Our Stories, This Space. Juggling Airwaves, Catching Place.

In 2015 I was incredibly flattered to be invited and commissioned to create an original artwork for ABC Great Southern.

My concept was to create a piece of art that captured the wild beauty of the Great Southern while illustrating the ABC’s place within this Great Southern land.

The resulting work: Our Stories, This Space. Juggling Airwaves, Catching Place.  is a 1200 x 900 mixed media artwork on canvas.

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Our Stories, This Space. Juggling Airwaves, Catching Place. Tash Rolfe 2015.

A person stands poised. A solitary metaphor for all those agents of the ABC during its life in the Great Southern.

With tremendous care, this silhouette is thoroughly focused upon the delicate task at hand; existing to juggle the voices, celebrations, opinions, warnings, music and words, of those who call here home.

Neither asserting control nor dipping in, the figure is in harmony with this place.  In a gentle act of catching and releasing the prevailing ideas of the time, our stories in and of this space are allowed the freedom to be heard and the opportunity to resolve.

Salmon Holes. Frequently in our news, this much loved coastal reserve remains close to the heart of many locals who respect its power and enjoy its untamed beauty. The colour and nature of this seascape is representative of many parts of our exquisite coastline.

When visiting here,  you feel quiet, at peace, invited to swim and fish in the glorious sapphire waters. Like a siren’s song, Salmon Holes has unknowingly seduced many into its perilous depths and yet, it is arguably one of our most beautiful and loved beaches.

Many of us have stories of this place. Have trodden its beach and picnicked upon its sands. In one way or another it has woven itself into the lyrics of our lives.

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I began by collaging a whimsical sky of music and words, full of the gleeful anticipation that comes with a trip to the beach, sounding out that which the ABC broadcasts across the airwaves. I collaged under the water to reflect the skies above and I hope that the luscious glossy qualities of the oils and the colour of the sea invite the viewer to dive in.

The horizon intentionally falls away and sweeps us out to sea, surging back towards shores at the sea’s whim, reminding us no one person is in control. Viewed from an angle, the collage underneath the water appears fractured, alluding to the risk and inherent dangers lurking beneath this alluring body of water.

The collage also extends beneath the sands which is evident upon closer inspection, revealing musical notes. Reminiscent of footprints, the marks we make that in time will be washed away then renewed, I considered this idea to run parallel with our need to assert opinions and have these broadcast, only to reconsider and alter these points of view with the passing of time.  The juggling balls symbolise our voices and stories, the words ” Here, I’m there” and “Catch me, Catch but air” remind me of the relationship between the ABC and the ever changing commentary of the people and place with which it is ensconced.

Slideshow documenting work in progress.

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Hope Floats

Tides of people escaping the horrors of starvation, grueling war, political persecution, torture, religious persecution and the many forms of extreme human deprivation, make the harrowing journey away from their once beloved homelands.

Desperate, they seek someone, any one person who can offer them a vessel, a life line and hopefully freedom, in a place where they and their children; the people they love most, may be safe to live a long life.

A drop in the ocean of displaced people, a mother cradles her precious babes; one wrapped lovingly around her hip while another  is cocooned upon her back, so reliant on her. Dissolving in a sea of trauma, for some time now life’s sole purpose has been survival.

Faced with her family’s certain demise, her options exhausted, she courageously propels her family step by step along the perilous jetty to the great unknown,  in search of a life of possibility.

Her mind’s eye is keenly focused upon the once unimaginable future now within her reach. Just as a blind man would be happy to see, she cares not for the condition of the vessel, she is blinded by its promise and deeply scarred by all that has come before. An emotion far more powerful then fear has taken hold and emboldened her with great determination.  Hope floats.

Hope Floats, is my response to the raging debate regarding asylum seekers arriving by sea.  Hoping to inspire Australians to empathise with the plight of asylum seekers, my intention here is to evoke some of the feelings that may come to pass moments before embarking upon the final leg of a journey towards freedom.

