Main image and above: Untitled (2017) concrete with site specific soil, plant material.
I was very excited to take up my residency at Another Project Space, part of the Artsource studio complex in Ashfield. Another have a reputation for fostering artistic experimentation and research (there is more info at www.anotherprojectspace.org and please read Anna Dunnill’s article about Perth based ARIs at https://visualarts.net.au/news-opinion/2016/rise-maker-spaces-perth/).
I am interested in examining the precarious relationship between ourselves and the physical world, in which we are embedded; in this case with reference to a site listed under the Contaminated Sites Act (2003). The 40 hectare former Cresco/CSPB/Wesfarmers industrial site, located a few hundred metres from the Another building, is contaminated mainly from agricultural chemical manufacture and storage. The site is undergoing remediation to allow restricted industrial and commercial use. Sections of the remediated site contain levels of contamination that preclude allowing any water to percolate through the soil, to avoid the water picking up contaminants and carrying them into the water table.
During my residency, I have collected soils, waste, plant materials and fragments from the boundaries of this site to create a series of small sculptures that act as portable landscapes. By using site specific soils to make cement, the physicality of a place is captured, along with all the toxins, fragments and organic matter that soil contains. Trucked-in soil used as fill to remediate the site and the use of disposable food, drink and water containers as moulds, introduce a sense of dislocation and raises questions around permanence of place. The sculptures both embody the site yet disrupt identification with place, and, along with the materials failures, reveal an implicit and unsettling instability.
The sculptures fall broadly into two groups: one group reflects on the cycle of growing, processing and consuming food and drink and allude to intrusions into the body. The second group of sculptures reference Giorgio Morandi’s series of Natura Morte paintings and makes explicit some of the heavy metals – copper, lead and aluminium – hidden in the soil.
Images above: Natura Morte series (2017) Concrete withe site specific soil, copper, lead, aluminium powder.
Images above: Untitled (2017) concrete with site specific soil, polyurethane foam, paint.