Into the Great Wide Open
Weedmat, enamel, closed cell foam, Solitary Islands Marine Park
Thirty odd meters of woven weed mat creates a lot of drag out in the open sea, as we were to discover. Thoughts of an ocean of possibilities, conjured up by an empty road stretching into the great unknown beyond the wide horizon, seemed far from my mind as the two of us struggled to stay in the tiny boat.
My friend Leon had nearly been pulled over the side a couple of times as he struggled to hold the wayward road. Every bit of chop and lump of swell conspired to make the road twist and roll like a writhing black snake. The foam I had spent days stitching to the underside of the road only seemed to make matters worse by catching every breath of wind. And this was the calmest day in ages.
As the wind dropped and the current straightened the road, it finally seemed to hint at a beckoning journey. It was time to swing the boat side on, let go of the tiller, and make a frantic grab for the camera......Click.
Hibiscus petals stuck to centre line of roadway
It was just on sunrise when the road was quiet enough, and with enough visibility, for the cars to see me straddling the centre line - like a sitting duck - while I laid down the petals in a colour scale to mirror the colour sequence of the sunrise, their texture echoing ripples of light.
The struggle between nature and the human presence in the landscape has long been a source of intrigue for me. The idea of nature infiltrating our dull urban environment, somehow reinvigorating it by bringing a blaze of colour and light into the mundane, was the catalyst for this work.
Water is usually the easiest thing to use to stick flower petals to most surfaces but this time, with cars zooming past, things had to be done quickly for them to stick and not get blown away so it had to be double sided tape.
Hibiscus, hula, aloha shirts - all well used devices to liven up the mundane, in a fun, even kitsch way, carry with them a certain atmosphere that I wanted to tap into. Hibiscus petals, with their ostentatious nature, seemed made for the work and were certainly bright enough to cause a stir among the residents of the street as they set off for their Sunday activities.
Mixed media. Chai Wan Harbour, Hong Kong, beside the old printing district. A seat for one to observe the progress and change of the many across the water.
image: Charlotte Curd. Recycled water bottle filament, aluminium, steel, solar panels, water pumps, lights, ocean plastic and found objects. Installed Sculpture By The Sea Bondi 2018. Collaborative project with artists from Australia and Oceania. See the full story here
Totems from artists of Oceania, remade from a thousand water bottles, fill and empty with the tides of their homeland as they map the encroaching sea. Alongside this process, treasures and flotsam from the tide lines are exchanged like memories.
Tides are like the inhalation and exhalation of the ocean and low lying islands are a good monitor of this perpetual rhythm.
Consumption of convenient, but detrimentally manufactured goods inundate our lifestyle like a vessel filling to the brim. Advancing tides and rising oceans do the same to lands across the horizon.
A honeycomb like memory alcove in the side of the plinths invites a collaborative exchange of treasures and flotsam between viewers of the work and communities from island nations. People can take a gift from another person and replace it with their own, echoing the giving and taking of tides on the shoreline.
It is the latest chapter of an evolving collaboration that has included over 100 people spreading stories and concerns old and new of villages and communities that span the ocean.
Found bottle, cork, resin, sand, plastic figure, Olive, sunrise Diggers Beach
“Are you Jeremy?” a gentle voice asked.
“Yes, hi, umm... you must be Olive”, was my answer.
It was only just light, well before sunrise, but I could still make out her features and I was sure I had never met Olive before.
The previous day I had shown a snow dome like work to my wife. I had been investigating ways of creating micro-scenes and then putting them back into the larger macro scene they represented - like a play within a play, or one reality within another, that explored therelationship between the contained and the container. To cut a long story short I was trying to figure out a how to re-create, in the real world, the micro scene I had just created.
“Who does the lady in this bottle remind you of?” I asked.
“The lady that walks long the beach every day” Kath replied. “I know where she lives, I’ll knock on her door and ask her to be in the photo for you.”
I ended up with a blind date at dawn the next morning.
The lady I was now looking at, through the early morning mist, was someone completely different to the beach walking lady I had seen countless times.
Olive turned out to be even better than I had hoped for, a great sport, and more than happy to help. It was her first time as a swimsuit model ...and mine as a swimsuit photographer.
Yellow flower petals stuck to fallen tree branch with water. Bongil BongilNational Park
For me there is a certain magical quality in using natural materials, they have a materiality, a texture and and a truth that adds an extra dimension.
Maybe its an element of alchemy that comes from using what is “there” to highlight what is really there at a particular point in time.
Rise and Fall detail
Sand, clay, aluminium, steel, hessian, 3D Printers, Recycled water bottle filament, perspex, installed Sculpture By The Sea Bondi 2017/Massim Museum PNG/ Manly Regional Gallery. Collaborative project with artists from Australia and Oceania. See the full story here
Cultural artefacts, icons, figurative sculptures and carvings of cultural significance were contributed by Island nations across Oceania. These were remade in sand and exposed to the elements to decay as a metaphor for cultural decline, rising ocean levels and loss of land. As the figures degraded the gradual process of entropy and disintegration was monitored and measured in away much like a seismograph - with the main difference being a physical, object or commodity based, record. As a sand and clay work devolved an identical work made from plastic evolved.
The evolving plastic counterpart was created off-site by a machine representing evolving western progress - a 3-D printer. The filament for this printer was be made from reclaimed ocean plastic, thus the cultural artefacts are being slowly and systematically replaced by plastic western artefacts. Yet there is a twist, the new figures rise again in the same shape and form, in this instance in reclaimed materials from a process that is accessible, cyclical and where the locus of control can shift. The visual image of this is much like a machine that maps and records the rise and fall in ocean tides and from this the artwork draws its name, Rise and Fall.