'chimera' - mythical creatures

At the start of the year, we explored mythical creatures, in particular the ‘chimera’ - a creature made up of many other creatures and how they can be used in artworks. We produced our own chimeras by synthesising combinations of different animals using Photoshop. The chimeras were then converted into trading cards, with an ingenious name and granted particular mystical powers. Following from this, we examined various printmaking techniques, such as drypoint printmaking, which involved etching the design into a piece of plastic and printing them using a manual printing press. We also scratched our design free hand into a piece of aluminum. When the etching was complete, the plate was soaked in a solution of ferric chloride, which deepened the etches. The printing process began by pressing ink into the impressions with a squeegee. The excess ink was then rubbed off and paper was prepared for printing. The plate was positioned carefully in the printing press and the design was transferred onto the paper. We were able to produce several editions of our prints and design our own monograms - a decorative version of a person’s initials, and etched them into our plate.

Adena Sheps

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vanitas

Students were inspired by 15th Century, Dutch oil painting style ‘vanitas’. Traditional vanitas represent morbid, decaying still life arrangements that touch on scenes of excess and decay. These works were made to remind viewers of the transience of life and the certainty of death. Students used moody, side lighting and off-camera flash to create dark and ominous still life scenes. They carefully constructed decaying symbolic objects, draped backgrounds and powerful monochromatic, colour scenes to portray traditional inspired works. Students extended this idea by creating a twist on the original vanitas to make comments on current world issues, including the fast food epidemic, consumerist society and the hold that technology has on youth.

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medium format and 35 mm film

Earlier in the year, students visited a range of sites around Sydney, partaking in an ‘on the field workshop’. Students used lomography for the first time, a medium format film. With no viewfinder, only two apertures, and no playback or autofocus, they were challenged and tested with these plastic ‘toy’ type cameras. They successfully used captured leading lines, rule of thirds, double exposures and the peaceful surrounds of the historic Newington Armoury in Homebush. The black and white, 35mm film shots you also see here document the retired White Bay, Power station in Rozelle. Students used SLR cameras and 35mm film. Using the manual mode got students to consider the exposure triangle and how the aperture, shutter speed and ISO work in unison. Using film photography makes students realise the preciousness of film and that every shot counts.

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Emanuel School Visual Arts 

contemporary visual practice underpinned by our understanding of the past