Elizabeth Rooney was born in Sydney and studied painting and drawing at East Sydney Technical College 1945-49 where her contemporaries included Guy Warren and Tony Tuckson. Towards the end of her course, she began making etchings under the influence of one of her teachers, Herbert Gallop. As a member of the Contemporary Art Society in the 1950s, she exhibited paintings and prints which are experimental in the use of materials as well as subject. Largely self-taught as a printmaker, she gained most of her technical expertise through experimentation, reading the publications of S W Hayter and consulting with other printmakers. Her first etching press was given to her in 1954 by Bim Hilder. A key figure in the contemporary printmaking revival that occurred in Sydney in the early 1960s, she was a foundation member of the Sydney Printmakers group that included Henry Salkauskas, Earle Backen and Eva Kubbos, and with whom she exhibited through the 1960s. She was also co-founder with Joy Ewart of the Workshop Arts Centre, Willoughby in 1961.
'Rocks I' is from a series of three produced in 1967 and is based on the architecture of the Rocks area, near Circular Quay, Sydney. The plate is deeply etched; it was also printed without ink as an embossed image.
Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, 'Australian prints from the Gallery's collection', AGNSW, 1998
etching with heavy plate tone, brown-black ink on white Duchesse paper
30.0 x 50.4 cm platemark; 44.5 x 66.7 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. in pencil 'Elizabeth Rooney 1967'
© Estate of Elizabeth Rooney
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Acquisitions 1967, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Mar 1968–01 Apr 1968
Project 39 - Women's Imprint (1982), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 01 Oct 1982–31 Oct 1982
Australian prints from the Gallery's collection (1998-1999), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Nov 1998–07 Feb 1999
Sydney Prints: 45 years of the Sydney Printmakers:
Referenced in 3 publications
Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1998, 119 (illus.). cat.no. 100
Anne Ryan (Curator), Sydney prints: 45 years of the Sydney Printmakers, Sydney, 2006. List of works.
Anna Waldmann, Project 39 - Women's Imprint, Sydney, 1982, illus.. no catalogue numbers; not paginated