Open Bite Printmakers began at the Ku-ring- gai Art Centre, Roseville where a group about 20 artists printed together. We were looking for opportunities to exhibit when Ingrid Johnstone suggested we form our own printmaking group.
Soon after, a very enthusiastic group met at a Chinese restaurant to forge our future. We decided to use Ingrid’s linocut shark print as the basis for our logo. Our name fits both with the shark and the printmaking technique, open bite. This is an an etching technique in which large open areas of the metal plate are exposed to acid. The edges of these areas will hold ink, making a dark, irregular line, but the open areas will hold much less creating a fine-grained tonal area.
We held regular meetings in members’ homes and prospective members’ portfolios were brought to these meetings for discussion.
Our first exhibition was held in March 1992 at the Balmain Watch House. The weekend show was opened by ABC newsreader, Richard Morecroft where we sold over $6000 of artworks. A feature of our early shows was a themed wall of the gallery. All works had to be of the same size and connected to the general exhibition. Whereas many of our early exhibitions were held successfully in Balmain, including a joint exhibition with Murwillumbah printmakers, we have had a great diversity of exhibition locations. These include in and around Sydney (Woollahra, North Sydney, Gosford, Mittagong, Hunter Valley), interstate in Tasmania (Burnie) and internationally (France).
25 years on, our group is just as enthusiastic and dynamic. We meet regularly in Lavender Bay to share our printmaking experiences and philosophies, plan future exhibitions, field days and excursions.
Our styles are diverse and exciting. We aim to maintain a high standard of printmaking in our exhibitions and to share our knowledge with our viewers, often holding workshops in conjunction with our exhibitions.
To facilitate and encourage local artists in their pursuit of creative printmaking and as a group develop opportunities for exhibiting that work. We also encourage the education of the public to understand the multiple skills and expertise represented in the group.
Open Bite Printmakers meet on the second Tuesday of every second month at 7pm in the Lavender Bay site of the Royal Art Society NSW.