re-Constitution | 200 x 115 x 100 cm | map, earth, pigments, ochre, | 2017 | photography: Brenton McGeachie & Amanda Stuart
re-Constitution is an ephemeral work that is a meditation on past and ongoing relationships to place. This spatial drawing re-imagines a 1967 Australian Department of Minerals and Resources map (a standard in classrooms of its era) which has been symbolically cleansed in Lake Pambula on Aboriginal land, rubbed with gifted ochre and rolled up in a gesture of contemplative healing. The map appears to be making a new drawing – one that references the ongoing physical and cultural forces, topographies and animals that continue to shape both our continent and our relationship with it.
off the grid
off the grid | 200 x 115 cm | tannic acid, rust, bark resins, earth, pigments, ochre, charcoal, lanolin, dingo urine |2017 | photography: Brenton McGeachie
off the grid is the final in a series of drawings (2015 – 2017) responding to top order predator animal objects held in the nation’s collection, at the National Museum of Australia. Throughout this difficult journey, I have contemplated the positioning in the human consciousness of an animal believed to be extinct through the impact of colonization. This final work re-imagines the Charles Selby thylacine pelt, once used as a domestic floor mat, as an aerial map returning to its earthly constituents. The tannins used in the drawing are rendered from the bark of a regionally endangered eucalypt community, Eucalyptus melliodora.
heartlands | 200 x 115 cm | tannic acid, rust, bark resins, earth, pigments, ochre, charcoal, lanolin, dingo urine |2016 | photography: George Serras
The complexities that characterize human relations with less loved other animals – both past and present – reveal much about our relationships with Earth.
Top order (trophic) animals are crucial to the wellbeing of our planet. Despite this, in Australia they are emblems of extinction, listed as vulnerable or frequently suffer from negative public perceptions of them. This drawing honors the memory of one such trophic animal, the thylacine, whose demise in Australia’s more recent history, was vastly accelerated through the ruthless dominion of a human colonizing culture. However, in this image, the doomed animal is re-imagined as a drifting, mythical landform, referencing familiar and abstracted topographical conventions.
Heartland is a celebration of the misunderstood other and evokes a place of deep and mysterious contemplation within the human psyche, when faced with inconvenient rivals. Rendered from earth materiality, heartland invites other ways of imagining our relations with such complex beings and ultimately, with the Earth that sustains us all.
the unquiet heart
Body, Mind & Spirit | 2015 | photography: George Serras