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Hope floats. Tash Rolfe 2013. Oil on board $390. Great Southern Art Award 2014 Entry. Currently displayed at the Vancouver Art Centre until May 18th. Albany, WA.

 I have intentionally painted this family on the outer fringe of the picture plane and have consciously chosen to exclude the image of a boat in the hope of personalising this moment and separating this asylum seeking family from the term ” boat people”; an ugly part of our vernacular that places the issue at arm’s length, conveniently ignoring and denying horrific past experiences that lead scores of ordinary good people, women and men of integrity, to take extraordinary risk in hope of securing the best possible lives for their family.  

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Recently, I held my first art exhibition at the Creative Spaces Pop-Up Gallery, WA Museum Albany.

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For those who missed the opportunity to visit me there, here is some of the writing associated with the exhibition and some of the paintings are already uploaded to the Art page of this blog.

emerge flyerEmerge: to rise or come forth, as from concealment or obscurity.

Emerge seemed a very appropriate title, for my first solo exhibition as an artist. On many different levels the idea of emerging is relevant to my life experience, particularly since 2007, when I moved to Albany.

The Emerge exhibition documented the journey of my development as an artist. Predominantly, the art I displayed was created since 2010, with a couple of exceptions, namely; Everlasting Ascension (2008) and Two Souls Afloat (2008).

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Almost everything from that period was included, including my personal art journal created while experiencing peri-natal depression and anxiety. From this place of darkness I discovered my love of producing visual art and emerged a more fulfilled person. Hence, during Emerge, I chose to share a broad snapshot, encompassing my earliest “dabbling” with paint, to the larger scale paintings I have produced this last 12 months.

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Featuring 30 original artworks, each work stood alone in the space as a joyous celebration of the vibrant colours and diverse textures present in the natural world. Inspired by local adventures and travels  abroad, Emerge was an interpretation of  a diverse range of subjects and presented these as semi- abstract oil and acrylic paintings.

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Though not necessarily evident in the artwork, on a personal level, this exhibition mapped the emergence of my most authentic self; a parallel process that has taken place as my art has evolved.

I found myself standing in the gallery, reminded of my path to discovering a wholly satisfying way of living my life, that finds balance between the dedicated practice of creative expression and raising a young family amidst the busyness of a chaotic modern world.

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It is fair to say that where I sit on the spectrum of the human mental health experience is inextricably linked to the amount of creative expression I permit myself.

Realising this has been integral to my emergence. Creating this body of work has been both a joyous celebration of the world around me and a bridge to sanity. I suspected I was not alone in this regard. My art journal and these views proved popular conversation with my visitors.

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The joy was been in the doing. Some of the work was derived from mindful consideration of the subject, other pieces were the result of surrendering myself to a sort of liberated abandon; when the art just flows through me and flies onto the canvas in a personal emotive response to my surroundings. Either way, the process of play and creative exploration has been and continues to be truly fulfilling.

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Please click on the Art page of this blog to view the paintings exhibited as part of Emerge, and I would love to hear your thoughts about the work I presented.

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As seen in The GS Weekender, November 21, 2013.

 

Splash, Smear, Scribble and Scrawl.

I recently spoke with Suzannah Lyons from ABC Open about my artistic process and the role writing plays within the art that I create. aj4

Following our conversation Suzannah published a blog post; Writing as Art, that can be found here.

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This got me thinking more about my journey and I thought it may be nice to share with you my early explorations with visual art, particularly for those who were unable to attend  my recent art exhibition Emerge.

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The images featured in this post are from my first art journal that I began in 2010. A weekly class in Expressive Art Journaling with Michelle Saleeba set me on my path.

At the time I was pregnant with my youngest child and my art journal was a place to safely explore my emotional state of being as well as to  experiment with something I really enjoyed; creative expression through visual art.

As I splashed and smeared paint and scribbled and scrawled, inundating the white pages of a journal with the outpourings and celebrations of my soul, something began to shift. I was reconnecting with my creative self.

