Chapman & Bailey Award.
A WALK AMONGST NATURE.
My practice relates to New Materialism, a philosophy that allows me to open up to an intimate, reciprocal engagement with my materials and immediate surroundings. My current work sits between painting and installation practice, engaging light, space and ephemeral materials to ‘simulate’ the experience of shimmer, movement, and textures in the living world. Currently, I am exploring the themes of ecology and the Anthropocene, critiquing capitalism’s influence on human behaviour which has led to our climate crisis. After experiencing burnout from my previous career in the fashion industry, I engage in a walking methodology as a mediative and creative tool to gather material for my artistic concepts. Having worked in the fashion industry for over 27 years, I am acutely aware of the waste and toxins the fashion industry contributes to landfills every year. Hence, I have a vested interest in establishing an eco-sustainable art practice and studio environment. Currently, I have employed a slow-durational artmaking process with intuitive staining techniques, utilising inks, and dyes to create bodies of work that capture the essence of the natural environment. Most of my mediums are aqueous which contain natural pigments, that I have sourced from my walks in the natural world.
Living in a post-industrialised modern society, with an accelerated preference for urban living, many people have become out of sync and disconnected from the rhythms of nature. My immersive installation A Natural Simulation is testament to the reverence I have towards the natural environment. I am always in awe and wonder of its natural beauty when I walk amongst it. I refer to the immersive installation as a ‘simulation’ because that is what it is. A simulation that highlights the natural environment and artificial environments we engage in. In this age of mass consumption, we are quick to engage in artificial spaces and use artificial products as they fulfill our needs and wants expediently. By creating an artificial space, ironically using natural pigments and dyes derived from my natural surroundings, I aim to capture the viewers’ attention and share my insight of the beautiful colours, the visible and the unexpected ones, that exist in our eco-system.
A Natural Simulation is made up of washi, kozo and tengucho* papers, which are stained with natural pigments and dyes that I have foraged in my local reserves – the Yarra and Banyule Flats. Ochre, iron bark sap, wild berries, eucalyptus leaves, flower petals, weeds and grass have been used to create the natural pigments and dyes. However, some clusters of the washi, kozo and tengucho papers are stained with artificial mediums. I ask my audience to try and identify which colours are natural and which are man-made.
* Tengucho paper is an extremely thin, specialist Japanese paper, weighing 9gsm, traditionally used for archival conservation and restoration of documents. The tengucho paper used in this installation holds a synonymous meaning of conserving and restoring our ecosystem.