Branch Window Gallery - 'Decant' installation

Kath Fries, Decant, 2014, ceramic, ink and video projection, detail view

My Decant project is currently installed in Branch Window Gallery, and can be viewed from the footpath at 26 Ross Street Forest Lodge, everyday 9am-8pm, until 3 January 2015.

Kath Fries, Decant, 2014, ceramic, ink and video projection, 40 x 80 x 170 cm

Decant is an installation of broken and semi-disolved ceramic fragments, stacked like a pile of rubble or sediment falling and settling to the bottom of a container of liquid. Video footage of a slow flowing creek's tranquil reflections is projected in one of the objects, conjuring the presence of nature, erosion and cycles of disintegration and renewal. To decant is to pour the liquid out of a container and leave the sediment behind. In this project I've worked with the process and metaphor of decanting to explore how the passage of time and containment of memories can be poetically reflected in the residue and trace of pouring water.

Kath Fries, Decant, 2014, ceramic, ink and video projection, 40 x 80 x 170 cm, 
photograph by Sarah Nolan, Branch Window Gallery

This project began last year, in response to two ceramic objects from the Fairfield Museum collection, which were found on the banks of nearby Prospect Creek in 1985, where they had been buried since the turn of the century. The ewers are thought to have been swept downstream during a flood, from a home of a Chinese market gardener, who lived and worked on the rich alluvial soil of the creek. Holding soy sauce and rice wine, these objects would have been cherished vessels, handled and used daily, a nostalgic and important reminder of home. Very little information was officially recorded about Fairfield's Chinese market gardeners, due to prevalent racist attitudes and the White Australia Policy at that time. The ewers are the only tangible record that Fairfield Museum has to signify the importance of these people in the history of the local community. However, today Fairfield municipal council proudly boasts having the most diverse multicultural population in all of Australia.

Kath Fries, Decant, 2014, ceramic and ink, detail view

In Decant, the ewers have been interpreted as containers of memory, imbued with stories that were not officially recorded, but which can still be sensed when holding the vessels. There is a strong embodied nostalgia, a felt tactile interconnection across time and place, evident in these plain everyday utilitarian objects. This sentiment resonated through my process of casting and recreating the ewers into a series of replicas, which were intentionally kept fragile and unfired, then dissected, semi-dissolved and broken as if to reveal the narratives held within. One segment shows video footage of the slow flowing, tranquil reflections of Prospect Creek. This small flickering light conjures the creek as part of an ancient watercourse that is constantly changing, drawing the viewer into a state of quiet contemplation about the primal importance of water, as both nurturing and destructive, throughout the world. 

Kath Fries, Decant, 2014, ceramic, ink and video projection, detail view, 
photograph by Sarah Nolan, Branch Window Gallery

For more information about this project please see www.kathfries/Decant-2014 and my studio process

Decant is on view at Branch Window Gallery
26 Ross Street, Forest Lodge NSW 2037
9am - 8pm everyday 7 Dec 2014 - 3 Jan 2015

Branch Window Gallery invitation