Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dyad - an unnatural selection

My residency at Territory Craft studios coincides with the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s publication of ‘On the Origin of Species’. Charles Darwin was the first person to provide a rational explanation of our human origins, our relationship to the great apes and descent from a common ancestor. My exhibition which opens next Friday has diverse objects celebrating the evolution of creating art and comprises work which met the rigours of survival of the fittest in an unfamiliar environment.
Travelling across the continent via the mining towns of Cloncurry and Mount Isa, I had time to review my internal and external landscape. What does distance from home and my studio bring to thinking and making in a new environment? Does a physical change bring a change in internal creative dialogue and therefore adaptation?
These questions were addressed during my residency as I trialled new ceramic techniques, coped with the zero humidity of the dry season and its effect on greenware and smashed work that failed to adapt to the vagaries of the kilns. I was hoping that the Darwin residency would generate work that had favourable variations which could be preserved. In the end I produced numerous offspring in an evolutionary process of making that led to the natural selection of new species of art forms. The dry season environment in particular determined which forms survived and which unfavourable variations were removed.
The ceramics and mixed media work showing at Territory Craft offers a broad repertoire of ideas and techniques. It consists of pairs or ’dyads’ of objects. I use a variety of scientific source material including micro-organisms which I recombine into repeat patterns which focus on the intrinsic beauty of biological imagery. Pattern and structure helps us comprehend science and the concept of natural variation. In particular, propagation and mitosis carries contemporary resonance in the field of virology with the current problems surrounding H1N1 and Hendra virus. These themes are a recurring motif in the art work in both form and surface decoration. I have also modelled and drawn apes and man/Darwin onto the ceramic forms and 2-D work. I'll have some more images for you in the next few days.