Taleamor Park: residency week one

I'm currently an artist-in-residence at Taleamor Park, an ecology focused retreat for artists, writers, scientists and humanists, in the countryside of Indiana, USA. Continuing with my practice of engaging with present time and place by being attentive to how our senses engage with our surroundings; I'm responding to the seasonal transitions of autumn in this site. There is a plethora of quiet activity here, from the falling colourful leaves, the cornfields ripe and ready to harvest, chipmunks frantically foraging before winter begins, the tapping of woodpeckers, buzz of busy honeybees, deer grazing, and mushrooms springing up in the fields and woodlands. taleamorpark.org

Kath Fries, Fall - leaves on log, 2017, Taleamor Park
Kath Fries, Fall - leaves on log, 2017, Taleamor Park
Kath Fries, Fall - leaves on log, 2017, Taleamor Park
Kath Fries, Fall - leaves on log, 2017, Taleamor Park

Observing the colourful autumn leaves, reminded me of the British artist Andy Goldsworthy, particularly his ephemeral installations with leaves.  I collected an array of yellow, orange and red maple leaves, and placed them according to their tonal transitions along a fallen log. The cyclic intonations of the word 'fall' resonated through this process, from the the season of autumn, being pulled to the ground by gravity, returning to origin as nutrients are decomposing being reabsorbed by the earth for the next cycle of growth and regeneration in spring.


Taleamor Park woodlands
Taleamor Park woodlands' pond
Layered leaves and reflections
Chipmunk peekaboo
Chipmunk peekaboo
Fungi finds
Beehives at Taleamor Park
Beehives at Taleamor Park

Taleamor Park is situated on a 375 acre farm, with woodlands, ponds, organic small grains and vegetables, fallow hillsides and fields, hazelnut and chestnut trees, beehives and acres of conventionally farmed corn, soybeans and wheat. The corn is currently ready to harvest, with the corn heads so ripe and heavy they are hanging upside down pulling against their tall storks, and the long dry leaves are un-peeling and falling away. 

Corn field
Corn in the field 
Corn in the field
Taleamor Park studio with corn leaves, morning
Taleamor Park studio with corn leaves, morning light
Taleamor Park studio with corn leaves, evening
Thanks NAVA for supporting this project!

Un-made, George Paton Gallery Melbourne

[Un]made brings together six artists from the University of Sydney’s Sydney College of the Arts' Kirkbride campus, to mark the unmaking of their community and the uncertain place of the arts within Sydney’s cultural landscape. Prompted by the restructuring of Sydney College of the Arts, Bethan Cotterill, Suzy Faiz, Kath Fries, Szymon Dorabialski, James Thomson and Eila Vinwynn, explore the tension between making and unmaking through modes of materiality and temporality, drawing together physical, linguistic and theoretical elements.

[Un]made gallery view with work by Kath Fries, Elia Vinwynn and Szymon Dorabialski,
photo by 
Upasana Papadopoulos
[Un]made gallery view with work by Kath Fries, Elia Vinwynn and Szymon Dorabialski

Curated by University of Sydney Master of Art Curating students Upasana Papadopoulos and Tama Woodbury, the exhibition is supported by the University of Sydney Department of Art History, Verge Gallery (Sydney) and the George Paton Gallery - University of Melbourne Student Union.

[Un]made18 - 27 October 2017
George Paton Gallery
Level 2, Union House, 
University of Melbourne

[Un]made gallery view with work by Kath Fries and Szymon Dorabialski

  “The title of [un]made emerged from contemplation of the underlying quality which permeates the work of these six Sydney College of the Arts artists. Though counter-intuitive to refer to the product of creative practice as unmade, so effusive has the effect of the closure of SCA been that this quality is evident in each work of this exhibition. To be [un]made is to exemplify one of the multitude of connotations implied by this deceptively simple term.
   From an unmade bed, without smoothed and finished edges to an organic form, of minimal human intervention, ‘unmade’ draws varied images to mind. The common thread which draws them together is transition. [un]made implies a process which has been undertaken and it not yet complete, a parallel to the closure of the SCA. Pervading this exhibition are moments of longing, anxiety, isolation, humour and acceptance. No two artists take the same position on this monumental shift within their community and so, [un]made marks this moment in a process that continues to transpire, a juncture at which the many meanings of SCA to individual artists are
revealed to us.
   Kath Fries’ awe for that which we so often overlook provides the grounding force of [un]made. Humming beneath the physical structure of her Morph is the regard for community inherent to the collective production of beeswax. Her precipitous Reservations throbs with nervous energy, yet a sense of reprieve, even liberation, is concurrent as the resulting fallout of an unstable position becomes evident. The extensive and perpetual efforts of the colony to build, to frame, to order and reinforce their environs is shed in Divest, affirming those continual traces of community which remain present after the dust has settled upon a period of turbulence.
   … In synthesising manifold artistic responses to a monumental shift, [un]made has become an exhibition engrossed by a sense of place. As the Kirkbride campus transitions to closure, the primary campus of the University of Sydney undergoes its own social and spatial transformation in anticipation of the move. Yet the reception of [un]made by the historic George Paton Gallery has, for a moment, provided a place, a platform and a celebration for these six SCA artists.” 
- extracts from the [Un]made exhibition catalogue essay by Upasana Papadopoulos and Tama Woodbury

