'House Dialogues': An exhibition in George Town which explores the relationship between houses and their surrounds

Danish artist Marianne Klerk with some of her artworks. — Pictures by Steven Ooi KE
Danish artist Marianne Klerk with some of her artworks. — Pictures by Steven Ooi KE

GEORGE TOWN, June 23 — Houses are all around us but we often miss the intertwining relationship between human abodes and their surroundings.

Danish artist Marianne Klerk showcased this relationship in her first solo exhibition titled "House Dialogues" here.

She combined Intaglio printmaking with various disciplines to create pieces that have one commonality: shapes of houses set against various backdrops.

You see houses in a meadow, with cows, with animals around it, some with what appears to be murals on the walls and even trees and flowers on the walls of the houses.

The houses are printed from copper plates she etched with patterns and ripples while each artwork is a combination of the printed houses layered with a different backdrop using aquatint, drypoint, soap ground, chine collé, collagraphy, and woodblock printing.

"Each work represented a different conversation between the inside, outside and surroundings of the houses, such as this one with a deer behind it which is to look at how human homes can either integrate with Nature or push them out," she said.

'House Dialogues' is open to visitors at Ome by Spacebar Coffee in George Town.
'House Dialogues' is open to visitors at Ome by Spacebar Coffee in George Town.

The 67-year-old was not always an artist and her foray into creating art works started because her jewellery was stolen.

"All my jewellery was stolen, I was so upset and there was this jewellery maker whom I always go to who told me that I should make my own since I already design my own jewellery," she said.

Klerk took up jewellery making in Bangkok and after that, she also learnt enamelling and started created enamel art works.

Several years ago, she decided to take a course on printmaking from an art school in Denmark during the summer month which she usually spends back home.

"I didn't know anything about printmaking and I didn't even know what a printing press was, it was all very intimidating but fortunately, my course mates were so helpful," she said.

Each work represents a different conversation between the inside, outside and surroundings of each house.
Each work represents a different conversation between the inside, outside and surroundings of each house.

Since then, Klerk has created a variety of art works using her printmaking skills and some of her works were are in a restaurant in Denmark.

"I will be going for the printmaking course for the fourth time this summer to learn more about it," she said.

Klerk, who was living in Bangkok for 12 years, decided to live in Penang just six months ago due to the active art scene here and the easy process of applying for the MM2H programme.

"House Dialogues" is an ongoing series that she started three years ago and she will continue to add to the collection when inspiration strikes.

The exhibition at Ome by Spacebar Coffee at Lorong Toh Aka here is free.

It was also part of Open Studios Penang last weekend; "House Dialogues" is open from 8am to 6pm daily, except Thursdays, until July 8.

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