This week a group art exhibition called DIRE will open at the South Coast Regional Art Centre in Goolwa, South Australia. The exhibition has been coordinated by the not-for-profit Centre for Culture, Land and Sea (CCLS) and is actually the fourth in an annual* series of similarly themed but variously located and presented shows. In 2012 and 2013, the exhibition was presented by the Save Our Gulfs Coalition, which is a minor sponsor of Cuttlefish Country. In 2014, it was presented by the Marine Life Society of South Australia, after which it skipped a year before being adopted by the Centre for Culture, Land and Sea. The exhibition’s continuity and longevity has been secured through the vision and commitment of Corrie Vanderhoek and Ruth Trigg, both of whom are South Australian coastal residents and keen environmentalists.
The exhibition DIRE invited artists to interpret both threats to, and the beauty of, South Australian coastlines and waterways. The Centre for Culture, Land and Sea describes its purpose as “to encourage people to challenge dominant thinking and practices that threaten the living earth and oceans.” The gallery showing the work is located at 1 Goolwa Terrace, in the old Goolwa police station building. Many artists’ works will be displayed, and will remain on show from 23 June until 24 July 2016. The gallery is closed on Mondays and Tuesday, and special floor talks will be held on Saturdays between 2 and 3pm by a range of artists, farmers, scientists and environmentalists. The exhibition launch event is at 5:30pm, Friday 24 June 2016.
In past exhibitions, Emma and I have exhibited photo prints, a photo sculpture, Naturescope videos, an animated LED sign and even an installation featuring a customised dart board. The artworks have been generated in parallel with our development of this film, and have reflected many of its subjects and themes. This year’s inclusion is a digital print on canvas, which reflects the setting of our film. The artwork, entitled Hard lines and gentle curves, is a painstakingly constructed digital portrait of Spencer Gulf itself. The version on display is printed on canvas, measuring 50 cm by 58 cm. The image is also available to purchase as prints on paper, apparel (including shirts and a dress) and a number of other products, via our Redbubble store.
The artist statement accompanying the work is reproduced below:
This artwork depicts the bathymetry of northern and central Spencer Gulf, redrawn using multiple nautical charts as guides. Its waters are bound by Eyre Peninsula to the west and Yorke Peninsula and the Mid North to the east. As their familiar landforms and settlements recede into darkness, the contours of the seabed are highlighted in tones of blue. The pale shallows are less than 2 metres deep and the darkest shade reaches below 30 metres.
The gulf’s naturally narrow central channel serves the ports of Whyalla and Port Bonython, where bulk carriers and tankers carry cargoes of iron ore, diesel and LPG. Fully laden, they must wait for high tide before surfing over the channel’s sandy shoals. The sweeping curve of False Bay in the north west is interrupted by land reclaimed by the Whyalla steelworks. The reluctant harbor of Port Pirie is pierced by a narrow, mechanically dredged channel. Cooling water channels are carved out of samphire flats south of Port Augusta- a relic of the coal-fired power station which closed permanently in 2016.
Each of these hard, angular marks is a testament to the determination of early industrialists to bend nature to their will. Are South Australians now ready to listen to the gulf’s rhythms or will they continue to march to the drumbeat of 20thcentury progress?
Exhibition launch is at 5:30pm, Friday 24 June 2016 Launch speakers: Dr Ian Dyson Lesley Fischer Goolwa Primary School students Floor talks by artists, farmers, scinetists or environmentalists each Saturday, 2 - 3pm South Coast Regional Arts Centre (The old Goolwa Police Station), 1 Goolwa Terrace, Goolwa Gallery opening hours: Wednesday - Friday 11am - 4pm Saturday & Sunday 10am - 4pm Phone: 08 8555 7289