Adam Rish started printmaking in 1979 while attending East Sydney Technical College.  During that year he made some 30 different etchings, screenprints and lithographs. From 1981-1982 he produced a further series of etchings while living in Melbourne, plus a series of linocuts made while on an artist residency in Vence, France. These formed a  book,  with Garry Shead,  called “Vence Upon a Time”. In 1984 he made linocuts in the narrative series “The Age of Reason” and  1986 saw a similar narrative series, “Historia Mundi  Illustrata”. In 1997, while artist-in-residence at IKJ in Jakarta, on an Asialink fellowship, he produced four  linocuts based upon Ramayana figures, from the wayang kulit, transposed into the contemporary world of Jakarta taxi drivers. In 2010 he made a series of classical Greek inspired etchings, printed by Basil Hall at a residency in Skopelos.

Gunungan Jakarta 1997
linocut, 39 X 30 cm 

Tropical Fever 1975
cotton batik, 91 X 71 cm

His prints were exhibited at Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne (1979,1983), Harrington St Gallery, Hobart (1979), Salamanca Place Gallery, Hobart (1983), Mori Gallery, Sydney (1984,1986), and Solander Gallery, Canberra (1987, 2010), Michael Nagy, Sydney (1999). Work was sold to numerous private and public collections including the National Gallery, Canberra and the Art Gallery of NSW.


Rish has diverse influences in his printmaking, but Goya, Hockney and German Expressionists, such as Max Beckmann, feature strongly. His works stem from his early cartoons for literary journals and student newspapers, and are full of visual puns and literary references: Man and Superman asks that knurly question, “What does Superman do with his clothes when he is on duty?”  Entertaining Mr Sloane, from the title of Joe Orton’s play, has  a circus in the home of the unseen Mr Sloane.           

Dancing with Tears in My Eyes 1981
etching 50 X 33 cm

Entertaining Mr Sloane 1981
etching 50 X 33 cm

Apocalypso Now 1986
linocut, 25 X 33 cm

In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities 1986
linocut, 25 X 33 cm

Rish’s style is very precise and graphic. He uses a thin, nervous line, drawn directly onto the hard ground plate with a fine stylus, usually from only a rudimentary starting sketch. He then uses a gradation of three or four aquatints from polished, white plate-tone to jet black. He employs unrealistic, high contrast, distorted perspective and intense shadowing to define his imagery.


In 2011 a retrospective of his etchings was shown at the Grafikens Hus, Mariefred, Sweden.