Kevin LINCOLN, Bowl and shell Enlarge 1 /1


Hobart, Tasmania, Australia born 1941

  • Europe 1986

Bowl and shell 1980 Place made: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: prints, ink; paper drypoint, printed in sepia ink, from two plates Support: white Velin Arches paper
Manufacturer's Mark: no manufacturer's mark
Edition State: published state
Impression: 4/6
Edition: edition of 6; plus 2 artist proofs

Primary Insc: Signed and dated lower right below plate-mark in black pencil, 'Lincoln 80'. Titled lower centre below plate-mark in black pencil, 'Bowl + Shell'. Inscribed lower left below plate-mark in black pencil, '4/6'.
Dimensions: plate-mark (overall) 37.5 h x 25.5 w cm sheet 57.0 h x 38.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of the artist, 2008
Accession No: NGA 2008.1143
Image rights: © Kevin Lincoln. Licensed by Viscopy
  • Gift to the National Gallery of Australia, from the artist, Melbourne, 2008.

A gift to the Gallery of over 200 prints from the artist’s collection reveals the significant role that printmaking has played in the work of Melbourne-based artist Kevin Lincoln over the last 40 years.

Although best known for his paintings of still-life and architectural subjects, Lincoln has been exploring the possibilities of printmaking since the 1960s. He began with a series of woodcuts and linocuts of men at work. The artist was employed as a welder at the time, and his subjects included local boilermakers, ironworkers and apprentices. Following these works based in the Social Realist tradition, Lincoln made prints and drawings of family scenes, landscapes and figure studies. He experimented with screenprints, drypoints and plaster collographs before producing etchings and lithographs with the encouragement of printers Neil Leveson and Martin King at the Australian Print Workshop.

Over time, Lincoln’s subject matter has become more introspective and his focus shifted to the interior. His carefully observed still lifes are filled with familiar, everyday objects—lamps, fruit, bowls, paint tubes and coffee mugs—and seem to reveal as much about the artist as his ongoing series of unflinching self-portraits. From the early 1980s, Lincoln’s interest in contemporary ceramics led him to include vessels in his work. In some images, the simple shapes of cups, bowls and vases are composed of a few deftly drawn lines and in others, such as Bowl and shell 1980, the objects are woven from a net of fine lines.

Here, the solidity of the bowl is felt in the accumulation of etched marks, while a background of crosshatched shadow surrounds the pale shell. Lincoln has used the drypoint technique, scratching lines directly into Perspex plates, which slowly build up a rich tonal composition. His careful observation of form gives the composition a simple poetry, which is sensed in the smooth curved lip of the bowl and the recumbent spiral of the shell below.

The works that Lincoln has given the Gallery can only come out of a period of sustained looking. Their quiet beauty is revealed in the time that the viewer spends in their company.


Sarina Noordhuis-Fairfax
Curator, Australian Prints and Drawings
in artonview, issue 59, spring 2009

in artonview, issue 59, spring 2009