Carriageworks 'No Show' 12 Feb - 7 Mar 2021

I’m thrilled to be exhibiting some of my fungi sculptures with PARI in 'No Show' at Carriageworks.

12 February to 7 March 2021
Wednesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm
Carriageworks: 245 Wilson Street Eveleigh NSW

Carriageworks has invited eleven artist-led initiatives from across New South Wales for No Show. Including artist-run spaces, studios, cooperatives, digital platforms and online publications, each group presents an independent program that profiles early career and under-represented artists. 

ANKLES Ella Sutherland

Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operativeRubyrose Bancroft, Chenaya Bancroft-Davis, Jamie Eastwood, Jenny Fraser and Maddison Gibbs

Firstdraft Tom Blake, Amy Claire Mills, Jazz Money, Athena Thebus and Leo Tsao


Our Neon Foe Priscilla Bourne, Kate Brown, Mark Brown, Chris Burton, Simon Lawrence and Nicola Morton  

Pari Richmond Kobla Dido (Kobla Photography), Leila El Rayes, Kath Fries, Mehmet Mevlütoğlu and Feras Shaheen

Prototype Tiyan Baker, Phoebe Chen, Hannah Brontë, Amelia Hine, Robert Nugent, Sam Smith and Jodie Whalen

Running Dog Sarinah Masukor, Naomi Riddle, June Tang, Anne-Marie Te Whiu and Chloe Watfern

Runway Journal Aisyah Aaqil Sumito, Nathan BeardElham Eshraghian-HaakanssonJD Reforma and Diego Ramirez

Studio A Mathew Calandra, Jaycee Kim and Skye Saxon

WAYOUT Artspace Gus Armstrong, Leo Cremonese, Flavia Dujour, Karen Golland, Michael Petchkovsky, Georgina Pollard, Dr Greg Pritchard, Julie Williams and Alex Wisser

Expanding mushroom metaphors ...

Isobel Parker Philip expands mushroom mycelium metaphors in relation to Covid experiences of connection and disconnection, in her essay "Foraging along forking paths".


Fungi are 'inherently collaborative creatures' and 'world builders' ... They transform the environments in which they live. 

It’s a rather generous form of habitation ... The thread-like filaments of a fungus’ root system, the hyphae, spread through the soil. It’s an infrastructure that carries both nutrients and information, sometimes helping an ecosystem respond to threats and filter out pollutants. This infrastructure behaves like an underground city. 

Or the internet.

There’s something here. 

Something in the relationship between the fungal networks that propagate and transform the natural world and the virtual networks we’re tethered to.

... We often think of mushrooms as independent organisms. They are found intact, as distinct ‘fruits’, when foraged. But beneath the surface, they’re enmeshed; their mycelium (their roots) spread far and wide. They spawn other specimens and create a dense web. Sitting all alone in front of our screens, aren’t we also individual organisms bound by invisible filaments? Aren’t we entangled in our own web? Metaphorical mushrooms, mainlining memes.

 ... This feels fungal. It’s a form of world-building. I spread myself across otherwise insurmountable physical distances by interacting with others. This is a collaborative ecology. The networked encounters we experience on the internet can be a form of sustenance. They are transformative; they sustain and shape us. We’re back to foraging, figuratively. Remember, it is the interaction between fungi and its ecosystem that determines what grows there (and how). The fungi changes the landscape and determines what survives there. So does the internet.

To think of social media as sustenance is not to say it’s good for you. Remember, not all mushrooms are okay to eat. We have to carefully identify the species – calculate the risk – before we consume it. Perhaps we should pay heed and follow the same due diligence when foraging for facts on the web? 


Extracts from Isobel Parker Philip, "Foraging along forking paths",

Companions - PARI group exhibition

18 July - 30 August
PARI: Cnr Hunter St and O'Connell St, Parramatta, NSW 2150
Opening: Saturday 19 July 2-4pm RSVP 
Artists: Reanne Chidiac, Kath Fries, Chevron Hassett, Miska Mandic, Audrey Newton and Dianne Turner
Curators: Rebecca Gallo, Talitha Hanna and Akil Ahamat

In Companions, materials are active partners in each practice, and the subsequent works are collaborations: the result of a push and pull between human and non-human companions. 
I'll be exhibiting some of my Respire wall sculptures, with air-dried oyster mushrooms and beeswax in glass terrariums. 

Kath Fries, Respire, 2018-2019,  air-dried oyster mushrooms and beeswax in glass terrariums

Respire is an attentive meditation on breathing that reaches beyond our skin's porous boundaries. Fungi - just like humans - breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, the opposite to plants. Breathing is unavoidably an interconnected ongoing activity: we are always breathing the same air as our surroundings. 

