Tate Adams: In Black and White

By Holly Ringland

This richly detailed biography, with almost 200 illustrations and extensive biographical and bibliographical data, records the life of an artist Tate Adams, whose influence on Australia’s post-war art scene was significant in numerous ways. Adams attempted to raise the status of print-making to that of painting, causing an indisputable revolution in the field — and it happened in Melbourne!

Divided into five chapters, each documents a different aspect of the artist’s life. The first traces his Irish background, his involvement with Ireland’s post-war literary revival, the influence of his time spent outside Australia, and his introduction to the concept of special limited-edition artist-illustrated books.

Subsequent chapters explore the twenty odd years Tate was in charge of the print room in the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s art school where a stunning new generation of print-makers would emerge and established masters of the art, like Fred Williams, were invited to make prints. Alongside this activity, Tate Adams opened his Crossley Gallery in central Melbourne to enthusiastic reviews for exhibitions of prints by leading artists from Australia, the UK, Europe, the USA and Japan.

After retirement from RMIT Tate Adams was able to establish the Lyre Bird Press and indulge his long-term ambition to produce limited edition artists’ books. Leaving Melbourne, he took his press to Townsville where he spent the latter years of his life as a prolific studio artist.

This book describes how an artist, working with purpose and in collaboration with others, can enrich a country’s visual arts culture and bring advantages to many with similar aspirations.

544 pages


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