Art Reading

Residency process – fences

Farm fence

I went to Beverley without a pre-conceived plan, so I could respond to what I found there.

I started by thinking about the white gum (wandoo) strainer posts which anchor the ends of fences. Their name, function and form suggested potential material and metaphor. Driving on the district roads there were plenty of fences:Farm fence paddocks

And plenty more rolled up into discarded bundles, replaced by new metal fence posts.Farm fence discardedThe rhythm and tempo of the fence posts and wires as the car went past recalled the rushing past of notes and bar lines on the stave while playing music,

and the movement of the front fences in town as I jogged past every evening.

Town fence 1Town fence 2Town fence 3Town fence 4Town fence 5Town fence 6

It may be a small town, but there was plenty going on. Visitors from nearby towns remarked on the activity and optimism there. I wanted to make some work which could reflect this perception:

the more we are pre-occupied with living, the less we are inclined to contemplate, and that the necessities of action tend to limit the field of vision”  (Henri Bergson).  But it is possible for us to perceive more thoroughly.  Bergson reassures us that through the means of art, such as poetry or painting, things are revealed both in the world and within ourselves that are not ordinarily perceived.

It seemed that the diversity yet camaraderie of the locals was reflected in the variety and continuity of their front fences. Rather than selecting a few (how – the most picturesque? the most idiosyncratic? the oldest?) I decided to create an archive and record all of the front fences of the town. I walked up and down every street, taking photos of the junctions of every fence. I then drew the detail of each junction, spaced evenly along a scroll of paper, one for each street.Town fence drawing in progress

It is a tradition for the artist-in-residence to give a work to the Gallery’s collection. Most of the pieces are landscapes; my fence drawings on kitchen paper seemed too ephemeral.

What about a map?

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The world as language

“The very notion of giving meaning to something is premised on a cosmology in which form is to content as spirit to matter, men to women, God to nature.  Substance suggests that meaning is inherent in the world rather than something that needs to be inscribed upon it, and it proposes meanings that can be read in the world itself – the world as language.”  Rebecca Solnit

Plough path

Pieced, dyed, rusted

Partly systematic and partly random, this cloth was part of an assessment last year.  Too hard to find my own words, I liked this from Rebecca Solnit in As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender, and Art (University of Georgia Press, 2001, p 58)

“the artist as collaborator or midwife for a world that already has meaning and order, rather than an autocratic creator imposing meaning upon an inert, waiting world or making a better one out of nothing.”