G.W. Bot is a contemporary Australian printmaker, sculptor, painter and graphic artist who creates her own signs and glyphs to capture close, personal relationship with the Australian landscape. Her artist’s name derives from ‘le grand Wam Bot’ after the early French explorers term for the wombat which she has adopted as her totemic animal. Bot first met George Baldessin at an art show in 1978 when she was an emerging artist and young mum of two small children in Canberra. He encouraged her to 'just do it' and create her own and distinctive language that is universally accessible, but remains true of it's time and space. George Baldessin (1939-1978) was born in San Biagio di Callalta, in the Veneto in Northern Italy and arrived in Australia ten years later. A printmaker and sculptor he built his bluestone studio at St Andrews (Nillumbik) in 1971. The bluestone studio was hand built by George, his partner Tess and the three Hails brothers, Rob, Doug and Don. Made of recycled materials the studio today contains all of George’s equipment including the large press, which he modelled himself with the help of Neil Jeffrey (Enjay Presses). George won many prizes throughout his career and is represented in many of Australia's public art collections including his famous 'Pears' sculpture in front of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. In 1975 he represented Australia in the Sao Paulo Biennale, before living and working in Paris until his return to St Andrews in 1977. In 1978 George was killed in a car accident aged 39 years. In 2001 Tess returned to St Andrews to reclaim the run-down studio and reconstitute it as The Baldessin Press & Studio - a printmaking retreat. It operates in George’s memory, so that artists may continue to create, perpetuating the generous spirit of George.
'Baldessin's Glyphs' is one of eight prints in the 'Baldessin & Friends commemorative folio. The folio was conceived by Tess Edwards as a fundraising initiative in celebration of the The Baldessin Press & Studio's fifteen year anniversary, and as a way to honour George Baldessin's memory. The folio is a unique coming together of seven very different and acclaimed artists who are connected by their friendship to the missing eighth member, George Baldessin. The Baldessin Press & Studio is a not-for-profit organisation created in memory of the late George Baldessin (1939-1978), whose original studio is now open to the public for creative use and as a practical legacy to living artists. The Studio is located in St Andrews, Nillumbik. G.W. Bot has been an ardent supporter of the Baldessin Press & Studio, running linocut workshops over the years for enthusiastic printmakers. 'Baldessin's Glyphs' speaks in metaphor engaging a refined, symbolic language of glyphs that she has developed over many decade working as an artist in the Australian landscape. The print celebrates the triumph of life over the forces of darkness. Each glyph are a type of alphabet or system of marks, derived from hundreds of sketches taken from nature. The elements have been assembled into a narrative, from the land itself. These symbols tell her journey to understand and record a personal and uniquely Australian visual representation of nature, human experience and the interrelationship between the two. The landscape here is an internal one reflecting her memory of George Baldessin (red sun). The paper is a celestial pale blue cradling a conversation between one reality on earth and another in the sky.
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