Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Creative Arts


A survey of literature on Australian printmaking from 1960-1990 presents an interesting phenomenon in that despite there being few acknowledgments of the influence of American printmaking - acknowledgment has given precedence to a European influence - Australian printmaking and the way its histories are written strongly suggest the impingement of an Anglo-American inheritance. This thesis addresses the need to acknowledge the American influence and position Australian printmaking within the context of the intrusion of American Abstract Expressionism: the dominant discourse which shaped modern American printmaking. This involves an examination of the dominant discourse - American Abstract Expressionism - and its underpinning philosophical tenets: a concept of immediacy brought about by a strategic denial and refusal of a concept of the technological discerned printmaking. This 'collision' between American Abstract Expressionism and printmaking had consequences for American printmaking which later significantly influenced Australian printmaking in hitherto undocumented ways. This thesis is not only a study of the formation of American printmaking as an autonomous creative discipline based on a "truth to materials" and medium specificity but also an examination of the philosophical constructs created by the impingement of a dominant discourse that refused and denied a concept of technology in order to extend and justify its major tenets and underpinning philosophical basis. But, most importantly, this study is about the significant impact of a dominant discourse - American Abstract Expressionism - and its underlying philosophical construction: the refusal and denial of the technological - on the psyche underlying Australian printmaking, whose consequences, despite some being examined here, are still to be realised.