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With Convergence II, Monika Lukowska and Melanie McKee endorse a kind of art practice in which studio endeavour and everyday life are conflated. Raised in Poland and Zimbabwe respectively, the Western Australian based printmakers share a feeling of being out-of-home, which became the artistic premise for an open-ended creative engagement with place. The artists undertake investigative forays on foot, assume a tenacious attentiveness to their surroundings, take extensive written and photographic notes and embellish their findings with art theory and map data. “This is not just about making artwork,” explains Lukowska. “Our exploration of the landscapes around us heightens our awareness of how we act in place as artists.”

Weekend ventures into the open scrub and streams of the Darling Scarp were contemplated in light of other places. The industrial architecture of Lukowska’s hometown and McKee’s paternal New Zealand heritage coloured the way they understood their surroundings. “Our daily experiences in Perth are centred on complex memories of place,” says Lukowska.

This layering is reflected in the printed works, which combine the enriched pigmentation of photographic screen printing with improvised or appropriated cartographic syntax, text and textiles.

The prints are not explicit about date or location, but rather document a sensorial and intellectual endearment between person and place. “I felt that my eyes were stretched, exploring the vast terrain,” says McKee of a recent bushwalk. “Responding with large-scale print increased our spatial awareness. The way we moved around the artwork in its creation was reminiscent of negotiating material obstacles in the landscape.”

McKee and Lukowska draw an equivalence between real-world topography and the printed surface. Compositing printed fragments in the studio compelled them to imagine a psychological landscape, where home, remembered place and new expeditions coexist on one surface. The artists hover above this like zephyrs, creating the land below according to impulse and memory.

Convergence II
Monika Lukowska and Melanie McKee
Paper Mountain
7 June–23 June

This article was originally published in the May/June 2019 print edition of Art Guide Australia.

Sheridan Coleman