Each of us has a complex network of physical and psychological barricades in our lives.
These can be environmental, imposed on us or self-erected. What happens when a barricade falls or is breached? Some may find euphoria in such a collapse. For others, the tension this creates can be crippling.
Emergences highlights many practitioners who – while highly accomplished and even internationally recognised – are largely unknown to audiences outside their respective communities.
The artists all proffer unique perspectives that are unexpected, challenging and exciting, illustrating the vigour and diversity of regional voices.
As much as this exhibition is a collation of diverse responses to a disruptive period in history, it is also an attempt to breach perceived bastions of creative practice. Emerging artists are exhibiting alongside experienced practitioners; introverts share a stage with extroverts; and traditional techniques and innovation collide.
The paradox of presenting such an exhibition in this venue speaks directly to this… socially, politically, economically and creatively.
A distance continues to grow between our inside and out. Our tenuous relationship to the land was drawn into focus in the isolation and closed spaces of the last few years. For Aboriginal people, this relationship is central to our identity although due to politics, power and racist violence and intervention many have sought to re-connect with culture, language and each other, often through the agency of Boodja to mend and heal the wounds of loss and separation. Can the voices and hearts of the most wounded assist us all in this quest?
This artwork begins as a site-specific collaboration involving cuttlefish bone, seaweed and the flow of Wardan the ocean. This event was documented with digital video and an experimental film was created. The four artists were inspired by a Wisława Szymborska poem, where nature flaunts itself at human made “leaky boundaries”.
When everyone is lost, it is to their foundations and roots they look to, to find reason to be. We gather in the warmth and safety to try and rebuild. We gather in the light of the fire.
The world has changed, the light is shifting, and the fog is lifting from view. We come back together, some fragmented, some morphed – all changed in some form to find where our pieces fit or don’t fit into the puzzle of this new world. Together we gather, standing in the light, coming together.
Francesco’s practice is largely solitary, honouring the introvert in his personality and allowing him to be immersed in the environment. Each artwork is like a page of a book and tells the story of his routine, which is a collection of experiences. The aim is to be true to the action/himself and the land that he explores.
To create is firstly to choose ones captivation, to make a boundary within the infinity of nothingness. Captivation that one hopes will provide the freedom of direction by the recognition of a possible reality. A habitat yes, but also a means of challenging how we see and of questioning the realities that we support and accept.
Humans are naturally attracted to organic forms. Any irregularity is comforting and approachable. People protect what they know and love but by distancing ourselves from nature, we lose our understanding and appreciation of it.
The slow down has allowed the natural world to briefly recover but any uncertainty continues to cause personal anxiety. Damage is still done that is likely impossible to repair.
With her work Yu-Hua aims to connect emotionally with her audience, exploring the healing potential of cooperation, nature and making.
These works interpret the idea that thoughts are free. While the human body can be constrained and our movement restricted, our mind transcends any limits. In our minds we can travel without leaving. We can daydream, go back in time or imagine the future.
The colour blue speaks to this freedom. It’s the colour of distance; of there seen from here; of where we’re not; of unreachable things; and of desire…
Katharina refers to herself as a ‘Climate Artist’. Her intricate works draw the viewer into emotional landscapes, telling complex stories of loss but also of hope for the future. The open sea is borderless, responsibilities aren’t clearly defined and behaviour can’t be controlled. This has enormous ramifications for ocean health and the creatures contained therein, especially the iconic Blue Whale and other larger mammals. Water Borders reflects on the importance of borders and the fragility of these ecosystems.
The Snake Way Home maps Kate Alida Mullen’s experience being caught on the eastern side of the country when Western Australia’s stalwart border restrictions were imposed in April 2020. What followed was an unexpected two-year ‘dérive’, or ‘drift’, traversing many Nations – all made in an effort to dodge indefinite lockdowns and, ultimately, to get back home. Here, Mullen retraces something of the living imprints of each of the landscapes she took refuge in over this historical passage in time.
The recent pandemic has changed our lives, offering up existential questions about our own mortality, and the consequential choices we are required to make. Western Australia’s ancient vistas reminds us of that fleeting moment — when the visual document from above reveals what is hidden from the majority of us below. We can see but we cannot touch. Physical isolation led us to a longing for connection. To dream of boundaries that no longer exist and a return to freedom that we took for granted.
Nullagine River uses the shape and the imagined geographical boundary of the Nullagine River to speak about the psychological boundaries of making art within personal context. Through intentional processes this work attempts to untangle the threads, then re-weave the story by darning and repairing, making whole, healing and forgiving.
The result is a red river, flowing, full of passion and potential; it’s a border, one side darkness and the other of light.