[Un]made exhibition invitation


Siteworks: the birds and the bees

I recently exhibited Api-centric, a series of my beeswax sculptures in Siteworks: the birds and the bees at Bundanon Trust NSW. Installed in the lounge room of the Arthur Boyd homestead, Api-centric reflected on the sensuous richness of the beehive, the home of honeybee super organism, Apis Mellifera


“The birds and the bees have captured our collective imagination for millennia so this year’s event promises to be an intriguing mix with suggestive connotations woven in. There’s a palpable sense of anticipation as the artists, scientists and community members involved unveil their personal responses to the theme and property.” Deborah Ely, Bundanon Trust CEO.
Siteworks: the birds and the bees extends across the iconic Bundanon property with inventive and interactive experiences from a range of artists, musicians and performers from midday to midnight Saturday 23 September 2017. https://bundanon.com.au/timeline/siteworks/2017/

Kath Fries, Abode, 2017, beeswax, found object and wire (on grand piano)

Kath Fries, Abode, 2017 beeswax, found object and wire (on grand piano)

Api-centric: It is often argued that our human senses have evolved in response to bees. We are attracted to the same tastes, sights and smells, but we do not share these same sensory attractions with other insects, like blowflies. The same coloured flowers and their fragrances attract both humans and bees, and many humans have a similar sweet tooth - a taste for sugar and honey. We even share a similar gestation temperature. Human body temperature is 37 degrees, and worker bees, who are all female, maintain a constant 35 degrees in the brood section of the hive around their sister baby bees, eggs and larvae. 
Kath's work with beeswax engages with the material's tactility, aroma and visual presence, as well as drawing on various beekeeping practices, reseacrh into Apis Mellifera (western honeybee) as a super organism: their communication, life in the hive and the global crisis of Colony Collapse Disorder. The cylindrical beeswax polyp forms in these sculptures are made by wrapping a piece of warm wax around the artist's fingers in a healing bandaging gesture. This echoes how bees' make their honeycomb by moulding it around each other's bodies, as the youngest worker bees secrete small scales of wax from the underside of their abdomens and beneath their wings , which are removed by their sisters to construct comb chambers. 
Kath Fries, Api-centric, 2017, room view
Kath Fries, Morph and Divest, beeswax and ash
Kath Fries, Morph, 2017, beeswax sculptures
Kath Fries, Reservations (pane), 2017 beeswax, glass, wood and sunlight
Kath Fries, Reservations (pane), 2017 beeswax, glass and wood,
view from outside

Siteworks: the birds and the bees, event invitation

Within and Without - PhD exam exhibition


Kath Fries, Within and Without, 2017, beeswax, logs, sawdust and water, dried and
growing 
oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Photo courtesy Ellen Dahl.

Kath Fries, Within and Without, 2017, beeswax, logs, sawdust and water, dried and
growing 
oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Photo courtesy Ellen Dahl.

Kath Fries, Within and Without, 2017, beeswax, logs, sawdust and water, dried and
growing 
oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Photo courtesy Ellen Dahl.

Kath Fries, Within and Without, 2017, beeswax, logs, sawdust and water, dried and
growing 
oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Photo courtesy Ellen Dahl.

Kath Fries, Within and Without, 2017, beeswax, logs, sawdust and water, dried and
growing 
oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Photo courtesy Ellen Dahl.

Kath Fries, Within and Without, 2017, beeswax, logs, sawdust and water, dried and
growing 
oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Photo courtesy Ellen Dahl.

Kath Fries, Within and Without, 2017, beeswax, logs, sawdust and water, dried and
growing 
oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Photo courtesy Ellen Dahl.

Kath Fries, Within and Without, 2017, beeswax, logs, sawdust and water, dried and
growing 
oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Photo courtesy Ellen Dahl.

Kath Fries, Within and Without, 2017, beeswax, logs, sawdust and water, dried and
growing 
oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Photo courtesy Ellen Dahl.

Kath Fries, Within and Without, 2017, beeswax, logs, sawdust and water, dried and
growing 
oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Photo courtesy Ellen Dahl.

