Linework – an
matter for an artist!
at first glimpse, tHe cHoice of subject matter of sHarron okines’ artwork seems a little unusual. Her new linocuts feature stark images of lineworkers Hard at work on tHe wires, powerlines and otHer transmission infrastructure – eVen a pair of oVeralls.
But when you hear this Mornington Peninsula artist speak about her respect for her husband’s work as a linesman, a ‘glover’, her choice starts to make perfect sense.
Her series, exhibited in Brunswick Street Gallery’s recent printmaking show, is a group of linocut, drypoint and aquatint etching prints inspired by some photos of her husband at work. The series is titled “Love Letter”.
“Lineworkers are very proud of the work they do, but they don’t really like to draw attention to themselves,” says Sharron. “I’m really proud of what my husband does.”
First attracted to the unusual perspective – the lines and the patterns – she saw when she started looking up at powerlines, Sharron became interested in what her husband did all day – and started to really appreciate it.
“It’s a very dangerous job, but you don’t take any notice of it,” says Sharron. “It’s just there. But without people like him working on the wires, there’s simply no electricity. I wanted to create a new way of looking at something you see everyday.”
Sharron also wants people to pay attention to the dangers of electricity. With their strong black and white lines the artworks certainly have a “dark edge” to them, suggesting warning signs.
artist sHarron okines and some of Her work.
“I’m very aware that my husband does a very dangerous job,” says Sharron. “My husband is one of the most safety-conscious guys I know ... but
I don’t think other people understand just how dangerous it is. I wanted to bring that into the art.”
Sharron also wanted to capture the feeling she had as a child, staring at the sky.
“I was always looking up,” laughs Sharron. “Even now, as we are travelling, I always prefer to look up than straight ahead or sideways. You get a fascinating perspective and see things you wouldn’t otherwise.”
“Hopefully through my artwork, I will get other people to notice what goes on up there.”
Her choice of black and white in her art was intentional: she wanted to echo an old-fashioned way of portraying work, “harking back to artwork of the 1940s and 50s.” Creating linocuts is an intricate process. It takes a long time to get a perfect result, says Sharron. It took her three months to etch just three images.
“I enjoy the disciplines of printmaking, from the simple lines in linocut prints to the alchemy of processing plates,” she says.
“I hope my artwork will draw attention to the quietly diligent men who ensure one of our most essential services.”
you can view and purchase sharron’s artwork on her website: http://sharronokines.weebly.com/