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One of the things I found myself saying to Suzannah during our conversation was that I so often hear people remark that they don’t have a creative bone in their body.

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But in truth I think if we all allowed ourselves more time for grown-up play, opportunities to create and reconnect with the stuff we loved as children, we would all be a whole lot happier.

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One of the things I wanted the Emerge exhibition to be was really honest and based on real experience.

aj13tttSo I chose to share my early fumblings with paint during the Emerge exhibition. 

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I didn’t want people to think I’d started by being able to paint some of my later works that are in oils on canvas and on a large scale.

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Another question I am often faced with is how do I find the time.  The answer to this is very simple. Basically I have to make the time and this is about being disciplined because it is impossible to find a spare moment with a young family.

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So I schedule it as a priority and on that designated day everyone is out of the house, the dirty dishes remain in the sink, no house work takes place, just the force of creativity is allowed to flow.

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What I have learnt is that if I just start something (sometimes anything), even a simple exercise in doodling,  then the energy flows and replaces itself, the creative project reveals itself and I am on my way.

Reading the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron did wonders for me in realising how art could become a part of my daily life.

aj9tttI know that in my circle of people there are some incredibly creative sorts who have hinted at the creative play that they loved as children and long for as adults. Potential crafters, singers, poets, musicians, dancers, performers, artists, writers, novelists.  Are you one of them? How do you long to creatively express yourself?

The Reader

Open to a world of possibility, the reader curls up, absorbed. So many have come before, like a vast landscape mapping the course of life.

The reader chooses the road she will travel based on a vast library, accumulated over a lifetime.

Words allow her to gaze through a window, revealing that which would normally remain hidden, sometimes concealed by the outside world, other times tucked deep away within herself.

Caught up, she forgets herself, escapes in these precious moments. A mind undressed, nothing comes between her and the voice she attentively listens to with each passing chapter.

Here, the reader has space to think and feel and question, to dream and discover and explore, to cry, to spontaneously laugh aloud. The reader knows this to be a gift; quieting the busyness of the chaotic modern world.

And as she quenches her thirst and drifts off to sleep, the reader grows.

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The reader.
Tash Rolfe 2013.
Collage of maps and books on board with Coptic marker. 630mm x 770mm(framed).
Jarrah timber frame handcrafted and donated by Terry Rolfe
Donated to Albany Public Library’s Annual Art Auction for Foodbank.
In response to the Love2Read theme.
Currently displayed in the Albany Public Library until the Auction on the 11th December 2013.

Albany Public Library Display

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This morning I had the pleasure of hanging five of my artworks in the art display area at the Albany Public Library. This is my first solo display so it was both an exciting and nerve racking experience. I was very moved by the lovely feedback I received from several passers by as I diligently worked out what to hang where and how to use the hanging hardware provided.

The space provided is free to artists and it is very prominent and highly visible from the main entrance. The display also features two of the stories I have had published by ABC Open.

The Library staff where enormously helpful and I would particularly  like to thank Soraya for her encouraging words and Paul for his assistance this morning.

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This display is a preview of some of the artworks that will be exhibited as part of my forthcoming exhibition EMERGE in the WA Museum Albany in November.

Later this weekend I will post some thoughts about each of the individual artworks that are currently hanging in the Albany Public Library.

If you manage to have a look at my artwork in the Library, please feel free to comment below.

 

Where is the compassion?

WARNING: I AM ALL FIRED UP ABOUT THIS ISSUE AND FRANKLY THIS WILL BE A BIT OF A RANT.

Where is the compassion? My goodness Australia, I am ashamed of my government and the opposition of the day. You are supposed to be our leaders for goodness sake, holding us to a higher standard. Where is the compassion?

While we are at it lets all STOP calling them “boat people” it puts the issue at arms length and is an all too convenient way for those of us living the good life to avoid acknowledging that there happens to be an incredibly good reason for asylum seekers to go to such dramatic life threatening lengths.

