TOOWOOMBA ART SOCIETY 2016
"BEINGS & BIOSPHERES" [A solo exhibition by invitation]
Usually we tend to think of ‘the environment’ as the natural environment only. Considering that we humans are inextricably here, with the domestic and ‘food’ animals, structures, and infrastructures that we deem necessary to function, we are essentially part of the holistic nature of the environment, where each component has unavoidable repercussions on all the other elements.
This is the reasoning behind my choice of title for this exhibition - “Beings and Biospheres,” - hopefully portraying multiplicity and interdependence
BRUCE WALKER - Opening Speech:
Having known Elizabeth and her art for twenty nine years it is a privilege to be opening this exhibition ‘Beings and Biospheres.’
Over the years I have witnessed Elizabeth’s art continuously evolving as her creativity and her sensitivity to the environment have led her into new materials and new concepts.
Her career commenced in the 60’s in formal training at the National Art School located in East Sydney. This provided her with the tools and grounding to develop both her style and compositional structure as well as her perceptions of the world around her. She often attributes this to one of her teachers: Godfrey Miller who instilled the notion of ‘a solid permanent under structure to free and fluid things’.
Elizabeth’s freedom and fluidity is a quality in her art that I have always admired. Her minimal free-flowing line work reminds me of the famous Bauhaus motto: Less is More. Yet is a discipline which she constantly works at. For example: drawing an image in continuous lines without looking at the paper.
Simplicity can fool people. It is not as easy as it seems and requires constant practice to maintain. As Elizabeth once stated:in any art form it is knowing what to leave out that is finally the most important – and difficult!
Composition & relationship is probably still no.1 for me – the structure has to be there to build on – the gestalt – and whether it is the relationship of incongruities or of compatibilities, both are to me essential – to be too harmonious can feel a bit boring & safe so kicking something out of step can give it energy & more life.
You will observe in this exhibition that Elizabeth loves experimenting with materials – organic or industrial or mixing the two together to get that shift of soft and hard, ephemeral and lasting. She uses paper, wire, mesh, twigs and sticks to move between whimsy (such as her “cow grass” of tall wires with grass ears of cow heads) and the harder lessons of collective memory (her stick families which have become an iconic logo).
Living with an architect has certainly given her knowledge and access to industrial materials but her [often solitary childhood spent roaming a large cattle property] [previous] and the years spent living near Lake Weyba and her early morning canoe rides has given her an intense appreciation of beauty in natural forms and materials. Murdering Creek where a whole tribe of aborigines were rounded up and killed by the early settlers, gave Elizabeth an additional sensitivity to aboriginal spirituality and the oft times tragic intervention of modern man.
To quote Tamsin Kerr in a review of one of Elizabeth’s exhibitions:
She moves from the seen to the unseen aspects of our landscapes, drawn to the spirit of a place as well as to the spirit of the humans and non-humans who inhabit it over past, present and future. She portrays environmental emotion more than just the physical scenery. Rather than simply creating objects, she portrays the lives and languages of the materials she uses.
So this is Elizabeth’s creative endeavour: to translate the language of nature, to take us on a voyage of connection with the natural world, and to act as creative researcher for that which lies outside and around our human limitations.