OBSERVE, RESPOND, REFLECT
1 April - 26 April
Opening Drinks with the artist, Wednesday 2nd April from 6pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, 12 April from 11am
This exhibition traces the creative path taken over a period of two months at Sydney Olympic Park in 2013 by Margaret Vickers. The title indicates the process that occurred over this timespan. What marks emerged were initially derived from the landscape drawing on what was observed, what research was done and the chequered history this area has witnessed. Swinging from representational to conceptual art and back again the path was one of discovery, experimentation and abstraction. It was fun! To perceive the landscape as a matrix surface where nature and man has etched their respective marks combined to the matrix of the mind where memories and subliminal influences surface allowed multi faceted perspectives to enter the resulting artwork. Ideas were captured, linked and taken through the printmaking press often with surprising outcomes.
Observe, reflect and respond describes the process behind this body of work executed in a printmaking residency undertaken at Sydney Olympic Park in May and October in 2013. Often, but not always landscape takes centre stage in my mark making. Margaret Olley once stated that it was important for an artist to “settle” into an area first before attempting to capture it in art. Several visits were made to Sydney Olympic Park prior to undertaking any serious printmaking just to get a feel for the area. Walking allowed sights, sounds and smells to be absorbed. Sketches were done, research into the history of this site was carried out and photographs were taken to capture the numerous moods present in this landscape as winter loomed.Reflecting upon my observations preferred a variety of responses some more immediate than others. The mangrove habitat is a strong aspect of the Bicentennial Park area covering more than 70 hectares of the site. The interesting shapes of the aerial roots in this ecosystem have always hooked my eye. Their abstract image, dark colour and importance environmentally as a breeding ground for so many species of fauna have afforded a wonderfully rich source of artistic inspiration as has the two hundred year history of white Man’s varied impacts on the site. The wetlands have witnessed so many destructive influences over time from early clearing for agriculture to being a chemical and household garbage dump through the mid twentieth century. Growing environmental awareness during the 1970’s and the staging of the Olympics in Sydney in 2000 has seen a reversal of attitude to the earlier adverse influences.Exploring many mangrove habitats bordering the waterways of Sydney harbour uncovered an important “presence” that was common to each and every one – middens are ubiquitous. They provide an ongoing important record of indigenous occupation that occurred for thousands of years prior to European occupation. The traditional owners nurtured rather than exploited the environment. It was an interesting challenge to try and harness this indigenous presence in art but it was another source of inspiration.A brief mention needs to be made of subliminal influences. Ideas emerged that had interesting links to the present and the past and influenced colour and composition. For example unplanned connections emerged between and amongst music, children’s playgrounds, memories and pertinent aspects of the landscape. It was fascinating to see what ideas were linked and what marks these produced.Enjoy observing the work. May it be a catalyst for reflection. Feel free to share your response with me.