Introversion group exhibition

Introversion is a group exhibition by Isobel Markus Dunworth, Kath Fries, Prudence Holloway, Fiona Kemp, Kenneth Lambert and Jacqui Mills, which reflects on processes of folding inwards during the COVID-19 crisis. Their videos, sculptures, paintings and installations, each trace energy flows within interior worlds and engage with introverted patterns of psychological orientation. Turning one’s attention inwards has been almost unavoidable for many people during COVID-19 enforced social distancing; for some this self-isolation has been regenerative, but for others the compulsory alone-time has been challenging. 

The artists in this exhibition would usually value alone-time and seek it out on residencies or in studios, insulated away from the world. For them the COVID-19 crisis period of isolation wasn’t necessarily positive or productive in that way, but it did open up some space for reflection and introspection.


Prior to the COVID-19 crisis these artists were all connected by their participation in the ‘Silence Awareness Existence’ residencies at Arteles Finland, 2012-2019. Drawn to the isolated, quiet and introverted elements of Finnish culture, winter countryside and the secluded nature of the residency; they were inspired to focus on and develop their individual introspective creative processes. 


From these common threads of contemplation and quiet attentiveness, new conversations have grown whilst grappling with recent imposed isolation at home. These creative connections now come together opening up space for sharing with others recent experiences of folding inwards during the COVID-19 crisis.


Introversion is a collective response to the artists’ exploration of self, home, imagination and mindscape; letting go of the outside world, the city rat-race and extraverted social interactions. Through their shared exploration of alone-time, each reflects on their unique challenges of enforced social isolation and its impact on the inner-psyche. Introversion shares their experiences of creative indoor plant cultivation, working patiently with layered textures and natural materials, mesmerising metallic painting processes, videos conjuring the elemental and notions of memory, and the meditative process of kneading and baking bread.

Introversion, 3 – 19 July 2020

Artists: Kath Fries, Prudence Holloway, Fiona Kemp, Kenneth Lambert, Isobel Markus-Dunworth and Jacqui Mills

Breaking Bread opening event: Saturday 4 July 2 - 4pm

Artists Talks and closing drinks: Sunday 19 July 2 - 4pm 


Articulate project space

497 Parramatta Road, Leichhardt NSW 2040

open Friday to Sunday 11am - 5pm 

work in progress for ‘Whisperings'

For Introversion, I will be installing a new work titled Whisperings, which began with gathering fallen pieces of paperbark from a line of trees, (Melaleuca quinquenervia) across the road from my home. The trunks of these trees have always fascinated me with their thick undulating layers of soft bark, which seem to emanate comfort and mellow presence. Perhaps the local history of the Gadigal Wangal people, cradling their babies in paperbark coolamons, also feeds into my notion of these trees as nurturing guardians and conduits of dreams. 

Tentatively striping back the paperbark stratums of colour and texture, pulling away delicate thin sheets, like peeling skin; this process of exploring the paperbark layers becomes meditative. Slipping into analysing my inner-scapes of compounded habits, expectations, experiences and anxieties; self-reflection expanding and contracting with the variations of the stratums. Handling these delicate layers of paperbark, the trees’ stories quietly whispered to me. Imprinted with material memories of traffic fumes, human constructions, rain, drought, summer heat, winter chills, burrowing insects, chirping birds; subtly hinting at ancient arboreal wisdoms of place, reaching root systems far underground despite tarmac roads compressed by heavy trucks and constant car traffic; and stretching branches into the sky towards sunlight. 

Whisperings of a dreamlike threshold where exterior meets interior, conjuring a porous boundary of contemplation and the reality of interconnectedness. 

Participatory Hive Drawing session

On Friday 3rd July, 3pm, I'll be in the gallery talking about my Hive Drawing and inviting people to work on it with me. 
All welcome!

Occupied Exhibition
Blue Mountains Cultural Centre
30 Parke St Katoomba NSW 2780

You can read the Occupied exhibition catalogue here

Occupied - group exhibition BMCC

As Covid19 lockdowns ease in Sydney, the galleries begin to reopen and we’re allowed to travel more freely; I'm delighted to have my participatory work Hive Drawing included in the group exhibition 'Occupied', at Blue Mountains Cultural Centre. This exhibition of expanded drawing forms a timely reflection on how we engage with – and feel about – the built environments that we occupy on a daily basis.