Kath Fries, Within and Without, 2017, beeswax, logs, sawdust and water, dried and
growing 
oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Photo courtesy Ellen Dahl.

Kath Fries, Within and Without, 2017, beeswax, logs, sawdust and water, dried and
growing 
oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Photo courtesy Ellen Dahl.

Kath Fries, Within and Without, 2017, beeswax, logs, sawdust and water, dried and
growing 
oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Photo courtesy Ellen Dahl.

PhD exam exhibition - 21 September 2017

Please join me celebrating the completion of my PhD at Sydney College of the Arts Galleries on Thursday 21 September 6-8pm. 

I'll be exhibiting Within and Without an installation of beeswax and log sculptures with growing and dried oyster mushrooms. This work invites embodied encounters with these materials conjuring the enchanted nuances within the interconnections of fungi, insects, forests and people; in a multi-sensory encounter of tactility, aroma, decay and growth. Link. “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald). 


Kath Fries PhD practice led research 
Touching Impermanence: experiential embodied engagements with materiality in contemporary art practice 


Abstract: Touching impermanence describes the experiential moment in an art encounter when one senses the enchanted reality of one’s interconnections within the sentient matter-flow of existence. All matter in existence is constantly vibrating, changing, assembling and evolving into forms and organisms, cycling through decay and disintegration, then reforming again with diversity and difference; this is the impermanence of sentient matter-flow. Humans are just one form of these reciprocal assemblages; we are within and part of sentient matter-flow. We also co-create with sentient matter-flow, changing these cycles on micro and macro levels, just as they change us. On a macro level human actions have impacted and changed the Earth’s biosphere, altering and polluting sentient matter-flows to the extent that our present time period is becoming known as the Anthropocene, the human age of destruction and disconnection. There are many efforts to readdress our anthropocentric feelings of apathetic disconnection from the Earth; one is found in the arts and correlates with my practice-led research. 
Touching impermanence is a doctoral study of sensate experiences of materiality and haptic thinking, which provide both maker and audience with direct palpable experience of time, forms a specific understanding of touching impermanence. My art processes involve working with tactile materials such as beeswax; tree branches, stumps and bark; paper; ash; rocks; ice; snow; charcoal; light and fungi. Engaging with these materials co-creatively involves a methodology of touch, multisensorily following materialities’ sentient matter-flow. Acting with the material, I am present to the material’s own sense of time, interactions, agency, histories, layers of interbeing and interconnections with surrounding matter. This requires being open to the mysteriousness of materials, inviting moments of enchantment within art encounters and the realisation of touching impermanence. Touching impermanence investigates my studio practice and works produced, alongside related practices of Australian and international artists, by drawing on New Materialism discourses and Buddhist philosophy to address aspects of phenomenology and eco-philosophy in the complexities of these art practices and artwork encounters.

Thing in itself - group exhibition

Next week I'm going to be exhibiting the first stage of my PhD exam work, Within and Without - beeswax sculptures with growing oyster mushrooms, in the group exhibition Thing in itself, at Wellington St Projects, Chippendale. 

Thing in itself, exhibition invitation

thing in itself
Opening: 30 August, 6 - 8pm, RSVP
Exhibition: 31 August - 10 September
Gallery hours: 11am - 5pm, Friday to Sunday
Wellington St Projects: Studio 8, 19-23 Wellington St Chippendale NSW
Artists: Ara Dolatian, Kath Fries, Hannah Rose, Carroll Harris, Zhu Ohmu and Kai Wasikowski
Curator: Elyse Goldfinch





2017 David Harold Tribe Sculpture Award Finalists


2017 DAVID HAROLD TRIBE SCULPTURE AWARD EXHIBITION

10 August - 9 September 2017

Opening and winner announcement: Wednesday 9 August, 6-8pm


The David Harold Tribe Sculpture Award aims to promote interest in and encourage the creation of sculpture in Australia by providing a financial incentive to sculptors so they can continue their creative output and improve their skills. The recipient of the $12,000 Award will be decided by a panel comprising Professor Margaret Harris (chair), Hany Armanious, Associate Professor Jennifer Barrett, and Julie Ewington.

Finalists: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Ciaran Begley, Vicky Browne, Consuelo Cavaniglia, Stevie Fieldsend, Kath Fries, David Haines & Joyce Hinterding, Daniel Hollier, Anna John, Anna McMahon, Kirsten Perry, Niall Robb, Susanna Strati, Salote Tawale, Ben Terakes, Yeliz Yorulmaz.


SCA Galleries, Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney, Kirkbride Way, off Park Drive, Lilyfield, NSW. sydney.edu.au/sca/galleries 

Kath Fries, Reservations, 2017, beeswax, glass and wood, 123x124x180cm