While Emma and I have been hard at work adding the finishing touches to our feature-length documentary film Cuttlefish Country, we’ve also found time for a little art making. We recently joined the Port Adelaide Artists Forum (PAAF) and over the past month, have produced three new works to exhibit there.
Emma Monceaux has been extending her artistic skills into digital illustration, and has produced a new print on canvas called ‘Grey Mangrove’. The piece depicts the unassuming flower of Avicennia marina, set against an abstract background which shows the plants pneumatophores, fruits and their watery intertidal home. Emma is also re-exhibiting an abstract photographic work she made back in 2006, when she was exploring macro-photography of floral subjects. Both pieces are well suited to the group exhibition’s title and theme: Bouquet – flower power in the 21st century.
My own new works at first appear to diverge from the exhibition’s floral theme, but reveal their connections in surprising ways. The first of two five-minute long video works focuses on Cassiopea, the mangrove jellyfish. The animal earned its place in the show owing to its behavior and its biology. The animal is rarely seen swimming, as it prefers to spend its time planted on the seabed, upside down, where the photosynthetic algae which the animal hosts within it can be nourished by the sunlight. My second video is a one shot study of a feeding sea anemone. The name ‘anemone’ is derived from that of a genus of terrestrial plant, and the animal’s feeding tentacles evoke more familiar images of hanging plants or leaves blowing in the wind. Video footage for both pieces was recorded downstream from the gallery, in shallow water fringing Garden Island in the Barker Inlet (Port River estuary).
The exhibition, which also features the work of 30 other South Australian artists opens on 16 February 2016 at Gallery Yampu. The gallery was once a boatshed, and is located at the north-western end of the Birkenhead Bridge at Port Adelaide (1 Jenkins Street). The gallery even has its own little cove and pier, complete with visiting Aurelia (moon) jellyfish and a couple of emerging young mangroves. It’s been a pleasure producing this new work, which is tied intimately to the Port River’s flora and fauna. Emma and I hope that you’ll stop by Gallery Yampu during the 2017 Adelaide Fringe and breathe in the artistic pot pourri of Bouquet.
Port Adelaide Artists Forum presents: Bouquet - Flower power in the 21st century Galley Yampu 1 Jenkins Street, Birkenhead (enter via Semaphore Road)
Opening at 6pm Thursday 16 February 2017 To be opened by Jacqui Hunter, director of Hunter Gatherer Designs Gallery open hours: 11am-4pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from 17 February to 19 March 2017.