Flânerie, my latest exhibition of collaged printed works, was created as a result of a residency at the Sofitel Melbourne On Collins in 2015. It interprets the hotel’s French flavour, multicultural philosophy, and contrasting environments from the Paris end of Collins Street to Melbourne’s iconic laneways.
Invitation image: Carmel Wallace Le Rouge #5, collage on canvas (posters from Rue de Bretagne, Paris) 76 x 76 cm
CARMEL WALLACE_Daphne 2015_fiberglass reinforced plastic; recycled manufactured leaves_L 77cm x w 14.5cm x h 12.5cm
Daphne was inspired by the Laurel tree in the Portland Botanical Gardens and the myth of Apollo and Daphne that has been interpreted widely in art and literature. According to myth, Daphne is transformed into a Laurel tree so she can escape the advances of Apollo. In the words of Andrew Marvell:
The Gods, that mortal Beauty chase,
Still in a Tree did end their race.
Apollo hunted Daphne so,
Only that She might Laurel grow.
The Garden 1681
This myth is pertinent in a contemporary environmental context where recognition of our relationship with the natural world and the interconnectedness of all life forms underpin the development of solutions to current issues.
I am pleased to have been invited as the next Artist-in-Residence at the Sofitel Melbourne On Collins, beginning Sunday 31st May 2015. This residency program is organised by Global Arts Projects, consultant curators to the hotel. Previous artists-in residence have been Donna Marcus, Andre Hemer, Anne Zahalka, Rolande Souliere, Bruce Reynolds, Gosia Wlodarczak, and Robyn Stacey.
FLORA is a short film by Carmel Wallace and Colleen Hughson with music composed by Michael Wallace Flora is played by Ella Eade. Portland Victoria Australia 2015
Flora celebrates the richness and fecundity of nature, personified by a young woman wearing a cloak* made of flowers. The singular beauty of indigenous species is displaced by seductive mass plantings of exotic flora as introduced by successive boat people to these shores. Whilst we may question this displacement, the film presents a post-colonial view of harmonious co-habitation: the bees happily feast on the nectar of both indigenous and introduced flowers, and we as audience also enjoy the extravagant beauty of both.
*Titled Flowers for Gardens, this cloak was originally created by Carmel Wallace in 2013 for One River, a Centenary of Canberra project, supported by the ACT Government & the Australian Government, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, The Sidney Myer Fund and the Australia Council for the Arts.
This exhibition includes my newly finished installation Bare Bones of the Cobboboonee.
Bare Bones of the Cobboboonee 2006 -2015 copyright Carmel Wallace 2015
This work began as an investigation into the inner life of our local native forest, the Cobboboonee. Mimicking the style of many a naturalist before me, I collected specimens for a work to be created as part of the Great South West Walk Art Project in 2006. However, to be properly seasoned the wood needed to be oiled and stored, so it is only now that I have it ready to show. Whittling away the bark became a meditative exercise. I felt rather like a surgeon, or a miner, as I cut back the bark to uncover the richness of the bare branches – the bones of the trees – beneath.
A short film of the work, including some footage of the Cobboboonee Forest here: https://vimeo.com/132408467Bare Bones of the Cobboboonee 2006 -2015 copyright Carmel Wallace 2015
Australian White Ibis Threskiornis molucca (2014) hand-coloured linocut, with collage. 21 x 30 cm. Edition: 10. Created for the Bimblebox 153 Birds project
Bimblebox 153 Birds is part of a developing art project where writers, musicians and artists creatively engage with the avian residents of the endangered Bimblebox Nature Refuge to describe the bird species officially recorded there.
Bimblebox Nature Refuge is 8000 hectares of native bush-land in Queensland, Australia, legally recognised as a Nature Refuge and part of the National Reserve System of Protected Areas. It is currently under threat from massive coal-mining projects both directly over and under the refuge plus all around it, throughout the Galilee Basin.
Bimblebox Art Project is coordinated by artist Jill Sampson who developed the project as a way of exploring the material, visual, historical, scientific and physical existence of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge while questioning what the future holds and what human and societal value we place on it.
ARTIST STATEMENT: As human encroachments on wildlife refuges expand to provide resources for city dwellers & mining magnates, native wetland birds such as the Australian White Ibis move to cities to survive. Indeed this often-maligned bird, labeled a ‘tip turkey’ as it feeds on questionable waste, has become a city icon. Its apparently abundant numbers belie the health of wetlands on which it ultimately depends. Our Australian White Ibis is a close relative of the Sacred Ibis of Egypt, now in danger of extinction in spite of its once plentiful population. I’d like to elevate the Australian White Ibis from ‘tip turkey’ to sage, keeping in mind that the ancient Egyptian god Thoth, with the head of an Ibis, was considered a great counselor, mediator and patron of knowledge.