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Short Stories

2 March - 20 March

2 – 20 March 2021

Tuesday – Friday 11am to 5pm,
Saturday 11am to 3pm
admission: Free

Each book turned into a capsule of reflection and hope and led to a body of work that celebrates and pays homage to Australian short stories and reflects on my creative year that was 2020.

Pyrocumulonimbus, a charcoal sky, 2020, unique state, etchings, archival pigment prints and charcoal, four panels, BFK cotton rag 300gsm and Awagami Tengucho papers 80gsm, Framed 138x198cm. Photo credit: Chris van der Spuy

Northerly, Southerly, Code RED, 2020, unique state, etchings, 80cm diameter. Photo credit: Chris van der Spuy

Writers are dreamers (detail), 2020 unique state, Concertina Artist Book, 20cm x 225cm (extended), etchings, text and words. Photo credit: Chris van der Spuy

The edge of tears, 2020, 1/1, etching, text and gouache, Image/plate 50.5 x 38cm. Photo credit: Chris van der Spuy

And I love you. And I miss you. And I’m with you everyday., 2020, unique state, etchings, assemblage of multiplate intaglio etchings, 80cm diameter. Photo credit: Chris van der Spuy

Short story, 2020 1/1, etching, Image/plate 19x13.5cm. Photo credit: Chris van der Spuy

Personal and planetary grief, 2020, unique state, multiplate Etchings, chine colle, image 60cm diameter. Photo credit: Chris van der Spuy

The boats, 2020 1/1, multiplate etching, image/plates 14.5x21cm. Photo credit: Chris van der Spuy

“The intersection of art and literature, and the ways in which both invigorate each other”1

is the perfect sentiment to describe Lisa Sewards’ new body of work entitled SHORT STORIES.

The COVID-19 2020 restrictions included the time permitted in her Printmaking studio. As a result, during the extended time at home, Sewards began reading Australian short stories.  She was intrigued by the way a writer swiftly draws one into their story, and then just as swiftly leaves you to wonder and contemplate the story further within your own creative imagination.  Sewards was drawn to those stories with underlying threads and motifs about displacement, hope and humanity, the threads connecting to her previous bodies of work and solo exhibitions.  Climate change was also a strong undercurrent in many of the stories and along with a global pandemic, a reminder how our beautiful world is so vulnerable and precious.

Each book turned into a capsule of reflection and hope and led to a body of work that celebrates and pays homage to Australian short stories and reflects on Sewards creative year that was 2020.  The intersection of the visual arts and literature is a powerful combination and continues to bring important messages to the forefront of peoples minds and conversations.   The imagery reflects and reimages the narratives through extracting the symbolic motifs used within the written pages.  The publications that inspired this work include the very first published Australian short story book, a copy held in the State Library of Victoria, to one whose publisher closed this year leaving only a raw manuscript, to a small selection of the huge talent of contemporary authors and writers in Australia.

The works on paper are primarily etchings and a small selection of oil paintings will also feature. Sewards’ own personal vintage typewriter will be displayed in situ.  Short story books will be available to read in the gallery by visitors in a Covid safe environment and Sewards will present an artist talk about this new body of work. Details to come.

Supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Grants

  1. by Dr Laurie Steed, Author of Nova, short stories

Lisa Sewards is a Melbourne based Printmaker using copper and solar plates to produce etchings and works on paper.  Her studies were undertaken at RMIT, Melbourne School of Art, and the CAE and she is an active member of NAVA (National Association for the Visual Arts), Firestation Print Studio and the Print Council of Australia Inc.

Sewards recurrent motif of the Parachute is weaved through her works, and it is the object pivotal in many bodies of work and solo exhibitions.  In her 2013 White Parachute exhibition, a post memory referencing identity and family memories surrounding a found abandoned silk parachute during internment in WW2 formed its theme; in her 2015 Flight from Silence exhibition the WW2 messenger Pigeons were highlighted, and in her 2018 exhibition entitled Thousand kisses deep, an underwater WW2 resting place, its maritime parachutes were researched and imagined. During 2020 the narrative of captured scenes within a Snow Globe developed with several works paying homage to her previous solo exhibitions.  Due to Melbourne restrictions the referencing of life within a Snow Globe seemed very relevant and her exhibition at Queenscliff Gallery in regional Victoria was recently shown on-line via interactive cyber software.

Sewards has been shortlisted as a Finalist in several major Australian Works on Paper Awards including The Muswellbrook Art Prize, Peebles Print Prize, NAB Flannigan Acquisitive Art Prize, the M Collection Award, Hutchins Art prize, AMP Capital Art Prize and The Burnie Print Prize.

Earlier this year Bayside Gallery VIC in conjunction with Bayside City Council VIC commissioned a Q&A and Virtual Studio Tour as part of their on-line arts program.  Several of Sewards’ works have entered public collections including the State Library of Victoria, the Australian War Memorial ACT, Hardcourt Homestead TAS, Stonnington Council VIC and several private and government faculties.

Invited by TACIT Galleries Melbourne Lisa Sewards was their Feature Artist during Editions 2019, an annual printmaking exhibition that showcases Victorian Printmakers.  Also by invitation from Print Council of Australia, Sewards’ work was shown at Sydney Contemporary International Art Fair 2018, 2019 and in the 2020 on-line bespoke digital platform.

To quote from the catalogue essay written for her White Parachute exhibition by Dr. Julie Cotter, Australian Art Historian and author Tom Roberts and the Art of Portraiture, “Sewards imbues her work with a poetic stillness that suggests notions of reflection and passiveness”.

And to quote the ArtistI see so much beauty in the parachute object, from its pure functional form to its rich association with past stories I have uncovered. To many people, myself included, they provide a universal symbol of hope, survival and strength”.


2 March
20 March
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03 9662 9966


Lisa Sewards


fortyfivedownstairs gallery
45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia
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03 9662 9966
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