Sally Heinrich is a South Australian illustrator and Artist. She has written and illustrated more than 20 books as well as writing non-fiction works and novels. Her commissioned works range from wine labels through to a mural for the Singapore zoo. She has even had her work exhibited in the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize.
I was lucky enough to view her range of hand coloured lino prints at her latest exhibition at Urban Cow Studio. Sadly, the show has closed, though many of her works may still be available on her personal blog. The exhibition was titled “Under the White Parasol” and featured printed media and drawings inspired by her travels through South and Southeast Asia. On a recent trip to Laos she was commissioned to do some artwork for a small hotel in Luang Prabang and it is many of these works which formed the core of her latest exhibition.
The first mythical ruler of Laos arrived on the back of a majestic white elephant, an animal revered in Southeast Asia. He proclaimed a new kingdom called Lan Xang Hom Kao; which means “Land of a Million Elephants under the White Parasol”, both traditional symbols of royal power.
“Under the White Parasol” is a beautiful blue and white lino print that incorperates the above mentioned themes in its construction. A myriad of delightful floating elephants seem to dance upon a blue sky, each grasping a single white parasol in their trunks. The repeated stylised shapes and curved line work entertain the eye. The union of opposites is entertaining the normally terrestrial and heavy elephants seem to fly or float on the breeze. The repeated shapes form a rhythm and thus create a sense of movement in the work that directs the eye. While the repeated pattern on the outside of this print accentuates and emphasises the interior movement.
Hand coloured lino is where a conventional, single-colour print is hand painted with watercolour paint, floated into the gaps between the ink. The advantage to this method is that there is no need for complicated registration of colour and the artist is free to experiment with a range of hues on the black background.
Another elaborate hand coloured lino print, titled “Silent prayer and age-old blessings” is comprised of 20 frames bordered with a stylised floral motif. Each frame features hands in the act of meditation or prayer. The saffron coloured robes worn by the figures are those of Buddhist monks. Prayer beads also feature in various frames. The frames and the actions within them are beautifully balanced both in colour and shape. The repeated hand shapes again form a harmonious relationship with each other echoing the context of the work which is prayer. I also love the way that Sally has utilised black within her composition so to lead the eye about the work. It is balanced and serene. Spirituality and devotion to prayer is often in stark contrast to our western society. In fact in many Southeast Asian countries open spirituality undergoes a greater acceptance than here. Perhaps that is the reason we are fascinated by it.
Though her current exhibition at Urban Cow has closed but you can still view her work on her website and blog.