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'
Not on display
© 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
Anne Ryan (Curator), Sydney prints: 45 years of the Sydney Printmakers, Sydney, 2006. List of works.
Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1998, 119 (illus.). cat.no. 100
Anna Waldmann, Project 39 - Women's Imprint, Sydney, 1982, illus.. no catalogue numbers; not paginated