My designs fixate on the hidden stories we, as humans,
keep quiet. It's only upon an intimate interaction with
the person, or dress, that outsiders can start to read their story.
~ Leonie Oakes*
Multidisciplinary artist Leonie Oakes of Tasmania is a book and paper artist, although that designation hardly describes the remarkable and beautiful objects she makes.
Having studied bookbinding, printmaking, and photography, Oakes draws on her deep knowledge of wide-ranging techniques and processes, as well as materials, to create artist books, wearable objects, sculptures, and photo-portraits that hint at unknown, unfinished narratives; I say hint, because the viewer has to look closely at her work to not miss the text and other details, such as Elizabethan symbols, that she incorporates.
Oakes, whose principal themes are thought, memory, and containment, focuses her imagination especially on the female body. Her series of fragile printed paper dresses for which she may be best known — see a selection of images from her series Sweet Dreams and Through Leaden Clouds at Handmark Gallery — comprise letterpress printing, etchings, linocuts, woodcuts on paper, in addition to antique papers, ribbon and thread, feathers or other materials, and fragments of vintage books, such as women's etiquette books and cooking manuals, and letterpress maps.
Oakes holds a master's degree in fine arts from the University of Tasmania and has received a number of grants as well as art awards. Her work, which can be found in private and public collections in Australia, the United States, and Brazil, has been featured in a considerable number of design periodicals, blogs, and other online sites, including Pinterest, Interlaced-Textile Arts, ArtOdyssey, and Design You Trust.
The artist will be exhibiting at Western Australia's 2016 York Festival, beginning September 10, and offering bookbinding workshops.
Leonie Oakes on Tumblr
* Quoted from "Glamorous Exploration of the Trials of Growing Up", The Advocate, May 25, 2012
Read a transcript from "The Twists and Turns of Life Inspiring Art" from Oakes's interview with Airlie Ward at ABC, broadcast in 2009.