dogs of Auckland, by poet Robert Creeley and artist Max Gimblett, printed by Alan Loney and Natasha Herman on handmade harakeke. Its crisp, thick paper creates a textured background to Gimblett’s evocative images that marry perfectly with Creeley’s poetry.”
“Other examples from Holloway Press, Otakou Press, Pear Tree Press and Fernbank Studio highlight the collaborative nature that often exists between printers, poets and artists in the production of finely crafted hand-printed books,” says Ms Harper.
Printing presses with movable type have been around since the 15th century but in the mid 1970’s new technology with off-set printing and later digital printing replaced the labour intensive craft.
The exhibition includes books from the Christchurch Art Gallery’s artist’s book collection, which has been developed over the last ten years and contains key examples of letterpress printing from the past four decades. The collection focuses on artists already held in the Art Gallery’s permanent collection.
Libraries and Information manager Carolyn Robertson says Christchurch Libraries has welcomed another partnership opportunity with the Gallery.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to highlight a selection of the treasures that are held within the Christchurch City Libraries collection alongside astonishing examples from the Gallery’s collection.”
Central Library Peterborough is on 91 Peterborough St and is open Monday to Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am – 5pm. For more information visit www.christchurchartgallery.org.nz .