Hawkesbury Regional Gallery - Exploring BigCi

Kath Fries, Permeate (work in progress), 2015, beeswax and sandstone

Over the past five weeks I've been visiting Bilpin and working in the BigCi Art Shed, developing an installation for Hawkesbury Regional Gallery. This project is part of my research into embodied engagements with materiality and their capacity to be synonymous with present time experience. Working in a site-responsive manner, seeking to connect with place and ideas of nature through the entanglement of our senses with our surroundings, I explored the landscape and water catchments of the Bilpin area, and was particularly intrigued to learn about the local hanging swamps.

Kath Fries, Permeate (work in progress), 2015, beeswax and sandstone

Permeate, my installation for Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, is created from beeswax and shards of sandstone collected around the BigCi property, and inspired by the poetically named ‘hanging swamps’ found in the steep rocky escarpments of the Bilpin area. Hanging Swamps are unique geological ecosystems, formed over long periods of time as the thick porous sandstone cliffs absorb large amounts of rainwater, like giant sponges. This water builds up against the thinner impermeable strata layers of claystone and ironstone, shunting it sideways along the resistant stratums. The groundwater then trickles out continuously, providing constant moisture and forming swamp conditions with damp peat-rich soil, which nurtures and sustains the surrounding vegetation on the seemingly inhospitable steep rocky escarpments. The beeswax in this installation echoes the precipitation, permeation and seeping water movement in the hanging swamps. It also refers to another layer of the ecosystem’s interconnections, that of bees and other insects pollinating the trees and plants of the area. So the beeswax conjures a metaphorical suggestion of our disparaging human attitudes towards insects despite their vital role in sustaining life.

Exploring BigCi - exhibition invitation

Permeate will be exhibited at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery in Exploring BigCi, a survey exhibition of international and Australian artists' work created at the Bilpin international ground for Creative initiatives residency.

Artists: Hyewon Hye Shim (Korea), Kath Fries (Sydney), Nandita Mukand (Singapore), Claudia Luke (Germany), Nicola Moss (Queensland), Chris Dolman & Paul Williams (Sydney), Crisia and Andrei Miroiu (Romania) and Rachel Peachy & Paul Mosig (Katoomba).

Opening event: 6-8pm Friday 19 June
exhibition continues to 2 August 2015

Discussion panel: 1-2pm Saturday 20 June 
with artists Kath Fries, Chris Dolman and Paul Williams; and Rae Bolton (BigCi coordinator) and Diana Robson (exhibition curator)

Hawkesbury Regional Gallery
Deerubbin Centre (1st Floor), 300 George St, Windsor NSW 2756
Open: Mon, Wed, Thur & Fri 10am-4pm, Sat-Sun 10am-3pm