When:21 November – 17 December 2020
An exhibition presenting the creative outcome of the 2019 Craft ACT Spring Residency
Tuggeranong Arts Centre presents Corin Dam Residency: Double Vision – the creative outcome of the 2019 Craft ACT Spring Residency, from November 21 – 18 December. In the exhibition, recipients Annika Romeyn and Elizabeth Paterson, offer two very different approaches to the Namadgi Landscape.
Reflecting on the Residency, Romeyn recalls her initial experience – slow looking, walking and drawing, above and below Corin Dam, and long days on foot and up the steep Stockyard Spur to the stunning summit of Mt Gingera. “One morning a moist veil of fog permeated the Snow Gum forest along the track, concealing all distant surroundings and directing my focus to the delicate textures and intricate details of lichen, moss and tangled undergrowth,” Romeyn says.
This intimate and complex environment provided the stimulus for Romeyn’s initial work. However, as she poured over the first watercolour monotype print, the devastating bushfires of Summer 2019-20 took hold and the environment she first experienced changed completely after the Orroral Valley fire burnt close to 80% of Namadgi National Park.
Romeyn persevered these early works, seeking to maintain a tenuous connection to place through a multitude of small marks on paper. And on her birthday in August 2020, returned to Stockyard Spur and Mt Gingera to continue her creative work and the difference was stark. “Undergrowth gone, Snow Gums hollowed out by fire, charred wood strewn amidst deep winter snow. Yet, the sun shone and birdsong punctuated the crisp, still air,” Romeyn says.
The subsequent drawings, layered over the ‘ghosts’ of earlier watercolour monotype prints, aim to record some of what was witnessed – the impact of the fire and the beauty of the changing seasons.
Photo: courtesy of the artists
Meanwhile, Paterson’s practice focuses on representing the special qualities of the Canberra environment, working with texture to create the feel of the place as much as the look of it. Working three-dimensionally with paper, cardboard and glue; Paterson plays with materials to discover what they can offer, as if she were drawing in space. Through this process Paterson hopes to bring the energy and provisional nature of drawing into her work.
Having always loved the light and openness of Canberra, staying at Corin Dam introduced Paterson to an intensely forested part of the landscape. She saw tree-covered slopes as far as the eye can see and at closer inspection an extraordinary amount of detail in the plant and insect life.
Paterson, whose work often celebrates the ordinary things in life – such as how wonderful it is that we can turn on a tap and good, potable water comes out of it – recalls feeling overwhelmed by the input and impact of the Corin Dam environment and having thoughts like “What on earth can I do with all this?”
“However, a residency induction meeting with Park Ranger Brett McNamara, in which the role of the Corin Dam as Canberra’s water catchment and supply was discussed, provided the starting point for my work and the exhibition emerged,” Paterson says.
Paterson’s 3D map-like exploration of Canberra’s water catchment connecting the environment of Corin Dam with the water coming out of a suburban tap, brings together observations and experiences from the residency with a fascination for old maps; their graphic inventiveness and unexpected perspectives on what’s important and how things relate to each other.
For over ten years, Craft ACT has collaborated with the ACT Parks and Conservation Service to offer residencies for artists to translate the beautiful and infinitely variable qualities of both craft and nature to the contemporary world.