Steve Lovett
Section Leader for Printmaking
Manukau School of Visual Arts, Auckland
31 Rose Road Grey Lynn 
Auckland  New Zealand
Telephone  +  64 9 968 8765  
Mobile:  +  021 1580 390

Paper “No Place Like Home”

In the Locating Desires paper delivered at the Third International IMPACT Print Conference in Cape Town South Africa, I argued that a certain group of New Zealand printmakers created map-like representations of the places that they found themselves inhabiting, physically, spiritually, emotionally and politically. These works attempt link the self, sometimes with a deep ambivalence, to specific coherent geographic locations. This argument suggests a degree of acculturation, an attempt at indigenisation by a Pakeha writer influenced, osmosis style, by a lifetime of familial and social relationships with Maori, Aotearoa / New Zealand indigenous people.

While not recanting this earlier position, in this paper I intend to survey the ways in which migrant printmakers who open themselves to all the promises and refusals of a new location recognise a specific “location” for the self; and for art production that makes one vulnerable while simultaneously resisting finality, closure or simplification.

These ideas suggest questions without an easy answer. Not because the sense of a coherent site where the answer might present itself is perpetually out of reach. Rather, this is because every site is continuously articulated by the politics, economics, history, sociology and psychology of locations in the making.  Further more, each subject, each printmaker who attempts to address these questions of coherency and site in their practice do so against the personal myth of the breach from the start or source point of their own journey and their own ultimate destination. A key topic of the paper is the resonance in print practice that each artist establishes with this field of concepts.

My paper poses a question regarding the habitual ‘practice of cultural place’ in New Zealand. Young artists in New Zealand ask this question about their practice as they negotiate new bodies of work.

STEVE LOVETT was born in Auckland New Zealand, where he now lives and works. He majored in printmaking at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, studying with Professor Carole Shepheard. He has noted an initial attraction to the ‘Otherness’ of the print medium, to its technical challenges transferrals and displacements that he has acknowledged as having a certain parallel in personal experience. Lovett has developed this sometimes-quirky sense of printmaking being often-as-not somewhat marginalised into an examination in his own art making and his critical writing of a dramatisation of the problems presented by questions of the edge. Lovett has characterised the continuing attraction to printmaking as the medium to work in as providing a means to interrogate the apparent rootlessness of settler societies and his own personal history. Specialising in serigraph and digital work he is particularly interested in researching questions of origins, destinations and the nature of belonging both for the individual and for the printed image itself, critiquing the necessary fetishes of only certain locations, certain materials, processes and personalities. The continual negotiation of unfamiliar conceptual and mechanical terrain, the lot of every printmaker, has created for Steve Lovett the opportunity to assess the meanings we create to bind ourselves to the local, the familiar and foreign. Steve Lovett has taught at Manukau School of Visual Art in Auckland, New Zealand since 1996. Since 1998, he has lead the printmaking section of the school, developing a print program with the capacity to encourage both traditional atelier printmaking and more contemporary approaches to printmaking. Lovett has exhibited widely with work being held in public and private collections in New Zealand, Australia, the United States of America and India.