NOW Contemporary Art Prize

May 22nd, 2017  |  Published in exhibitions

SummerWoodducksHillEndWinter300
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Summer Woodducks 2015 Hill End Winter 2016 is a work I completed during a Hill End residency in 2016. Using techniques I developed during my PhD at the ANU 2009-2013, Woodducks continues my deconstruction of animal representation through site-based processes and integration of self with deceased animal ‘shrouds’. In Woollamia, I placed two deceased woodducks (gifted to me by Pirate) on canvas affixed to a sprung bed base and covered in mesh. I left the ducks to decompose for 4 months, photographed their decomposed bodies for later reference, collected the canvas and placed it in my matrilineal copper ‘cauldron’ in which I had steeped eucalyptus leaves. The canvas had collected evidence of the swamp site via mould on the surface and the prints of fallen leaves, while the mesh protecting the bodies from predators also left its rusty imprint. The combination of moist dank environment and exposure exceeding one month, resulted in the canvas beginning to also rot in contact with the bodies. After stretching the canvas, the woodduck shroud lived with me until my residency at Bundanon 2015, when I felt ready to begin integration with the spirit of animal and place captured in the work. I began by mending the holes in the surface using thread collected from the frayed edges of the stained canvas. I patched the larger holes using clean canvas to invoke renewal before sealing the surface with rabbit skin glue. I was drawn to the work again during my Hill End Residency in 2016. The cold winter in a 19th century home by the studio potbelly compelled a catharsis that found a path out through laboured painting of the woodduck shroud. Spring blossomed in red as emotions released and manifest.

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