This exhibition is at prospect gallery until the 6th of April.
The Coorong is a 130km stretch of coastland in South Australia. Massive dunes rise up against formidable surf while behind them sits tranquil waters. The mouth of the Murray river is situated at the northern end. It is a wetland with a plethora of wildlife. It is also of great cultural significance to the Ngarrindjeri people.
For these three artists; Jeff Mincham AM with his hand formed ceramic works, Michael Kluvanek with his rich photography and Sandra Starkey Simon with her intricate etchings, the Coorong is a place from which they can draw inspiration.
“Beachcomber” is a ceramic work by Jeff Mincham AM, a simple hand formed plate and cup that sits perched upon a small piece of driftwood. The surface of the clay is ochre coloured and rich in texture. The surface of the plate carries the impression of a piece of fishing net and line work from discarded rope. The cup is textured in an effect which mimics the limestone rocks in the region, but works equally well as a landscape echoing the white dunes and often stormy skies in the area. The rich ochre tones are a reminder of the rustic nature of the area where the fresh water from the Murray River laden with silt meets the sea. As Mincham has reflected with his impressed textures and line on the surface of his sculptures, so too the region has left an indelible impression on him. “While you there there nowhere else seemed to exist, which is perhaps why this place has stayed with me in a way that makes me want to tell its story.”
Lousy jack’s is a type C photograph by Michael Kluvanek where earth water and sky meet. As one gazes into the stillness it is easy to become lost in the reflections. Rain laden storm clouds hang in the sky as the light pieces through onto the surface of the still lagoon. At the junction a thin sliver of land separates the reflections. The light barely illuminates the sand. Lousy Jack’s hut is a camp ground in the Coroong named after a dirty old stockman who used to camp there. It is a simple site and in this haunting and ominous photograph you cannot help but be captivated by the melancholic hues.
Sandra Starkey Simon’s work “Vortex” is a vibrant etching with three plates. This particular print stretches out long and flat like the Coorong itself. At one end the scroll is still yet to be unraveled, reflecting further discoveries and insights yet to be revealed. The lines on the coated steel plates taken on site were scratched into the surface by objects from the region. Sandra Starkey Simon’s vivacious, organic free flowing line surges over the surface and entertains the eye. Her playful free flowing line techniques harmonise with the landscape echoing its complexity.
In an artist’s mind there is a place to gather new imagery, to see something that has previously been unseen. The response to the landscape by these three artists has been extraordinary, bringing what previously would have remained a secret into our gaze. I know we are all better for it.