I started Hive Drawing last year, under very different circumstances pre-Covid19, as part of a 'Super Organism' project with Penelope Cain and Barbara Doran. Then and now, visitors are invited to contribute to the circular patterning, like honeybees building a layer of honeycomb together in the hive. Honeybees are social insects and they live interdependently with each other, this process of working collaboratively is reflected in Hive Drawing – building on the hand-traced circles of your neighbour – and opens up ways of considering how we live together with each other and other beings. 

"... Hive Drawing is a participatory collective drawing reflecting community connections. Each participant is asked to place their hand on the drawing next to an existing circle and draw around it with a beeswax crayon, then dust the circle with turmeric. The result is a collection of golden circles – just touching – collectively creating a drawn expanse of honeycomb. Since social distancing this work takes on new meaning – physical connection is risky and yet incredibly desirable, with a constant balance of risk and judgement ..." - Rilka Oakley, extract from 'Occupied' exhibition essay

Coming out of Covid19 isolation, Hive Drawing invites us to consider how our built environments are social spaces, even the places we consider ‘private’ exist because other people helped build them and lived here before us. What does it mean now to be social and an active member of society? We are at a pivotal point in social history; locally and globally calls for social justice and equality ring out, we need to visualise a better future and find more creative and diverse ways of understanding what this means.  

“… We are individuals first, yes, just as bees are, but we exist in a larger social body. Society is not only real; it’s fundamental. We can’t live without it. And now we’re beginning to understand that this ‘we’ includes many other creatures and societies in our biosphere and even in ourselves … although we are practicing social distancing as we need to, we want to be social—we not only want to be social, we’ve got to be social, if we are to survive. It’s a new feeling, this alienation and solidarity at once. It’s the reality of the social; it’s seeing the tangible existence of a society of strangers, all of whom depend on one another to survive ... ” - Kim Stanley Robinson

‘Occupied’ is curated by Rilka Oakley and features work by Susanna Castleden, Clare Delaney, Kath Fries, Karen Golland, Jody Graham, Virginia Hilyard & Sue Pedley, Catherine O’Donnell, Mollie Rice, Margaret Roberts, Wendy Tsai and Rebecca Waterstone. Through the medium of expanded drawing, ‘Occupied’ examines the artists’ and the viewers’ experience of physical space – the architecture that surrounds us, street scapes, interior and exterior spaces we inhabit and the intersection between the built and natural environment. Scale, texture, tone and different methods of mark making are the primary focus. Making marks is an essential process to many artists and this exhibition explores the raw, tangible nature of drawing.

2 June - 5 July 2020
Blue Mountains City Art Gallery - Blue Mountains Cultural Centre 
30 Parke St, Katoomba NSW
Darug and Gundungurra Country

Please note that due to social distancing restrictions there will not be an opening event for the exhibition or artist talks. 

Kath Fries, Hive Drawing, 2019-2020, (detail view), beeswax crayons and turmeric on found paper

Kath Fries, Hive Drawing, 2019-2020, beeswax crayons and turmeric on found paper

Kath Fries, turmeric glass vials for Hive Drawing participants 

Occupied exhibition gallery view. Left: Kath Fries Hive Drawing, Right: Clare Delaney Tree

DemoKinisi - STACKS Projects

Thanks to Joanne Makas and STACKS Projects for including my work, Breathing: forest sky snow in ​the DemoKinisi program.

Kath Fries, Breathing: forest sky snow, 2015,
still from silent single channel video, 4:13 loop,

Breathing: forest sky snow, was created during a winter residency at Arteles in Finland. During my first week there while walking in the forest, I often paused to look up into the tops of the trees moving gently in the wind and tried to capture the strange mesmerising quality of those stark silhouettes’ gentle sway. A few nights later, I projected that video footage through my studio window, onto the snow-covered hillslope outside. Breathing: forest sky snow, draws me back into a quiet meditative sensibility, conjuring a cyclic sense of breathing with the Earth.
Breathing: forest sky snow, is currently being shown as part of DemoKinisi in the front window at STACKS Projects, ​191 Victoria St, Potts Point, from 22 – 28 April 2020, it can also be viewed online

Thanks to The Ian Potter Cultural Trust Professional Development Grant, NAVA NSW Artists' Grant and Sydney College of the Arts' Postgraduate Research Support Scheme, which enabled my participation in the 2015 Silence Awareness Existence residency at Arteles Creative Centre Finland, where this work was made.

