Zara Dolan

#75CCA2 - 2 - S/B, 2023, Monotype print on Wet Strength Cartridge paper, 1500mm x 1060mm


Zara Dolan is an Irish born artist, based in Otautahi Christchurch. Her current series of work involves one-off monotype prints created on a traditional printmaking press, which has been customised and is now the largest in Aotearoa New Zealand.  Dolan’s work presents a dynamic energy - a suspended moment of lively animation. Drawing on abstract expressionist gesture, her mark making is direct and intuitive, mediated only by the application of colour and the printing process. It is Dolan’s intention, through her role as intermediary, that the emotive action achieves form and chaos realizes order during the printing process. The titles of each work encodes the process. 

Dolan’s practice hinges on the process-driven nature of monotype printing. The works materialise the very moment before the printing takes place; the artist applying multiple layers of ink onto the printing plate followed by a subtractive process of removing ink from its surface. Once rolled, the image transfers unable to be recreated, making every print unique. Each work is titled to encapsulate their creative voyage; reflecting the HEX colour code, press cycles, and tools used within their artistic amalgamation.

Drawing on abstract expressionist mark making, Dolan’s gestures are direct and intuitive; mediated by the application of colour. Each work follows a meticulous set of repeated motions, guided by a precise methodology that the artist has developed over years of art making. Yet, each iteration is also spontaneous - an immediate translation of painterly gesture and expression.

Dolan completed her Masters in Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury (ILAM) in 2021. She previously studied a BA (Honours) Degree in Fine Arts in Ireland.



BORN: Ireland

LIVES: Otautahi Christchurch

EDUCATION: Masters in Fine Arts, Ilam School of Fine Arts, 2021 Otautahi Christchurch; Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Art & Design), 2009, University of Wales, Institute, Cardiff, Wales, UK; BA(Honours) Degree in Fine Arts, 2008, Sligo Institute of Technology, Sligo, Ireland

AWARDS: Public commission, Elevator Door Award - Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, OtautahiChristchurch, New Zealand

PUBLIC EXHIBITIONS:Chaos and Order, The Den, OtautahiChristchurch (2021); Transfiguration, Chambers Art Gallery,Christchurch(2021); Select exhibition- Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, OtautahiChristchurch (2020); Evolution, The Railway Station Museum, Belturbet (2008), Co. Cavan, Ireland; Reflections of a powder room, The Railway Station Museum, Belturbet (2007), Co. Cavan, Ireland

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY: Zara Dolan Interview by Margie Riddiford, Denizen Magazine (Nov 2023); ‘Chaos & Order’ by Tessa McPhee,, 2021;“Chaos & Order”, by Warren Feeney, Art beat newspaper, 2021; Ilam Press, University of Canterbury, 2021; “Evolution”, by Linda O’ Reilly, The Anglo Celt Newspaper, 2008; “Reflections of a powder room” by Linda O’ Reilly, The Anglo Celt Newspaper, 2007


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