Prints from St. Michael’s Printshop



Today we finally made it out to see the touring exhibition ‘The Power of Place – 30 Years of Printmaking in Newfoundland’ at the Burnaby Art Gallery.

Some weeks ago I wrote about this in some detail – if you missed it, please read that post for the background information.

This collection of prints from St. Michael’s Printshop appeared very strong and well presented, with each artist represented by several pieces to reveal their unique visions and a variety of techniques, mostly lithographs, etchings, and relief. Each piece had something to say to me, but some of my favourites, in no particular order, were Jerry Evans’ lithograph ‘Guide and Protector of All the Children’, Anne Meredith Barry’s accordion-fold book ‘Shallow Bay Beach Walk’, Helen Gregory’s exquisite little mezzotint ‘Plundered’, Sylvia Benzsa’s collagraph ‘Rock Facing’, Sharon Puddester’s drypoints, William Ritchie’s beautifully drawn lithographs of birds and fish with hidden human features, Heidi Oberheide’s mysterious ‘Self Portrait’, and, most associated with Newfoundland seem to be Don Wright’s images of fishermens’ lives.

(To see some examples of the artists’ works online, though not always the same as in this exhibition, check out the links in my earlier article.)

I noticed an absence of “newer” computer-based processes and outsized works, which probably reflected the small space at St. Michael’s. Later, skimming through the exhibition catalogue written by curator Patricia Grattan, I read about this printshop’s dedicated focus on printmaking, but also the challenges it now faces: at a time when many printmakers elsewhere have abandoned traditional print media and editioning in favour of computer-based processes and the “one-off” incorporation of print elements into multi-media works […]SMP’s challenge will be to find its “niche market”.[…] The Printshop has continued to nourish the work and development of hundreds of artists from Canada and other countires/ But its most significant contributions have been to the development of artists in Newfoundland and to awareness of Newfoundland art beyond provincial boundaries.

The exhibition continues until Feb. 27th, don’t miss it! It will be next in Halifax in September and in Winnipeg spring 2006.

Additional reading: Article in Burnaby Now


Going to the Burnaby Art Gallery is a treat, as I love this beautiful old building, full of character and history, and set amongst lovely gardens of almost ready to bloom rhododendrons and spring bulbs. Today’s warm sunshine sparkling over Deer Lake beckoned us down to the lakeshore trail for a walk and to check out the local waterfowl, including the fat and noisy Canada geese.

February 20, 2005 in Art Exhibitions, Other artists, Printmaking by Marja-Leena