Warrnambool Art Gallery, Warrnambool Victoria Australia
Carmel Wallace’s solo exhibition Into the Woods developed from walks in her local forest, the Cobboboonee in southwest Victoria. It honours trees for their beauty and contribution, acknowledging their vital role in climate change. The artworks also give new life and meaning to discarded materials with their embedded histories enriching new forms. Wallace’s approach is a multidisciplinary one, with stories of place a rich source of inspiration. The exhibition includes the video and sound work INSCRIPTION [co-created with cinematographer Peter Corbett] that takes viewers on a journey into the Cobboboonee. The Inscription path [shown also on the black wall above] created an observational focus as we contemplated the micro and macro elements of this environment.
Lake Life, a suite of prints I created during a residency at SymbioticA [University of Western Australia] is included in this exhibition that takes us on a journey back through time to the origin of life. How did life first get started? Where can we still find traces of the earliest life forms today? Why is it important to look at the past in order to develop an understanding of why biodiversity is so relevant in today’s world? There are scientific predictions that more than one-third of all living species are threatened with extinction because of the effects of human activity. Since the very beginning of life, organisms depend on and influence one another. Living things do not exist in isolation, they live off and with each other. Therefore, we have all long been aware that life itself is threatened on planet Earth. The exhibition invites us to look at the emergence of life through artistic works from modern times to the present, complemented by scientific exhibits from the early days of life, right now, at this crossroads of a global climate and biodiversity crisis.
Utilising her familiar methodology of gathering materials indicative of place, Wallace cut ‘core samples’ from locally-sourced, recycled, manufactured and natural elements embedded with stories of Lorne. These were presented on wooden structures created to play on the idea of museum-style crates with their reference to valuable contents. Stencilled words and images painted with bioluminescent particles offer further conceptual readings. Saxophonist and composer Michael Wallace was commissioned by LSB2022 to write and perform an original piece in response to the site and installation [Lorne Lode: Sampling the Core 2022].
CHROMA 2 is conceived as a celebration of trees and forests; an invitation to consider the beauty of their forms; an alert to their presence, vulnerability, and role in the face of our changing climatic conditions.
Working at Liam and Sarah Brokensha’s property, Glenhuntly, for Earth Canvas was a perfect opportunity for me to extend parameters and experience regenerative farming in action. I decided to focus on soil as its health and vitality underpin productivity, the core of regenerative farming philosophy.My work for this exhibition has been created using samples of the major soil types at Glenhuntly, strengthened with both organic and inorganic materials found at the sites around the farm from which these samples were obtained.