Referring to Asylum seekers as ” boat people” protects Australians from having to thoughtfully consider what horrors these people have experienced, that have ultimately resulted in them seeking Asylum on our shores. It suggests that making that harrowing voyage aboard a seriously unseaworthy boat is something a person has a choice about. The reality is people who make the decision to travel with a people smuggler do so because they are out of options.

Mums and dads, decide to go to the extreme measure of fleeing their home and country in hope of a better life. Asylum seekers are attempting to save their children and themselves from the horrors of starvation, grueling war, political persecution, torture, religious persecution and many forms of extreme human deprivation. Asylum seekers desperately pay someone, anyone, the only person who offers them a chance of survival and hopefully freedom, to help them make it to a place where they and their children, the people they love most may be safe to live a long life.


Just stop Australia, really think about what it must mean to be so desperate that you are prepared to risk everything including the lives of those you love most, try to understand what leads to this mindset. Lets try and be a little more compassionate. Especially the media and politicians. Enough of fueling this fire with fear and doubt. We are better then this.

PNG is not a solution, it still involves locking up men, women and children and either sending them back to the perils from whence they came or life in PNG.

Australia’s own smart traveller website advised the following about PNG:

  • We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Papua New Guinea because of the high levels of serious crime.
  • Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
  • Large crowds and public gatherings should be avoided as they may turn violent.
  • Crime rates are high, particularly in the capital Port Moresby and in Lae, Mt Hagen and other parts of the Highland provinces.
  • Local authorities have advised of a heightened risk of armed robbery and attack at well-attended shopping centres in urban areas, including Port Moresby.
  • Since June 2011, there have been a number of violent incidents in parts of The Highlands, Oro Province, Central and Southern Bougainville, and Lae. You should exercise a high degree of caution when travelling in these areas and monitor local media reporting for information about the security situation.
  • Ethnic disputes continue to flare up around the country. Disputes can quickly escalate into violent clashes. Such clashes not only create danger within the immediate area but also promote a general atmosphere of lawlessness, with an associated increase in opportunistic crime.
  • Car-jacking is an ever-present threat, particularly in Port Moresby and Lae. Car doors should be locked with windows up at all times and caution should be taken when travelling after dark. In the evening or at night, we recommend you travel in a convoy.
  • There has been an increase in reported incidents of sexual assault, including gang rape, and foreigners have been targeted. These crimes are primarily opportunistic and occur without warning. We recommend you monitor your personal security, in both public and private surroundings, and ensure you have appropriate security measures in place.
  • Given the difficult terrain, extreme weather conditions and the condition of some remote airfields in PNG, flying in PNG carries greater safety risks than flying in Australia. On 13 October 2011, an Airlines PNG aircraft crashed near Madang, killing 28 people. Part of the Airlines PNG fleet was grounded on safety concerns but has since been cleared to fly following the implementation of additional safety measures.
  • Cholera is now considered as endemic in PNG. See the Health section for more information.
  • Wet season is from November to May. During the wet season flooding and landslides have resulted in deaths. Roads can become impassable. Check with local sources on the condition of roads and the likely impact of rain before travel.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:

Is this a humane place to send Asylum seekers?

There are pragmatic alternatives. I would challenge all Australians to read and consider the ideas contained in this link http://www.watoday.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/youve-been-misled-on-boat-people-here-are-the-facts-20130718-2q5rv.html

 

Rant Complete.

Postcards from Noongar Country

The deeply personal connection that binds indigenous artists to their country is abundantly evident in Postcards from Noongar Country, exhibiting until this Saturday at the Albany Town Hall.

The artists of Mungart Boodja Art Centre have collectively created an exhibition of art work that speaks volumes about to their personal experiences and connections with the land and wildlife of their country.

The postcards from which this exhibition derides its name, are small artworks depicting various bush lands,  sea scapes and flowers particular to the land of these indigenous artists.

