Parasite was installed as part of the Exquisite Corpse Exhibition at Contemporary Art Tasmania in 2018. This work took the form of a DIY lighting system. A solar panel charged a battery by capturing the energy emitted from in-situ gallery lighting. The stored energy was then used to power a moving solitary light to slowly illuminate my Carbon Capture and Storage drawings, one drawing at a time. A sensor ensured the moving light only activated when someone was in the gallery, allowing the battery to remain charged by capturing the otherwise wasted energy of lighting an empty space. These apparent efficiency measures are however a nonsense given the amount of electricity used by the gallery lighting to power this work far exceeds the energy harvested by the solar panel. This custom lighting rig generates connections between the consumption of energy and the consumption of art, drawing links between our automated viewing of artwork and our passive acceptance of the energy required to facilitate ideal display conditions.
Carbon Capture and Storage is a series of dubious carbon capture and storage drawings made by applying candle soot onto plywood; capturing the carbon that would otherwise combine with oxygen in the combustion process to form carbon dioxide (see Twenty Twenty Vision below). These drawings depict ideas around successfully and perhaps not so successful adaption to the inevitable future changes to our climate. An ongoing interest in the carbon enrichment process of animal respiration, particularly human respiration, also informs these drawings.
Twenty Twenty Vision – This series of drawings is an alternative approach to visualizing the commitment of individual nations to reducing carbon emissions. Titled Twenty Twenty Vision, these drawings are made via a process which facetiously parodies the casual usage of the terms carbon capture and carbon reduction, particularly in relation to government policy.Step one in the drawing process is to capture the carbon emitted from a burning candle making the drawing surface completely black with soot (impure carbon). Step two, carbon reduction, is achieved by removing soot from the drawing surface to create botanical representations of selected national trees. The surface area of carbon removal is dependent on the nation’s 2020 carbon reduction target. For example the image of Australia’s Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) takes up only 5% of the total surface area of the drawing, matching Australia’s commitment of a 5% reduction on 2000 levels. Beyond a mere pastiche of climate change related processes these drawings question, through the use of national symbols, notions of national identity and its relationship to a countries commitment to a sustainable existence.
Half Empty / Half Full – These works features the humble canary and its association as an air monitoring sentinel. Its low tolerance threshold to carbon monoxide and other harmful gases made it a cheap but effective safety tool for mine workers. In most cases exposure to toxic gases resulted in the death of the canary, although in some instances the unconscious birds were successfully revived in small resuscitation chambers. These chambers, made up of a sealed glass cage with attached oxygen bottle, were the initial inspiration for the Half Empty / Half Full series. Each work features a life size canary carved in relief. These carved panels are framed with convex acrylic glazing to form a small air chamber in front of the work. In a direct parody of the resuscitation chambers previously mentioned, the enclosed carved canaries are linked, via an air hose, to utilitarian/recreational objects that either inflate or reference nature. (balloons, floatation aids, air fresheners, a gumleaf landscape painting). Each pairing of encapsulated canary and linked object presents an absurd and surreal relationship brought about by their shared air supply. These works reflect the closed nature of our environment and our individual man made climate change complicity. The specially selected objects attached to the canary sculptures are metaphorically assessed for their life preserving properties. Depending on your point of view these objects can be perceived as potential lifesavers or slow executioners, a reference to the duality of the man made climate change debate.
The Whole Family is Worried was a work made for the exhibition The Brassington Affair, an event to celebrate Pat Brassington’s significant contribution to the Tasmanian School of Art. The curator requested artists consider their relationship to both Pat and her artwork. As I have always found the content of Pat’s artwork rather disconcerting my work consisted of a series of paper bags, that when triggered by a motion censor, would systematically inflate and deflate as if the gallery wall was somehow hyperventilating. (Curated by Paul Zika)
Not Natural – made for the exhibition Un-Natural, where artists were requested to investigate connections to environment and place. This work openly questioned the environmental credentials of the highly celebrated landscape genre, particularly within Tasmania, by employing second hand landscape painting as air purifiers. (Curated by Dr Meg Keating)