Artist’s Book ‘Posted’ Normana Wight
Here is another posting from our guest blogger Normana Wight. Artist Normana is constantly restrained in her efforts to illustrate posts to the ALA blog by our demands for copyright compliance. There are no such constraints for this post which is written about her work ‘Posted’.
The writer of blogs for the State Library of Queensland, and any public collection, is constantly thwarted by problems of copyright. Both the writer and the artist are vigorously protected. The writer must be acknowledged and the artist’s images cannot be used unless permission is sought and granted; and in some cases, paid for.
This cramps the style of the enthusiastic blogger, who wants to share the experience with others, and curbs spontaneity.
As the blogger, I thought I would describe and enthuse about a work of my own held here in the State Library of Queensland. There would be no copyright problem, so I could illustrate the text more lavishly than would otherwise be possible.
The catalogue entry reads thus; (you might have read it.)
‘Artist’s book. Each month over 10 months the artist made a postcard in an edition of 40, which she posted to a ‘select few’ including family members and friends in Australia and overseas. The project was titled “then and there 1937 – 1946” – a period full of upheaval for many Australian families. “Then and there” is based on a group of photographs of the Wight family from this period. They were sent from Victoria by Wight’s mother to her sister living in North West Western Australia and returned to the artist in 2007.’ (Grahame Galleries)
This is a book about the making of those postcards.
It is the artist hopes, a moving but unsentimental account of a period of dream, hope and loss. It started as an immediate response to the gift of those old family photos.
It was the first attempt by the artist at something at all biographical, and most important to keep the mood ‘cool’, classical, restrained.
Dark green linen boards form the cover of a ten page concertina book. Attention was paid to mood and colours to set the right ‘feel.’ Of course the photos were all home snaps in black and white, so the rest of each collage needed to carry the active colour note; surrounds, landscape (city, bush and beach.)
In particular, Mornington, (a small seaside town on Port Philip Bay) was just a village in the 1930’s and ‘40’s. So green and blues predominate with touches of warm colour to ‘activate them. And, of course the lovely pristine yellow sand of the beach. Which, by the way is still like that at Mills beach, 70 years on!
There are, in summary;
• The block of land,
• Plans to build
• Suspension of those plans
• Young children
• Wartime – evacuation
• Return to building site
• Without partner
• Setting out afresh.
The postcard of the Australia Day beach group in 1946 “Women, children, dogs,” tells much about life for quite a few people at that time.