Olga Sankey’s art explores the complex ways in which language functions. Her fascination with words and the way meaning and identity are formed through language stems from her bilingual upbringing. Born in Adelaide to the Czech émigré artist Voitre Marek and his wife Vera, she was raised speaking Czech to her parents. The world outside the home –school and friendships – was conducted in English, while her weekly attendance at Catholic mass immersed her in Latin. Sankey’s negotiation of the world and her relationships through these different languages sharpened her understanding of the way in which words are both concrete and abstract. Her work approaches this subject from a variety of angles and with great delicacy. An experienced printmaker, Sankey deploys the intrinsic qualities of the medium to explore the conceptual underpinnings of her theme. Using repetition and seriality, she exploits the capacity of digital printmaking to layer multiple images. As is evident in the works on display here, her refined prints often incorporate text, either as a fragment or filling the entire composition. This obsession lends them an unsettling quality.
The work of Olga Sankey’s father and uncle can be seen in the downstairs exhibition Dušan and Voitre Marek: Surrealists at sea.