APW in Venice

Rick Amor, Louise Weaver, Jon Cattapan, Jan Senbergs

In a highly ambitious program, Australian Print Workshop set up workshop in Venice, Italy, for three weeks (June 2007) and invited four leading Australian artists to join them on a unique opportunity to live and work in this historic city that has a 500 year history of printmaking.

This landmark venture saw APW ‘export’ its services to work with Australian artists overseas for the 1st time.

Following in the footsteps of many great artists who have visited Venice and made prints about this iconic city over the centuries, APW Director Anne Virgo and APW Senior Printer Martin King travelled to Venice with Melbourne-based artists Rick Amor, Jon Cattapan, Jan Senbergs and Louise Weaver to produce a suite of limited edition prints inspired by ‘the city of lagoons’ – its culture, history, monuments, art and unique environment.

This wonderful ‘artist-in-residency’ project took place at the Venice Printmaking Studio, coinciding with the world-famous Venice Biennale.

APW had exclusive use of the Venice Printmaking Studio, a non-profit organisation sponsored by the City Council of Venice. Housed in a renovated warehouse, the Studio was ideally located on Fondamenti Nove on the water’s edge, with views across to the island of San Michele. APW also had exclusive use of the VPS artist accommodation; a large third-floor apartment on the Grand Canal, that provided sensational panoramas of Venice and daily life on the canal – a source of great inspiration for all of the artists.

The opportunity to undertake this project in Venice arose as a result of the APW Director’s Collie Print Trust Travel Scholarship undertaken in 2006. As part of her study visit, APW Director visited numerous print workshops and other institutions in the USA, UK and Europe. The aim of the Director’s overseas visit was to further strengthen APW’s existing international networks, to establish new relationships with other ‘like-minded’ organisations and to identify opportunities for future collaboration.

APW Director was keen to seek out and establish international opportunities for Victorian artists, particularly opportunities that would enhance the APW’s current program of International Travel Scholarships supported by The Collie Print Trust. As a result, APW forged a new relationship with a non-profit print workshop in Venice, Italy and was offered a wonderful opportunity to arrange an ‘artist-in-residency’ project for a group of Australian artists.  With the support and assistance of The Collie Print Trust and Arts Victoria, APW was able to travel to Venice with the artists and work at the Venice Printmaking Studio.

The Venice Printmaking Studio provided an ideal base for the Artists to research the art and architecture of the city, as well as providing important working space and access to printmaking facilities and presses.

Venice lured the artists to explore its churches, canals and alleyways, and as a result the artists would also often work outdoors drawing directly onto their etching plates.

The project generated an amazing body of work – far exceeding all expectations. The project also inspired the artists to create new works on their return to Melbourne, based on their Venice research. The suite of prints produced by the artists in Venice, together with a selection of works they produced upon returning to Melbourne, was exhibited at APW Gallery  (November 2007 - February 2008).

The project was a great success, generating huge interest in the work produced by the artists - by collectors, curators and the media.

APW thanks Rick Amor, Jon Cattapan, Jan Senbergs and Louise Weaver for participating in this ground-breaking initiative that resulted in the production of an extraordinary suite of limited edition prints – capturing the sights and sounds of Venice – as seen and experienced by this group of highly talented artists.

APW gratefully acknowledges the generous and ongoing support of The Collie Print Trust & the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria - Department of Premier and Cabinet that provided special assistance for this project.

A limited number of the works resulting from this unique project are available for purchase from the APW Gallery and online through the APW Printstore.