Lyre Bird Press history told in new Artspace exhibition

Published: 31 Aug 2022

When Mackay opened its regional gallery in 2002, artist and master printer Tate Adams AM made a donation that helped establish the gallery as the artists’ book powerhouse it is today.

Mayor Greg Williamson said Adams’ donation to commemorate the opening of Artspace Mackay is an important archive of Lyre Bird Press, of which he was a founder.

“For more than two decades, from 1977, Lyre Bird Press produced more than 50 artists’ books,” Mayor Williamson said. “Those works ranged from luxury publications to experimental book forms, involving creators of all kinds.”

Some of those works, as well as bookplates and ephemera, will form an exciting major exhibition opening this week at Artspace Mackay.

The exhibition, Tales of the Lyre Bird, will open in the Main Gallery this Friday, September 2, along with D. Harding: The Wall (Foyer Gallery) and Veronika Zeil: Echo Forest – the Eloquence of Trees (Foundation Gallery).

Artspace director Tracey Heathwood said Tales of the Lyre Bird would follow the important output of the press from its Melbourne conception by Tate Adams AM to its reinvigoration in North Queensland in the early 90s.

“This exhibition is curated by Ron McBurnie and Helen Cole and highlights the collaborative works that were conceived via the press, including collaborations with artists such as Tate Adams AM, George Baldessin, Anneke Silver, Ray Crooke and Juli Haas,” Ms Heathwood said.

Ms Heathwood said Veronika Zeil: Echo Forest – the Eloquence of Trees was also an exciting exhibition.

“It’s a multidisciplinary exhibition that features photography, sound, drawing and installation and offers a window into what she sees as fractured landscapes, focusing on the different growth stages of trees,” she said.

All exhibitions run until November 20, 2022.

Free artist talk

A free curators’ talk for Tales of the Lyre Bird will be held at Artspace Mackay this Saturday, September 3, from 10.30am.  Curators Helen Cole, former coordinator of the Australian Library of Art at State Library of Queensland, and Ron McBurnie, Townsville based artist and educator, will provide a closer look at the artworks and themes in the exhibition.