...work in progress and the Homage to the Seed journal I'm keeping above and below - the Cooper rainforest book I mentioned is also open above. I was very keen to get on with painting but felt the need to go back through the Cooper book, freshly documenting, with very quick sketches and brief notes, some interesting forms in the the capsules and seeds of various species. I'm loving this way of becoming more familiar with the biodiversity of the rainforests and similarly rich habitats... recognising the enormous numbers of species and seeing the variations that can occur just through this simple research is so fascinating to consider. Tonight, noticing an indigenous version of nutmeg and reading that it has little scent led to wondering about the extraordinary discoveries that people made through Millennia, the risks when identifying if something was edible, what properties it had and so on.
For this group show I have chosen the distinctive oval shape canvases which mimic the pod and seed forms somewhat. I find them compelling shapes that sit well with this subject matter. Although working with them on and off for a few years they seem to have grown on me - that lovely but strange, organic thing that happens when concept, subject and form merge a little.
Producing small works for a group show I felt the cohesiveness of the ovals would hold the viewer's focus. Perhaps they remind me a little of looking under the microscope in the Seed lab where the image is circular and the surrounding darkness means you can only see what is contained within the circle of light. The subject matter is intimate and contained in this shape. Egg - seed...the biological connection is so strong!
adjective: having a rounded and slightly elongated outline or shape, like that of an egg : her smooth oval face | the game with the oval ball.noun: a body, object, or design with such a shape or outline : cut out two small ovals from the felt. DERIVATIVESovality |ōˈvalitē| |oʊˈvølədi| |-ˈvalɪti| nounovalness |ˈoʊvəlnəs| nounORIGIN mid 16th cent.: from French, or modern Latin ovalis, from Latin ovum ‘egg.’
Both these works feature the cross-sections of rainforest fruits from Queensland - however the one below is probably not going in the show. Its was a curious experimental work that came from the starting point of the cross-sections but with a life force all its own. It was as if it was bursting open... the seed capsule cross-sections sprouting to life and when I first did 2 works like this I was rather unsettled and decided I didn't like what was happening in them. Now I find it less odd and will see what comes through over the year - if more work like this seems to want to burst through with a mind all of its own.
AND NOW - RECENT VISITORS TO THE GARDENS FROM TOWOOMBA:
10 days ago, give or take, I had a wonderful visit at the Botanic Gardens from some wonderful members of the Darling Downs Textile Artists - Pat Sloss, Marion Curry, Jen Luck, Jenny Burgess,
They wrote later of how they discussed the overlap in approaches despite their using different materials to myself (textiles vs paint or ink) and how they also related to the approach of layering, colour and repeated motifs.This group practice varied textile techniques, but a common theme seemes to be the environment and human impact on it. They have always recycled and reused extensively and many use natural dye sources on fabrics and thread. The members live in or near Toowoomba and most have some strong connection to farming, past or present.
I talked of the need to understand the source of our foods, the threats that come from global business monopolies, especially in the area of seeds, and the issue of biodiversity. These women live with these things daily in front of their eyes - so all these themes are discussed at meetings frequently. A frightening reality they spoke of was the large portion of
Fighting to keep Acland alive - click on the 7.30 report
Questions were raised about the town of Acland, now Stage 3 expansion is being considered, which may take a year or more to go ahead. One of the group wrote to me to say"New Hope Coal plans to level the town, divert Lagoon Creek for 5 km etc In preparation they have bought and removed 95% of properties in town. There is some excellent plantings in town - mostly indigenous but also introduced. Lots of majestic bottle trees. Also nearby Bottle Tree Hill with dry vine scrub. Is seedbanking an option when an area is to be wiped off the map? If you want any more info I can point you in the direction of the Stage 3 EIS and list of flora species"
Proposed open-cut mine site 24th March 2010
Two of the wonderful members of the group. I was treated to viewing the works of several textile artists. Below is work from Nicki Laws - (seen above right - Joan Ellard on the left). I was delighted to see what results had come from the use of various seeds and leaves and the fabric choices and various processes employed. A trip to visit the group at some stage and really see them in action is a must I think. I had temporarily lost my camera that day so missed getting shots of work some had brought along to show. More please ladies. I am putting in an official request to have a blog post on your seed related work!
This was such a rich exchange. For someone to have such a fine audience and then receive such an excellent show of ideas and stories in return is a wonderful experience! It made me only too aware, all over again, of the brains trust of so many living on the land who are in tune with their environment. These are the people who are seeing the ecological shifts in daily life... they recognise the losses occuring... they have had family farms or still do and work with the land, sensitised to its needs, in whatever ways they can. What a privilege to have their visit!