Choice Mate, beeswax, pigments, found objects, gold leaf, fools gold, an ounce of gold, 2015 – 2017
An iterative artwork exploring the participatory aspects of objects, incorporating the viewer as participant to activate the artwork.
A memorial to human/landscape interaction, utilising notions of impermanence, disintegration and archive to challenge assumptions of cultural and material value, inspired by time spent at an historic gold mining town. The work explores fleeting moments of connection. Visitors who ‘mine’ the work leave their details to participate further. They’re contacted for an image of the souvenired object in its new location. A book is produced, forming a portrait of the small social network created with each installation, as it slowly disintegrates. This is added to a growing archive on a shelf originally consisting of only blank books, the social portrait feeding back into the artwork. These books become archive/ memorial to human interaction of the original artificial landscape. Ultimately all that’s left of the installation will be the archive.
An installation covering the gallery floor with thousands of small objects. They look like rocks. Almost. But not quite.
Inspired by a month-long residency in Hill End ,NSW, this miniature landscape is made from ‘wax effigies’ of real rocks: discarded remnants of the town’s gold mining past. This phrase evokes the melancholic tang of loss. As well it should, for Choice Mate is a kind of memorial. And like all good memorials it serves as a trigger of contemplation as well as commemoration.
Made primarily from beeswax, the ‘rocks’ are coloured with both earthy ochres and artificial pigments. There is something just a little unsettling about the colour; something not quite right. I don’t want my objects to be mistaken for the real thing. The deliberately heightened colours point to the fact that my landscape is human-made. This microcosm is an invitation to consider the impact our interventions have on the larger environment.
While at Hill End, I walked a lot. I became aware of how every inch of soil beneath me had been turned over by human hands; crushed and eroded in search of treasure. I discovered that what appeared to be ‘natural’ was actually the result of choices made: the decision to delve into the earth in search of gold, the choice to destroy one thing of beauty in exchange for the chance of finding another.
Choice Mate offers visitors this same conundrum. Each of the rocks may (or may not) contain some genuine gold. Visitors may decide to ‘mine’ the work, stake a claim and take a piece home. In doing this they will leave an indelible mark on this carefully constructed landscape, destroying its original form. Or not. They may instead decide to leave the landscape intact. In this way, Choice Mate is a gentle reminder that all of our choices, no matter how small, have repercussions. choice mate – roomsheet.
‘BOOKS ON THE SHELF’ Now available for sale online.
Site 1 – Airspace Projects, Marrickville, NSW
Site 2 – SCA, Rozelle, NSW
Site 3 – Depot II gallery, Waterloo, NSW
Site 4 – The Incinerator Gallery, VIC
Choice Mate – Site 2, Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney University, November 2016.
Choice Mate – Site 1
Airspace Projects , 10 Junction St, Marrickvile, July 2015