Submitted Review

‘This land after – this land before’

  • Euroa Butter Factory • Euroa

  • 03 December—04 December 2020

  • Marielle Soni • Published 04 December 2020

An exhibition of like-minded artists Angus Cameron, Talitha Kennedy and Winsome Jobling is open to view for one weekend at the 19th century building the Euroa Butter Factory in Euroa, Victoria.

Walking through giant gums, screeching cockatoos, grumbling galahs and suspicious magpies. The crunch of brittle leaves and twigs, dry earth, a determined creek. The colours and textures of nature offer the perfect entré to This land after – this land before.

Of the three artists Jobling is the most familiar with her 2016 survey at MAGNT, featuring in the 2018 Ballarat Biennale of Australian Art plus her decades-long practice experimenting and mastering paper-making with a particular simpatico for native flora, which has garnered international admiration. On the raw red brick wall, with vast ceilings and golden afternoon sun, her pulpy, organic, tactile, scrolls and silhouette forms of handmade paper have a sacred quality. Close attention sights delicate linework, tonal colours, peeling fibrous skins, stains, spots, bleeding – delightfully curious effects. I see trees, a tree of life, fronds reaching out – a network of organisms. The ‘Chatter’ of trees as the artist shows us – trees communicate.

‘I see trees, a tree of life, fronds reaching out – a network of organisms.’

The industrial details of the factory pair well with Kennedy’s ‘Twig Trees’ which sit atop permanent cement plinths – limbs of the building. Small 3-d soft sculptures made of stitched leather. There is some autonomy to the medium itself as its springs independently to form branches in unexpected ways. Small trees, to fit into one’s hand. To feel a tree. To make a life form from the dead. Clearer in ‘Tricks to make earth into flesh 17’ as the ‘tree’ wraps its trunk (body?) around the red brick, just as nature would reclaim the butter factory itself if left to its own devices.

Cameron, curator, gallerist and artist returning to his practice. An experimental one, but one in tune to his life in nature on Taungurung lands. Printmaking techniques abound in his unique state works on paper that spread in dialogue across floating display ‘walls’. I see surfaces, colours, forms and sense the crunch, all that I experienced within the landscape to get here. And all that I will see as I exit back out into it. This relationship of human structure and mother nature is in the work and in the exhibition space and beyond. Thought provoking serendipity.