Cleo Wilkinson’s practice focuses on the power to evoke disquieting and elusive moments with subtle nuances of hope. Her images are often mysterious and alluring, emerging out of a rich chiaroscuro tradition, where the beauty in the work comes from the play between light and dark. “I try to emphasize the singularity and silence of a form – what is missing in the shadows provides the greatest potential for me. I love nursing the life of an image out of its pitch-black womb into hope – in the form of light – the process has a primordial spiritual magic.” Wilkinson is a master of the Mezzotint Print technique, a process where the mechanics and tools of its making have largely remained unchanged for the last 300 years. The process achieves tonality by roughening the metal plate with a metal tool, a rocker. The small teeth of the rocker create tiny burrs that hold ink during the printing process. The rocked areas that are left will produce a rich black print, areas that have been burnished (knocking the burrs down) will hold less ink, producing lighter values. It is a painstaking technique, that often takes several months to prepare a plate of this size. This process produces an image with a high level of tonal richness.
is one of 51 works selected as finalists in the 2021 Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award.