Hung collectively on one surface, the postcards appear so fresh on this wall. I was overwhelmed by a sense of hope and playfulness and general love of all things outdoors while taking in this display. It was particularly interesting to observe the wonderfully rounded skies featured in several of these artworks, lending them a nurturing, all encompassing quality. This is particularly evident in artist Tjiolan’s (Donna Williams’) series of seascapes and landscapes.

At first glance, Russell Nelly’s postcards appear to be a series of water colour paintings but on closer inspection they are in fact watered down acrylics. There is a sensitivity in his approach to these rugged bush scenes that creates the impression that a very endearing underlying gentleness exists in the land.

Margaret Eades’ wildflower postcards are a delight to behold. Exuberant, youthful energy abounds in Eade’s depiction of these flowers and it is evident the absolute joy this artist must experience when investigating and  considering the flowers that are her subject.

Errol Eades’  has also painted an abundance of wildflowers catalogued as number 30 in this exhibition. Alive with vivid colour not unlike a sea of coral, the wildflowers in this painting may be quietly overseen by mountains and trees, but they clearly take centre stage in the bountiful world Eades has created for our enjoyment.

Glenda Williams’  Moments in Time is a luscious sea scape.   The sky is a living entity, that unusually reflects the land below it in a fascinating manner.  Repeatedly this captured my gaze, gently moving me from earth to sky and back again. There is a great sense of calm in this painting and while there are moments of stillness, the scene is very much a living breathing entity.

I found myself equally drawn Glenda Williams’ Silent Moments.  I would suggest any person living in contemporary Australia could relate to this visionary artwork on some level. Colour is absent in this black and white painting and a central meandering path leads the eye up through the painting’s diverse garden of moments.  Globules of ideas and buds of memories blister and bubble,  transversing the canvas. Perhaps this work is a memory, maybe a landscape or just a wandering through the myriad of ideas that occur to us all when finally we happen upon a silent moment.

Culture, Land and Ochre by Edith Penny is painted upon a long elongated upright canvas. It beautifully captures the blackening smolders of smoke that result when burning wet brush. The smoky skies are red and hot, steeped in ash. The focus is not upon the flame, but rather the products of fire. Moving from bottom to top, in three scenes this painting considers a different treatment of the fire. At its highest point men with painted skin dance around embers.

Cheryl Narkle’s Old Ways is a happy painting to behold.  Feminine in its circular gathering of dots there is a real sense that four venerated women respectfully come together around a central purpose. There are different connections between each of the four outlaying circles that corner the canvas but a determined focus on the central idea and the feeling of cooperation that takes place between the outer circles is tangible.

Kelvin Penny’s Noongar Country was a source of fascination for me. I was instantly struck by the unusual treatment of the flora and fauna in this painting. Often in Australian bush scenes the two either compete or  one is given greater emphasis then the other dependent upon the artists particular interests. However,  Noongar Country is a painting where there is little differentiation between the importance of plant and animal life. Hierarchy is absent and both are honoured equally. A beautiful synergism emerges affirming the cycles of life. Noongar Country  gave me great pause to consider that we are all part of the same ecology under one great sky, none of us more important in the greater scheme of life than anything or anyone else.  A timely reminder of the respect every living entity must have for every other living entity  in the circle of life.

In another of Penny’s offerings, Early Days captures a particular time of day. The background mountains are majestic sculptures set upon an iridescent orange sky, a luminous sky that glows with warmth in a world that is perfect and quiet and at peace. Emus drift past grass trees, across a scene alive with the sounds of morning birds and whispering gum leaves. Early Days is very self assured in its idea.  There is no invasion by the contemporary world in this painting.

There are many more artworks on display then I have mentioned in this post, including several well executed prints and some very interesting photographs of rock. I was very excited by the enormous amount of talent present amongst this group of Noongar Artists and genuinely look forward to future exhibitions by Mungart Boodja Art Centre.

