sculpture in the landscape

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A primary reference of the forms can be related to native Australian flora in that their shape is in the archetypal of a seed pod such as that of the Banksia or Acacia.  The Pod form is deeply ‘known’.  It is an encapsulation of life to come, a concentration or distillation of all that is complex in nature containing seeds of  new life, or the promise of transformation to new form.  It can be seen to occupy the fluid space between states, or the transitional space between successive material incarnations.  On another level references to a bee hive, food gathering basket, fish trap or the riverine geology of an ancient creek bed can also be seen.  The texture and arrangement of the works evoke ideas of man's interface with the natural world,  traditional craft practices and a sense of community.

Copper is a warm, rich metal.  it is used in the transmission of heat, energy and information.  The artist Joseph Beuys attributed copper to the planet Venus and the emotion of love. 

I source electrical cabling from a scrap metal yard in as long lengths as possible.  The cables are then unwound to individual wires and spooled so as to be more manageable for weaving.  The collars for the stones are fashioned from copper tube, fitted to the stones and soldered, then wrapped twice with thick copper wire.  The stones are fixed into the collars with finer wire, wrapped randomly over the stones so they are secure. The idea for this comes from necessity and a lot of experimentation, how does one fix a heavy stone securely in place. I spent some time in Japan last year and there are variations of tied stones in the Japanese landscape aesthetic, although I was wiring stones in place before I went to Japan.  The frames are work hardened by repeated bending, then shaped and soldered. The pieces are then woven, as the form grows the set stones are added in.  The soldering of the frames at the base and for the hanging device, and the collar join are the only solder points, the rest of the forms are woven and tied.

I live on a quarry that's in the remediation process after 50 or so years of mining for building supplies - sand and gravel - that has built around 70% of Sydney.  The stones in this process are crushed for gravel.  I think they are beautiful, and have spent years figuring out how to use them - drilling is costly and time consuming and feels kind of disrespectful, and they don't stack easily. By setting them into what I essentially see as big jewelry for the land it makes them special and precious, and invites one to look at them as unique and individuals.  I see the copper and the traces of fine wire over the stones as in some way energising the stones to enable communication or observation by the stones themselves.  They are ancient, and the process for them to arrive where they are and in the rounded form is a long one. They've traveled far, most probably beginning their journey on the ancient gondwana land mass before Australia broke off and floated north, rolling over each other down that huge ancient river system before settling in the river valley and being covered by millions of years of silt as the river dried and shrank in size.  By the time they are dug up, they are at a point of being at their essence, the most interior, hardest remnant of the original stone. Dreaming into their journey, they have seen much over a time frame of earth's history that is difficult for us to fully comprehend in our comparatively fleeting visit on this planet.

The idea behind the works originally came when I started making ephemeral works and realised that I wanted to make something more permanent, it seemed kind of wrong and unsustainable to make art for art's sake that would disappear and expect someone to fund it.  I need to make a living, and want to respect the resources that go towards purchasing my work by exchanging something that is precious and lasting, and beautiful for my sustenance.   I wanted to use materials that were sensitive to our environment, and I wanted to include natural materials in their natural form.  The copper fit the bill as it's not a new product, rather reusing something already in existence before further resources go into melting it down again, and it’s a pure and precious metal. The weaving is a reference to traditional craft practice, something that I feel a connection to.  My father was a shoe maker, and my mother and grandmother (and myself) keen needle workers.  I had time in the jewellery industry in my 20's, and as a child play was in the bush where I was always making things.  We lived on the edge of a national park, so nature was there in life.  I love the look and texture of the woven form, weaving is women’s work, and the forms are female in their nature, seed pods are givers of life, and the pods have a torso kind of quality.  The name the gathering plays on the various uses of the word.  It's a gathering of the forms in a social sense, women gather to talk and socialise, to make decisions and share information. It's a reference to community and connectedness. Also, nature is gathering itself at the moment, there is an interface between man and nature that is being pushed - lots of humans on the planet and lots of natural ‘disaster’.  As with two sides involved in any conflict communication is the key.

120cm x 105cm
Woven re-used copper cable, stone
Category: Keywords: Awards:
Finalist and winner 'Staff Choice Award' Sculpture at Scenic World, 2012