For my solo exhibition, Fire and Rain, I developed works on paper and canvas that explored the material possibilities of these elements and their capacity to shape the natural environment. Throughout history humans have endeavoured to harness both water and fire for their own comfort, safety and food production. Rain (including drought and flood) and fire events are becoming more frequent and severe due to human-induced climate change. Raging bushfires, flooding and perfect storms are a reminder that these natural phenomena are largely elusive to human command.
Ash, burns, rain, ink, salt and eucalyptus dyes are the mediums I have used to explore the material nature of fire and rain. The Rain Drawing series records the unique patterning of different rainfall events. They are subtle impressions of a time and place as they record the patterning of rainfall events through the combination of ink and rainwater. As the rain fell it pushed the ink around the paper mapping its speed, density, drop size, trajectory and heaviness. This has resulted in a series of drawings that seemingly capture the weather conditions, such as the clouds and lightening, at the time they were created.
The Fire Drawings combine marks made from the ash of eucalyptus destroyed by fire with patiently delivered burns that penetrate the picture surface. The ash represents the aspect of fire that is uncontrollable which reduces everything in its path, and the burns suggest the aspect of fire which can be contained. Images are created as the paper is destroyed, revealing the tension between fire’s destructive capacity and its potential for creating the conditions for renewal.
The remaining works examine these elements in and out of balance. In equilibrium, fire and rain create the conditions for regeneration. To indicate this I have stitched patterns of renewal in works where rain and fire are balanced. Other works such as Weeping explore the consequences and grief of ongoing severe weather events and land degradation as we live though the effects of climate change. Holding Hope 1 and 2 were made as I thought about my son Josh. He along with many climate campaigners, artists, scientists and others works tirelessly towards ensuring a better future than the one we potentially face.