Photo Credit: Mungart Boodja Arts Centre

The comments made herein only represent my personal interpretation of and personal opinions about the artwork exhibited. They should not be mistaken for an expression of artistic statement by the artists mentioned. My intention in discussing artwork within this blog is to open a broader community conversation,  beyond the  limiting discussions of what is deemed “good” and “bad”, instead focusing the conversation upon how art is seen and interpreted, representing various points of view.

After the rain

The choices we make decide what will grow in the garden of a life. At my lowest ebb I bravely chose a path that has led to my garden of Eden.

There was cause for celebration.  I had reached a place in my life where I was wholeheartedly happy on my own.

Following eighteen months of solitude, independently responsible for upbringing two wee angels not yet four years old, I’d attended the local courthouse; one of many, on the conveyor belt of divorces heard that cold July morning.

Now a girls night out. Hitting the town, toasting all that I had become, for which I was immensely proud.

Swept up in the song of a one man band, we girls danced for hours.

Curvaceous feminine moves complimenting a masculine wave of sound.  We were separated. Hot and hive- like,  the crowd happily undulated around me.

I found myself looking up. Standing in his shadow, basking in his smile.

Tall, strong and sundrenched, breathing him in,  a warm sensual current rushed from my navel, igniting sensations forgotten.

Emus entwined in a blusterous dance we fluffed our feathers,  circling, profiling at pointed angles. Shifting our feet in a grounded earthy dance, deep guttural resonance of the didge and primal rhythm of hand upon drum skin coursed through our being.

We were flirting with the spirit of the emu, connected by a power we’d no hope of understanding.  It was just before midnight in the White Star Hotel.

He beckoned, “I want to give you my business card.” ” I want to know you.”

It would risk everything.

In a fraction of a second my mind was jarringly transported to a six year anti- depressant drug haze, that mundane codependent routine, begrudgingly wading through droll endless hours of domestic burden. Only to be abandoned by the man with whom I’d exchanged vows.

Eighteen months ago I was locked in the darkest recesses of my mind. Sucked into a circular vortex of self loathing. I had pulled the the covers over my head, laid in my deserted marriage bed crying ugly tears I’d numbed for years.  My babies cast out to my parents care, someone else could pick up the pieces while I hand fed my demons.

Cowardly, I was descending into bitterness. Bereft. Becoming the cliché. In the face of such adversity, only the brave could forge a bold new life.

Of all places, that black hole birthed an epiphany. I was less alone hiding in that dim room, then I’d ever felt in that relationship. This was my lucky escape.

After 6 weeks of rocking, crying in a corner, I picked myself up off the floor and reconnected with my wildly creative spirit.  Accepting the hand I’d been dealt, determined the life changes I’d always desired, would be my reality. Together, my children and I would know real joy.

And now, a hand extended before me.

Say no. Walk away.

My feet were glued in place. My heart stilled in my throat.

I inhaled.

I took his hand. “Ok.”

5 years have passed. Still dancing like emus, we married in Broome last year.

Only the brave.

Photo Credit: Leon Mead Photography

Dance Review: Wintering

Australian choreographer Aimee Smith voyaged to the high arctic region in late 2010. In response to this experience, Smith created the dance performance Wintering, which played at the Albany Town hall on Friday evening.

Performed by two dancers upon a white tarkett  to a musical score by Craig McElhinney, Wintering examines the individuals’ emotional landscape and serves to reflect the environmental dilemma with which our contemporary world is ensconced.

A solitary hooded explorer stands in the space, sharply focused upon the hauntingly eerie, yet comforting music he creates. From the outset of this show, we are immersed in an  uncluttered arctic landscape, an audience participating in an expedition to the furthest corner of our world.

Kynan Tan’s initial triptych of video imagery and digital visuals, reveal the beauty and serenity of the Arctic and for the first third of Wintering we are immersed in this world of sound and video alone.

