fences

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?

How to find the way in

In the Wandoo Conservation Park

After finding bones and bark in the Wandoo Conservation Park west of Beverley

110420131247I drove back through the farm lands; fence posts whizzing past, paddocks on both sides.

Murray Bail said that the indent of a paragraph is like the gate to a paddock. It is the way in.  For a long time I have been looking for a way in to a piece of cloth. What is the gate or indent that allows entry? Otherwise it is too much like a painting or photograph, it is just there, take it or leave it, dictating instead of revealing and relating.

The reader can’t take in the paragraph instantaneously, the eye must move along the text, even retrace and repeat if necessary. A visitor to a paddock also has to enter and traverse the paddock. Think of seeding or harvest, going methodically over the paddock ground. As grazing sheep do in their own practised way.

A painter would argue that to properly see a painting the eye must move across the surface. True, but it is possible to have an instantaneous, complete impression in a way that is never possible with text, or land, or the complete qualities of a textile.

To journey two (detail)How to get beyond the surface, to cross over the selvedge or hem.

Is touch the way in?