THE UNPREDICTABLE CREATIVE POWER OF NATURE
JULIA DAVIS [AUS] ELIZABETH DAY [AUS] MARIO REIS [GER]
10 June - 19 July 2014
Conny Dietzschold Gallery is presenting a joint exhibition with Sydney-based artists Julia Davis and Elizabeth Day as well as German artist
Mario Reis. Their practices explore the beauty, power and violence residing within the natural world. Calm and flowing like a river one minute
to a roaring eruption of smoke and ash the next.
Returning from a residency at The British School in Rome, Julia Davis has created a powerful body of work informed by her travels to volcanic
sites in southern Italy. Her artworks explore the effect of time on understandings of the body in relation to landscape and how this underpins
ones sense of self and place. Davis travelled with volcanologists and geologists to document and collect volcanic ash from Mt. Vesuvius, Mt.
Stromboli and Mt. Etna. Davis often works in "active" landscapes such as deserts, volcanic areas, coastal precincts and salt lakes. She is
interested in the idea that landscape is a cultural space - a space informed by and informing culture.
In geological time, the landscape moves, pulses and crashes in processes of coming into and out of existence. The often violent imagery of
turbulent volcanic ash clouds and eruptive volcanic events elicits contradictory feelings of foreboding and rapture. Tension between anticipated
loss and subsequent renewal, as well as the duality of processes which create and destroy, corrode and protect are ongoing interests in Davis's
art practice. The "active" places she refers to mirror the fragile human experience of movement, instability, rhythm, reflection and change. In
her work geological time and human perception merge into a single spatial experience and take us closer to a sense of the world as our place.
Elizabeth Day investigates the early history of Australia, the underbelly, the abject which is not tasteful but underpins our culture. Her tactile
explorations use a myriad of materials from bubble gum, hessian, grass, dirt and knitted yarn. Day uses grass to create beautiful installations
that represent layers of language and vegetation from Australia. Her work is based in a theory of art integrally related to earth, a form of
transplantation finding roots in minimal art and earthworks pioneered by American artist Robert Smithson. Her colorful knitted mushrooms are
part of a community research project being based around Longford in Tasmania later this year.
Mario Reis' works focus on the concept of preservation. Grown up during the prominence of Earthwork or the Land Art movements, Reis freezes
time and the erosion process through preserving natural materials that readily fluctuate. His art confronts itself with the possibilities of
expression of physical forces, chemical processes and natural phenomena; they develop through a by him initiated self-dynamics of forces with
the addition of various media. With his works centered on the creative process Reis appeals to the sensorial experience of the viewer and the
meaning of the tactile reality of life in an age of high technology.
His "river-paintings" for example are done by submerging a blank stretched canvas into the shallow water of a riverbed and waiting for three
days for the natural sediments of the river settle on the fabric of the canvas. This work, framed by the canvas stretcher residue and frozen by
spray adhesive, depicts both the natural pigment and movement, which are unique to each river. In this manner, Reis has documented since
1977 international rivers and creeks and their "colour".