Sydney, Australia: Pelicano Press, 2014. Artist's book, one of 26 copies, all on Rising Stonehenge paper for text and linocuts on Japanese Iwaki Mulberry paper, signed and lettered A-Z by the artist / author, Peter Kingston, who has also signed and numbered each of the 18 linocuts. Page size: 14 x 14 inches; 80pp; plus 1 double-width linocut (29 x 14 inches) printed in color and 1 color linocut (14 x 14 inches) with title and author and press as front wrappers, 18 single-page linocuts mounted to second recto of each folio, plus colophon folio. Bound: loose in wrappers of Japanese Iwaki Mulberry paper around Svecia Antiqua Chamois paper with first wrap-around linocut of fairy penguin on the underside of dock looking into water, artist / author, title, press, place and date of publication in white or blue or white and blue on black ground, linocut collaged again on front cover of box holding book, second wrap-around linocut of blues and yellow of Pittwater (a semi-mature tide-dominated drowned valley estuary) with Mackerel Beach Ferry in the rain, pelicans overhead, fairy penguin on back; housed in custom-made box of radiata pine by Ian McLeod, the lid of box with cover linocut repeated showing author, title and publisher, inside front cover of box with black and white linocut labeled "Catching the ferry turbulence" and the inside bottom of box with black and white linocut, the same Mackerel Beach Pier linocut this time in "trial" format without the lettering, the boxed book housed in custom-made Calico bag silkscreened by Mary-Lou.
The book was designed, printed and assembled by noted Australian printer / publisher / bookseller, Nicholas Pounder. The text is printed in 14pt. Bembo on an Epson 3880 using archivally stable Japanese pigments. The linocuts were editioned by the artist. Set in the confines of Australia's second oldest nature reserve, fisherman and endangered species, as well as more ordinary creatures, are featured in this story. It is one of gentle bemusement, detailing the everyday in life juxtaposed with the wondrous. A fairy penguin squawks at a Scottish terrier who is supine on the dock in the pouring rain. The fairy penguin pictured on the front wrapper, we learn, was rescued from a fishing line. After his release, he swam to shore and spent a week under the dock before returning to Lion Island Preserve. Note is made of a border collie who lived in a public phone box, waiting for the return of his owners who had given up looking for him and gone home on the ferry. A nurse, the sole passenger on the last night ferry, comes to the rescue of the ferry pilot when his rope misses the bollard and he falls into the water. The nurse grabs the other end of the rope and holds on until the pilot can climb back aboard. The tales are a treat and combined with the colorful, playful, wry images, they come alive and touch a note of understanding and sympathy for the natural world and all in it.
Peter Kingston (b. 1943) has established a reputation as one of the most intriguing Australian artists of his generation. In his own country, his work is featured in the Museum of Sydney, the Australian National Gallery, Canberra, Parliament House, Canberra, and the State Library of New South Wales. His books have been acquired in many other countries, including Harvard University, the Library of Congress, Citigroup, the Jack Ginsberg Collection of Artists Books in South Africa, and the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, as well as significant private collections. His most recent books, A LITTLE TRAIN JOURNEY and SHARK-NET SEAHORSES OF BALMORAL were sold out almost on publication. SHARK-NET SEAHORSES was done in collaboration with poet Robert Adamson and, as with this book, MACKEREL BEACH, printer / publisher Nicholas Pounder. Mr. Kingston's concern with environmental causes is manifest here. He enlists his readers' support with humor and good will. As an artist, he is at the top of his game; that his talent serves his cause is not strained. Rather it is fortuitous. Item #10826