DemoKinisi at STACKS Projects
As a global collective we are witnessing events that will alter our current approach to living. Questions around the importance of a physical space will become more prevalent as we merge more into the virtual world of viewing and consuming art.
DemoKinisi is a response to the unexpected environment we are living in, derivative from two Greek words that translates to people in motion. It is a project with the intent on keeping the physical space of the gallery alive and uncontaminated.
DemoKinisi consists of ongoing artwork projections which can only be viewed from the exterior of the gallery space or online.
DemoKinisi is presented as a gesture of witnessing.
During the twelve-week DemoKinisi program the artists involved will have the opportunity to present work that explore issues around ​co-existence, daily life, the unknown and perceived reality. The questions that remain to be answered are; how will the anticipated changes in social patterns affect the white cube, and how will we feel when we are allowed back into the gallery space. 
Curated by Joanne Makas. #peopleinmotion #artinmotion

HIDDEN Rookwood Sculptures - call for proposals

I'm delighted to be curating HIDDEN Rookwood Sculptures again this year! The exhibition will take place in the oldest section of Rookwood Cemetery from 19 September to 18 October 2020.  

HIDDEN Rookwood Sculptures 2020 is calling for proposals across the Sculpture, Film and Student sections.

Entry is free. All finalists will receive honorariums and be considered for a number of awards. 

HIDDEN is looking for works that respond to the cemetery and engage with the themes of history, culture, diversity, remembrance, love, mourning, spirituality, cycles of life and the passage of time. 

Proposals are open to emerging, mid-career, established artists, students, groups and collaborations for new or existing works; ranging from celebratory, big, bright and colourful through to contemplative, personal, intimate and thought provoking.

Entries close 6 April 2020

Permutations - back window installation

Permutations plays with narratives of interconnection across the transient zone of the Bearded Tit’s back windowpanes. The threads and felt fibres unfurl around tiny mushrooms and beeswax nodules on the clear glass, alluding to the permeability of inside-outside and shifting correlations between binaries and perspectives. A ‘permutation’ is one of several possible ways in which things can relate or be understood in relation to each other. Then in multiple, these possibilities are open-ended, unpredictable and co-evolving. Patterns, rhythms and connections develop and conjure relationships that merge and entangle.

A selection of my Respire sculptures can be found in the Bearded Tit's curiosity cabinet. The mushrooms in Respire are dried and dead, displayed like scientific specimens in glass lungs. But when growing, fungi - just like humans - breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, the opposite to plants. All living systems breathe. Breathing is unavoidably an interconnected ongoing activity; we are always breathing the same air as our surroundings. Each inhale and exhale reaches beyond our skin's porous boundaries.

These works continue my interest in the shifting relations of material narratives, interconnections and impermanence. 
Permutations and Respire are meditative site-responsive works reflecting on ways that we are entangled with the complexity of our surroundings and with each other. These works conjures attentive relationships between the contextual and the personal, spirituality and ecological systems, present time and layered histories. 

Permutations and Respire will be exhibited in Manybody Theory at the Bearded Tit, 183 Regent St Redfern, from 29 October to 14 December 2019. 

* * *

Featuring Nadia Odlum, Kath Fries & Eva Nolan
29 October - 14 December 2019

SHOW #43 The Bearded Tit

* * *

Life is wonderfully chaotic! Caught up in intersecting webs of cause and effect, every action, relationship and idea we conjure has the potential to become part of a complex choreography of moving parts. It can feel overwhelming to see yourself as part of this infinite array of possibilities, where everything is connected to everything else. But isn’t that the joy of experimentation? Three artists in MANYBODY THEORY revel in the ‘in-between-ness’ of us and others, our work and the natural world.

In our STREETSPACE, Nadia Odlum nods to the messiness of a living arts practice in her installation 'Unseen In Between'. This work is an ode to the unrealised experiments and discoveries that sometimes arise from the cutting room floor. In THE SALON, Kath Fries’ dried oyster mushrooms and recycled textile fibres crawl up The Tit’s windowpanes and spring forth from the walls, holding fast on a bed of beeswax and entangling themselves in architectures. Inside the CURIOSITY CABINET, oversize specimens propagate inside glass lungs like scientific oddities. You as audience are implicated, as these bodies and yours stand across from one another while all inhaling the same air. On our TAXIDERMY T.V., Eva Nolan further complicates the human vs nature divide, presenting a slow, tightening mandala of intricately drawn species that that render such divisions absurd.

Hey, at least we can all acknowledge that “it’s complicated”.

This exhibition is taking place on Gadigal country, we acknowledge and pay our respects to the traditional custodians of this land, to their elders past, present and emerging. 

