Can't See the Wood for the Trees is the second in the series of group exhibitions presented by Niagara Galleries. Interestingly, not all of the artists whose works feature in this exhibition are known for their sculpture or installation work so we saw this is an ideal opportunity to showcase another aspect of their art-making.
The theme for this exhibition presented itself as we were gathering works for the show. Environment is a hot topic, but this is not a show about climate change. Most of this work has been sourced from the stockroom and artists' studios, the metaphorical "wood" hidden amongst the "trees" if you will. More literally, this is an exhibition about trees and things made of wood. Some things are, in fact, just as they seem and not hidden too deep in the curatorial forest.
Taking as a centrepoint Robert Bridgewater's magnificent carved wooden structure Midnight special, first seen towering in the Melbourne Fesitval in 2009, we added some fabulously painted redgum tree stumps by Angela Brennan that look as if they have been dipped in magic. The way the bronze Tree figure 1990 of Rick Amor morphs into a Study for Watching man on a column 1990 is almost a supernatural revelation.
We are privileged to include two sculptures by the late Jenny Christmann. Afficionados of Gunter Christmann's work will recognise that the imagery in many of his paintings is based on these and other sculptural pieces by Jenny. He wishes her to be recognised as a collaborator in his art and life.
An artist whose work has always had a strong environmental concern is David Keeling. He has painstakingly carved and gessoed precious and rare Tasmanian wood as a base for his exquisite miniature landscapes which are painted on the leaf-like rear vision mirrors "growing" from these ghostly tree forms. His observation is that many of us only see the countryside in passing and at speed, and any vista of interest is framed by the side mirror of the car.
A talented printmaker, Belinda Fox has also completed many paper-based installations and intricately layered, unique works on paper, but this is a first foray into bronze. The surface of Remedy, 2008 is nuanced with detail, and there are similarities to the manner in which the artist might address the surface of an etching plate.
Our inclusion of the burial poles by Wolpa Wanambi provides a connection to the spiritual importance of the tree in our world, as spirits are ushered into the next.
We hope you enjoy this eclectic exhibition.
The exhibition is available for viewing online.
Please contact the gallery for a complete list of works or to arrange a preview prior to the opening.