Tan’s imagery abstractly captures the movement of water, land and  fleeting marine life with various dynamics. Moving from exquisitely beautiful arctic mountains, still waters and ice drifts,  to exploration of the tangible qualities and movement inherent  in the Arctic’s icy depths. He demonstrates an astute ability to direct our gaze along an intended trajectory, giving power to his composition. A change in perspective and the cold grid like mapping of mining’s relentless search for resources emerges, chaos ensues as beauty disintegrates into a mass of frenetic scribbles.

In this space, the collaboration between Tan’s visual imagery and McElhinney’s performance and sounds become performance art in their own right.

Upon the conclusion of the visual imagery a single dancer arrives in the space,  she is joined by another. They gradually remove us from our arms length viewing of this landscape, plunging us feet first into the human experience of the arctic as both a geographical landscape and a way of understanding our own emotional landscape in a modern world.

These dancers are not ethereal other worldly beings but grounded humans, authentically imprinting the space with their experience, quietly translating raw emotion into movement, it is evident the message they communicate with their dance is one they wholeheartedly subscribe to. Their disheveled hair, unflattering tight thermal pants (resembling those worn by many an intrepid explorer ) and thick wooly vests serve to further our experience of the practicalities necessitated by this wild unbridled place.

At times this work is staggering in its beauty. A meditation ensues as the dancers mindfully roll through the space in unison, sometimes experiencing  joy,  during other moments urgently teetering on the edge, moving from desperation to melancholy, inevitably accepting their disposition and finally discovering hope. The phrasing and dynamics of the choreography are assured, delivering on their promised intent.

Smith’s choreography clearly put the performers through their paces. Reaching a climatic peak in a duet of desperation. Here,  appropriately awkward choreography leaves the dancers bodies bargaining with a myriad of perceived threats.  To their credit, the urgent floor bound phrases are executed effortlessly by Wintering’s skilled performers;  Rhiannon Newton and Jenni Large. Equally so,  during moments of fragility, the dancers crack and crumble while attempting to  stand strong,  stoically holding out in an effort to maintain their substance and unique character.

There is a butoh like quality to Wintering,  a meditation that draws us in to the performance, releasing us into our own mind and then returning us to the action unfolding onstage. I strayed into the recesses of my own mind at times, but just as I began to indulge a thought,  choreographic contrast would catch my attention, gently reeling me back to the dancers journey. With each new tangent transversed, another element of the human psyche was revealed . Furthermore, I couldn’t help but make an association between this performance and Kubler Ross’s five stages of grieving.

The decision to separate the video performance from the dance is to be applauded. So often collaboration between the two results in fierce competition for the audience’s attention and so much material is lost in that process. Wintering successfully negotiates this collaboration honouring both expressive forms. By the time a dancer appears on the white tarkett, we have already arrived in the arctic landscape visually and emotionally.

While this is an abstract work, both the video and choreography appear to follow a similar thematic narrative that I suspect has elevated the understanding of this dance performance for those audience members who are largely unfamiliar with interpreting abstract contemporary dance and perhaps tend to be more accepting of abstract video material, as a natural consequence of regular popularist exposure to this medium.

The power of Wintering is in  its continued resonance after the conclusion of its viewing. This work may not be uplifting, however it does not depress the human spirit.  Wintering is more reflective in its nature and is certainly an inspired creation that leaves its audience understanding at a very personal level, the tone of a journey to the unique and remote arctic wilderness.  In remembering  Wintering’s visual imagery,  musical score and choreography, I have found myself pausing to really consider the impact of climate change on our world and the flow on effect this knowledge has on the emotional well- being of the world citizen.

Wintering  was performed at the Albany Town Hall, Friday 21st June 2013.

The comments made herein only represent my personal interpretation of and personal opinions about the performance. They should not be mistaken for an expression of artistic statement by the artists mentioned. My intention in discussing art and performance within this blog is to open a broader community conversation,  beyond the  limiting discussions of what is deemed “good” and “bad”, instead focusing the conversation upon how art is seen and interpreted, representing various points of view.