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2 March, 2021 - 20 March, 2021

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

Concertina Artist Books: Writers are dreamers 2020, Their words are magic 2021, They write about Love 2021, etchings and text, various sizes

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

Bioluminescent phytoplankton, an eerie sort of magic, 2021, etchings, assemblage 31 panels, hand coloured, 80cm d., framed 104x104cm

His Mementos, 2020, etching, gouache, Somerset 300gsm, framed 64x46cm

The old man with the Glasshouse (and his book collection), 2021, repurposed original W.Hunter 1942 book-plate etching (incomplete), vintage books, wood, museum gel, demountable glass dome, 30x30x30cm

The old man with the Glasshouse (and his book collection) (detail), 2021, repurposed original W.Hunter 1942 book-plate etching (incomplete), vintage books, wood, museum gel, demountable glass dome, 30x30x30cm

In the Ashes I, 2020, etching, Somerset 300gsm, framed 64x46cm

In the Ashes II, 2020, etching, Somerset 300gsm, framed 64x46cm

Love in the art in Woman, and the Woman in the art (Winged Victory of Samothrace), 2020, etching, Somerset 300gsm, framed 64x46cm

Once we were Travellers, 2020, etchings, assemblage 18 panels, 60cm d., framed 104x104cm

I can still hear the lullaby of a vanished world, 2020, etching, chine-colle, Somerset 300gsm, framed 64x46cm

You're free to write, 2020, etching, graphite, Somerset 300gsm, framed 64x46cm

We owe it to the Birds, 2021, collage of etchings, archival pigment prints, charcoal, 80cm d., framed 104x104cm

Nova, 2020, multiplate etching, Somerset 300gsm, framed 64x46cm

“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.

Melbourne’s lockdown severely impacted the amount of time the artist could spend in her studio. As a result, during her 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 of the vulnerability of our world.

Each book turned into a capsule of reflection and hope, leading to a body of work that celebrates and pays homage to Australian short stories.  The intersection of the visual arts and literature is a powerful combination and continues to bring important messages to the forefront of people’s minds and conversations.   The imagery reflects and reimagines the narratives, extracting symbolic motifs from the written pages.  The publications that inspired SHORT STORIES include the very first published Australian short story book 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 in the exhibition are primarily etchings and a small selection of oil paintings. 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 COVIDsafe environment.

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”.

Talk by Lisa Sewards
Saturday 13 March, 1.30pm

As part of her solo exhibition SHORT STORIES, Lisa Sewards will give an artist talk about this new body of work and the intersection between visual art and literature.

FREE EVENT, spaces may be limited.

Please RSVP to [email protected]

Lisa Sewards SHORT STORIES exhibition celebrates the short story genre in Australian Literature and concludes Saturday March 20th at 3pm.  Sewards will host Author COLIN VARNEY for a Q&A and reading from his short story titled SOLO at 1pm.

SOLO was shortlisted as a finalist in The Big Issue Short Fiction award in October 2020 and has inspired two of the artworks in the exhibition that opened March 2nd.

Join the Artist and the Author at 1pm in the beautiful space of fortyfivedownstairs Gallery in Flinders Lane.  The Gallery is open on Saturday 11-3.

Inspired by the creative storytelling of authors and writers read during Melbourne’s lockdown Sewards presents works on paper, mainly etchings, alongside oil paintings and her vintage typewriter.  The seventeen Australian short story books that inspired the artist’s new body of work are also available to read in the gallery.

The exhibition is supported by The City of Melbourne Arts Grants 2021.


2 March, 2021
20 March, 2021
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fortyfivedownstairs gallery
45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia
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03 9662 9966
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03 9662 9966


Lisa Sewards
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