BEAUTY OF frankston

Artwork by Billy Nye

Walking Through Frankston’, the first exhibition from Peninsula Printmakers, reveals the incredible diversity and unique beauty of Frankston. From its iconic architecture and street art to its beautiful waterfront and hidden suburban bushland, this show celebrates everything Frankston.

Peninsula Printmakers are thirteen women who started out as students in a workshop with award-winning artist and master printmaker, Billy Nye. Under her tutelage, they have blossomed into a talented group of artists, each with her own distinctive style. For this exhibition, each artist chose a different facet of Frankston to feature.

Peninsula Printmakers were awarded a Visual Arts Grant from Frankston City Council to mount this exhibition at the Frankston Arts Centre’s Curved Wall Gallery until April 20. They couldn’t be more grateful and excited.

It’s remarkable that many of these women had never tried printmaking or any other form of art before. It certainly doesn’t look like it from the quality of their work. The group has only been working together a year. For most, this is their first art exhibition.

Member, Leanne Kenny is a career architect. Because of her lifelong interest in art, she thought of studying graphic design, but chose architecture instead. While Leanne has never studied art, she was formally trained in technical drawing and illustration at university. This meticulous attention to detail shows in her linocuts.

Serendipity changed Leanne’s course. She saw an exhibition of Billy’s prints at a local gallery and loved them. A bit of research on Billy followed and her printmaking workshop popped up. Leanne signed on right away. It turns out that she’s a natural. In only twelve months, Leanne has transitioned into full-time printmaking.

Artwork by Leeanne Kenny

“I’m drawn to architectural elements and historic places. Growing up in England, I was surrounded by historic architecture. Near where we lived, there was a 9th century Anglo Saxon church. In our village we had an 11th century Norman castle – the most preserved keep of Norman architecture in Europe. These places had a deep influence on me,” Leanne says.

In the ‘Walking Through Frankston’ exhibition, Leanne has focused on elements of local urban architecture and historic buildings. “I like little architectural details that I find, like the stained- glass windows at the former Ambassador Hotel. Everything I do is related to architecture,” Leanne says.

“I love seeing how Frankston is evolving. As a subject for art it’s a lot of fun because Frankston is a quirky place. It’s energetic, colourful, raw and real. I never know what I’ll discover when I’m out looking for locations. I love that,” she adds.

“I find Frankston beautiful and diverse. It’s got a lot of character”.

Gillian Haig

At the other end of the experiential scale, Gillian Haig is a career artist, yet she is just as comfortable in this group. She brings a completely different flavour to the exhibition, focusing on the hidden beauty of Sweetwater Creek. Growing up on a 1500-acre sheep farm in East Gippsland, it’s not surprising she’s gone for the green.

In childhood, Gillian loved drawing. Her grandfather was an artist. Her mother was creative too. She played piano and organ and also had skills in drawing, sewing and knitting. She’d put butcher paper on the dining room table and encourage her children to draw just for fun. Gillian studied art in high school and dreamed of going to art school in Melbourne. She was accepted to several schools, but chose RMIT to study Fine Art/Painting. In her Post-Graduate studies, she won a travelling scholarship to study art in Europe. She visited all the great galleries. It was an idyllic, life changing experience for her as a young artist.

Gillian approaches her printmaking with a painterly eye. It’s how she makes her marks. “Painting has informed my printmaking and printmaking has informed my painting,” she says. Gillian hand paints her linocut prints with watercolour. It really makes the art pop. The greens in her Sweetwater Creek prints sing.

Artwork by Gillian Haig

“I find Frankston beautiful and diverse. It’s got a lot of character. I love that it’s on the water. There are lots of little pockets of beauty throughout the city,” she says.
The combination of green spaces, interesting architecture, arts and culture are a winning combination. Walking through Frankston highlights each of these elements.

All of the works in the exhibition are for sale. If the piece has a red sold dot on it, that doesn’t mean it can’t be purchased. The beauty of printmaking is that pieces can be reprinted. Most printmakers offer their work in limited editions. Don’t miss out on a chance to see this iconic exhibition that showcases the wonderful things that Frankston has to offer.

Front row: Anita Beebee Second row L-R: Gillian Haig, Berri Albrecht, Leanne Kenny Third row L-R: Rebecca Westlund, Sophie Vuat, Rachel Rogers Back row L-R: Billy Nye, Bridget Howes, Lajla Thye. Picture: Yanni
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Peninsula Essence – April 2024