This video is a walk through (as the viewer would experience it) of my PhD installation which consisted of sculptural ceramics installed in the natural environment at my property in Dunnstown, Victoria, Australia.
The research and subsequent installation was based within a feminist framework, supported by the theories of new physics and evolutionary psychology which purports recognition of universal symbols and universal connections.
Clay was used as an organic material to capture the innate connections and nuances that humans have to the environment.
Installation as an art method was used to create an environment which could act as a conduit to the viewer re-establishing their inborn understanding of their place in the universe.
As I am currently living in Bentleigh, and not my home, I don’t have access to all my camera lenses, so for this weeks challenge I’ve dug up some images from a couple of years ago that I took while undertaking an artist residency in Beaufort, Victoria.
At this time large parts of Victoria were under drought conditions, and many of our waterways were extremely low, if not dried up.
The aim of this residency was to draw attention to the environmental impacts of climate change by creating an installation on one of the many regional lakes in the area. I chose Lake Beaufort, one of many rural lakes, which was extremely low at the time. In fact at this time Lake Wendouree, Lake Learmonth nd Lake Burrumbeat were completely dry.
During the first few days of the residency I contructed some large abstracted bird forms from recycled clay on the shore line of the lake – which was actually exposed lake bed. After the forms had dried they were moved into the water and allowed to disintergrate. The process was documented photographically, as is the practice for ephemeral installations. Many of the photos I took using the near and far method in order to highlight the exposed lake bed.
An exhibition of selected photographs from the residency was later exhibited at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery.
A new public art initiative in Ballarat began on Friday with the grand opening of the Unicorn Gallery. Situated in Unicorn Lane – between the CBA and the Unicorn Bar on Lydiard St, the gallery consists of eight wall mounted metal boxes in which artists of any medium can exhibit art work. The boxes have perspex fronts, are internally lit and are lockable. The initiative has been developed by the Ballarat council, and as such is free to artists and no commission is taken on sales.
I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in the opening exhibition. Installation was conducted on Friday afternoon, and the boxes looked great. Come night time at the opening they looked even better, with the lighting working well against the starkness of the laneway walls.
During the afternoon while artists were installing their artwork, lots of passers by stopped to look and comment – all were very positive to the idea, and agreed on the value of art and public art within the community – so YAY!
I installed four organic abstract forms by mounting them to the back wall complimented by stones arranged along the floor of the box.
Here is a slideshow of the artworks and the opening.
Some of you may be aware of the 500 series published by Lark Books. The books cover a range of different topics, and one of those topics is ceramics. Some titles include 500 Pitchers, 500 Bowls, 500 Plates, etc. In the past I have been lucky enough to have been included in 500 Ceramic Sculptures and 500 Raku.
Lark have just put out an anniversary edition celebrating ten years of 500 books called The Best of 500 Ceramics – AND I have been included in it! For the statisticians out there that means that , for example, if they have put out ten books (it has been more, but not sure how many) and there are 500 images in each that is 5000 images to choose 500 from! And that’s on top the jurying for the original book. Again, for example in 500 Ceramic Sculptures 7000 ish entries were received.
So what art work made in in? Water Spiral : wheelthrown, burnished, pit fired and installed on bamboo.
Focusing on the benefit of public art to the broader community, including business, the public and local artists, A Public Art Perspective consists of two linked exhibitions: Backspace – exhibiting a range of smaller marquette works, and Backyard Gallery – displaying public art from some of Australia’a leading public artists.
The marguette works are on show in an intimate gallery space, and the larger works are sited in the centre of the Ballarat Arts Precinct: adjacent to the Ballarat Art Gallery, Backspace Gallery, and the University of Ballarat Arts Academy; home of Inge King’s landmark sculpture Grand Arch; and the site of community celebrations such as Harmony Festival, effectively cementing Alfred Deakin Place as an arts hub for downtown Ballarat.
Curated by Julie Collins the exhibition represents a diverse sculptural practice, ranging form the playful mixed media sculptures of Louise Paramor, the formal sculptures of Robert Hague through to the powerful works of Bruce Armstrong.
The exhibition is ongoing until the 22 April, and is well worth a visit.
Julie Collins & Derek John
Stelarc is an Australian internationally known performance artist who performed at the Lorne Sculpture show this year. His performance was based around his Ear On Arm project, a project which has evolved over the past decade. Stelarc has grafted a replicate ear on his left forearm, which will eventually be able to hear and respond. More information about his project can be found here: http://stelarc.org/?catID=20242
Much of Stelarc’s past work has centered around “the body”… its use, how it can or cannot be modified, bodily identity, what the body can or cannot withstand and similar such themes.
I enjoyed this performance. From my perspective Stelarc’s laying on an oversized sculpture of his “Ear on Arm” and being painted with white clay slip, enabled him to merge with the sculpture, signifying his becoming ‘one’ with the decade long project, which has been problematic at times… finally his identity merged with the altered , yet (in the future) functional ear on arm: a mutual acceptance.
But are there larger societal questions at stake here? The introduced ear is foreign to the arm… it doesn’t belong… it looks “different”, “funny”…yet Stelarc presents a scenario where each accepts the other, but under what conditions? A passive merging … a homogenisation? In the context of globalisation such questioning of acceptance, on personal, social, economic and political levels, are crucial. This is now evident with the mass revolutionary movements that are occurring worldwide.
But I will get off my soapbox now & just say that it was great to see so many families wandering around the show on the weekend, because the young kids that are getting exposed to wide and varied art at a young age will be those revolutionary thinkers of the future… we hope!! (oops, soapboxing again!!) Enjoy the slideshow!!
The Lorne Sculpture Show was great… Large outdoor sculpture, small indoor sculpture, performance art, artists making sculpture on the day so that the general public could watch, interact and ask questions and children’s workshops to engage kids and introduce them to new ideas, mediums and 3D concepts.
The following slideshow are photos I took of some of my favourite works. They are all outdoor works as it was too difficult to photograph the indoor works as they were all in the shop windows along the promenade, and reflections from shop windows are hideous to work with!!
I will post some photos of the performances and other happenings of interest over the next few days.
If you live in Victoria or are lucky enough to be on holiday here it is well worth a visit to Lorne to check out the show.
This is the artwork I have in the small works category of the Lorne Sculpture Show, which opens this weekend. The Lorne Sculpture Show began in 2007, and has grown as an international sculpture event. The show runs from the 16th October-6th November and consists of large scale & ephemeral outdoor artworks along the Victorian coastal shore & small sulptures in the shop windows of the adjacent boulevard. On both weekends of the exhibition’s duration there are numerous artist & workshop events, including children’s sculpture workshops, one of which I am conducting on Sunday 16th October. More information about the exhibition & related events can be found on the Lorne Sculpture Show Event Guide.
My PhD installation comprised of organic sculptural ceramics that explored environmental issues through the use of organic and textured materials. Clay was utilised as a metaphor, in either its fired or unfired form, as it is ‘the skin of the earth’, and is therefore ideal to communicate the fragility and changeability of our environment. The installation is intended to be a conduit for the participant to reinvigorate their innate interdependence on the natural world.