- Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1995
A dysfunctional marine environment. Rotting pylons or sharpened stakes emerging from the water in a tangle of fishing tackle, netting and disintegrating floats. A colourful jetsam of rubbish arranged like a mosaic, an ersatz map of the world.
Flouro blue water like a backyard swimming pool at night, a sickly attempt to mask a poisoned environment. In the water blue-green algae and other marine micro-organisms compete for dominance. A colourful, carefully selected jetsam of coke cans, wrappers, sea scoured foam etc as well as organic detritus, shells, seaweed etc litter the suface leaving the middle of the pool relatively empty except for a bundle of sodden clothes and lumps of grease or fat and hair vaguely reminiscent of a human form. Around the outside of the tank is a thin fuzz of worn buffalo grass radiating short tendrils onto the floor.
This work developed ideas from the first “Machine in the Garden”. The remnants of a drowned human form rather than an imposed architectural structure speaks of the death of “nature” within human consciousness as well as in the external environment.
The artificial and organic ‘rubbish’ choking the surface of the tank begs the question; is not an aluminium can or rounded fragment of styrofoam as “natural” as a cuttlebone or piece of driftwood? To put the question more broadly, is humanity and its structures within or outside of nature? I am also investigating the threshold between the beautiful and the repulsive. This recreated marine environment had elements of both.