Hive drawing sessions, Super-organism exhibition at Kudos Gallery

Hive drawing session, 19 November 2019 at Kudos Gallery, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen
Kath Fries, Penelope Cain, Barbara Doran and visitors Fiona Davies, Michele Morcos 

Hive drawing session, 19 November 2019 at Kudos Gallery, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen

Hive drawing session, 19 November 2019 at Kudos Gallery, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen

Hive drawing session, 19 November 2019 at Kudos Gallery, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen

Hive drawing session, 19 November 2019 at Kudos Gallery, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen
Kath Fries, Penelope Cain, Barbara Doran and visitors Fiona Davies, Michele Morcos 

Hive Drawing is a 400cm wide scroll drawing using handmade beeswax crayons, pollen and turmeric. Each participant joins their closed hand to the outline of a proceeding one and draws around its circumference, continuously building onto what has been drawn before. The subtle wax markings are then dusted with pollen and turmeric, making them more visible. Both honey and turmeric are often referred to as superfoods as they have natural active compounds with potent ant-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Brushing the turmeric and pollen onto the wax drawing by hand is also suggestive of the crisis of insect pollinator losses, in some parts of China farmers have to pollinate their crops by hand, painstakingly spreading pollen from plant to plant using a paintbrush. Hive Drawing (collaboration) brings people into contact with the tactile and aromatic nature of these materials, connecting them to each other via this haptic hand mapping. The work will grow and unfurl over the duration of the exhibition, tracing out further interconnections and shifting understandings linked by the honeycomb-like repeated shapes of each individual participating hand.

This work is part of the Super-organism exhibition by Kath Fries, Penelope Cain and Barbara Doran, exploring pattern finding and self-organising systems. The term super-organism is usually used to describe an interdependent social organisation where individuals are not able to survive by themselves for extended periods. Classically this term is applied to insects, but we are reinterpreting it more widely negotiating the interdependence of individuals and the collective nature of exchange systems. As the anthropocentric world has become increasingly digitalised, expanded notions around super-organisms as a mode of being are becoming increasingly relevant.

Hive drawing, Kath Fries studio, November 2019, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen

Hive drawing, Kath Fries studio, November 2019, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen

Hive drawing session, Kath Fries studio, November 2019, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen

Hive drawing session, Kath Fries studio, November 2019, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen

Hive drawing session, Kath Fries studio, November 2019, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen

Hive drawing session, Kath Fries studio, November 2019, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen

Hive drawing session, Kath Fries studio, November 2019, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen

Hive drawing session, Kath Fries studio, November 2019, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen

Hive drawing session, Kath Fries studio, November 2019, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen

Hive drawing, Kath Fries, November 2019, Kudos Gallery, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen

Hive drawing, Kath Fries, November 2019, Kudos Gallery, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen

Hive drawing, Kath Fries, November 2019, Kudos Gallery, beeswax crayons, turmeric and pollen

Our Super-organism project plays out as generative and responsive evolving conversations, beginning with an interest in honeybees as a typical super-organism and an indicator species of ecological change. This expands into creative engagements with human systems of economy from an individual and colony perspective; to systems of information exchange, from the analogue of speech, breathing and wing-vibration, to digital networks and eco-systems. Such creative engagements contribute to wider haptic discourses addressing the growing need to develop embodied practices of interconnection that draw on ecological resilience.

 … At this point in history, now that we have locked in ecological disruption on a scale our species has never known, we must learn the lessons of ecology. And the number one lesson is that resilience is the key. Resilience, not dominance, is the real strength, especially in hard times. And the secret to resilience is connected diversity, cohesion, cooperative coexistence. That means that in many ways our most important task right now is to build social cohesion while learning to live within natural limits ... all these point the way towards holding off the worst ecological impacts of climate disruption while building the resilience to avoid the societal collapse it could trigger …
Tim Hollo, As the climate collapses, we can either stand together or perish alone, The Guardian, 10/10/19 link

For this exhibition we have developed some physical outcomes from our conversations about super-organisms as modalities to negotiate the interdependence of individuals and the collective nature of exchange systems. In the gallery space, the works unfold this concern in an organic series of static, moving and participatory works, utilising physical space, sound and smell. Avoiding perpendicular lines, smooth surfaces and resolved edges, these works invite engagement, change and messiness.

Kath Fries, Penelope Cain, Barbara Doran
15 October - 2 November 2019
Kudos Gallery, 6 Napier St Paddington NSW
Wed-Fri: 11am-6pm. Sat: 11am-4pm

Closing panel discussion: Saturday 2 November 2-4pm

The artists would like to thank Cynthia Loh, Chloe McFadden, Carmen Scheib, Audrey Pfister, Vivienne Fries, Aryadharma Matheson, Fiona Davies, Michele Morcos and Paul Cordiero for their assistance and support.

This exhibition is taking place on Gadigal country, we acknowledge and pay our respects to the traditional custodians of this land, to their elders past, present and emerging.