While researching for my 2016 Creative Development Fellowship I have been investigating contested landscapes in Tasmania considering the nature of human relationships to the natural world, one which is founded on both dependence and disregard. Unsustainable forestry and logging are resulting in the loss of natural environments that are home to endangered flora and fauna.
Remnants is a work that has been created in response to a visit to the Styx forest in the south of Tasmania. There is an area there where, in less than five metres, you can walk from a pristine rain forest to an area that has been completely cleared, in disregard for the precious life that existed there. For this work I choose an aerial view of one of the fallen trees that had been pummeled into the clay by the tracks of the bulldozers.
The image is created from small pyramids of ash, using a pixelated technique, that has been collected from areas around the state that have been affected. When you view this image from a distance it almost looks photographic but as you move closer to investigate the detail, the image begins to break down until, up close, you are confronted with a digitised abstraction in burnt ash. The result functions as a metaphor for the disappearing landscape itelf.
Ash is a strange medium and it is loaded with inherent meaning. For me there is something very exciting about taking a material that has be discarded and attempting to give it new life by returning it to a form that resembles what it once was.
It can be horrible stuff if it is not used correctly. For example if you attempt to bind it in a medium like acrylic or oil it completely changes its appearance and alters how it is represented. It does not look like ash anymore it just becomes another pigment but very course and aesthetically unpleasant.
So what I am attempting to do is use the ash in a way that still retains a sense of its originality and juxtapose this with another medium that is the complete antithesis, like wax and oil. Ash being monotone and rough, wax being very smooth and coloured by the oil paint.