melissa smith — the silence that follows

image: melissa smith, the shadow and the soul, 2023, intaglio print and stencil on magnani paper, 66 x 55.5 cm, unique state

After a roller-coaster ride, Melissa Smith returns to her sacred space at Lake Sorell. She finds peace amongst the silent landscape and emerges with a powerful new body of prints.

Over the past 18 months Melissa lost both parents and welcomed her first grandchild. “There has been chaos in my personal life, and I needed to go back to Lake Sorell to collect my thoughts and re-focus.” This triggered an artistic awakening that inspired the 17 works in her The Silence that Follows exhibition. “These prints continue to add to the story of my relationship with this isolated and special environment.”

Melissa is one of Australia’s most revered printmakers, and this exhibition is special. Ten works are one-off unique state prints. They include large Quadriptychs consisting of four panels. Between Breaths, a haunting panorama of bush and lake, was a finalist in the Burnie Print Prize. Nuanced details and a complexity of lines brings a new depth of layering to Melissa’s work. Another, Collecting Thoughts – Lake Sorell, a finalist in the Geelong Art Prize, takes us on an emotional journey as she heads back to that familiar place “to bring balance back into life.”

But Melissa has also unearthed a new freedom of expression: “The line has been released. In earlier works they have been more confined and controlled, but in this exhibition my lines have become very exploratory.”Melissa Smith’s The Silence that Follows exhibition runs at Handmark from February 16 until March 4. Join Melissa for her Artist Talk on Sunday February 25, 2 – 3pm.