Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In the Vault

Tuesday 22rd May 2012.

Deirdre enters The Vault Complex. The rear was dark, storage bays surrounded by solid grey concrete walls.there were thoughts of dread.  I headed upstairs.
My main cell was two tone in colour, facilities comfortable, surrounded by concrete walls but each cell had that atmosphere that started your heart to beat that little bit faster. I began to settle in, unpack my meager belongings.

Later I walked alone, past the existing cells, some were occupied, some were not. Each cell had the scent of an artist unknown and some walls were an extended expression of the artist within. My stomach felt that weird empty feeling, even though I had eaten earlier. I reached the end of the corridor, opened a large glass door and entered into a small room allocated as my "space". I liked this room. a room with no other attachment. A room where I could make mine. The window had no view, just concrete walls and iron but light spread its arms through the large glass panels throughout the room welcoming me.

Then I went down stairs again. I entered the main vault, steel bars of expression, framed, hanging lifeless; pieces of another artists soul waiting for it's rescuer from this concrete hold. Some echoed words to me, a connection with my own soul.Some hung at an awkward angle almost like it had given up finding a home. 
 The second vault was the same, rows on rows of steel bars, upright but confined with more hopeful expressions from another brush so I moved forward emerging into main room. This was a happier place, a place of vibrant imagery , to the right an alcove,  stainless steel benches and inky reminders of the last inmate.
I moved forward into "The Vault", the hub of Art, a large open room with white walls and to the left a small room. In front of me was a bustle of workers whose main aim was to arrange unknown artworks along the blank stark walls of the large room, to bring these walls of concrete into a living sense of expression.

The small room was black, blank and stark, in the centre a long armless seat. I sat. I contemplated how these darkened walls could come alive.

And so my exhibition and residency began at The Art Vault, in Mildura. 

Wednesday 23rd September 2012.

All works are hanging, the black blank walls filled with colour. My works sang to me encouraging me to be positive. 
"River mapping" opened at The Art Vault.

Thursday 24th September 2012.
Through to 1st June 2012

As an artist when you exhibit your works and are scrutinized by others being in a prestigious gallery on a residency can be daunting. By the 3rd day all seemed to be calm and my creative juices began to flow as I ventured into the landscape of the environs of Mildura and its surrounding countryside.
The staff at the Art Vault are so helpful in making you feel at home and after my first trip out I came back with a small collection of inspirational pieces to get me going. The empty white walls of the studio began to fill with sectional sketches from my mind.
My main focus was now on going to Mungo National park. I had never been there before so was excited about my visit.

An ancient earth, a world within another world.
I enjoyed Mungo immensely although the day was overcast and cold. At first the landscape of Mungo Lake looked very drab, no sunlight throwing colours, no shadows throwing form. As we drove up into the sand hills and through the "lunar landscape" a sense of wonder came over me. Nature had sculptured this landscape over millions of years and my camera captured the "moonscape" in contrast against the ominous storm clouds. 
The "Walls of China" spread alongside the ancient Willandra lake beds and were cradled by immense dunes. The furrows and ridges flowed through the mind and onto my paper. I filled my Vault studio walls with sketches and began to create.

To truly connect  to this wonderful place an artist could not pass up a tour by two local indigenous guides who are ancestors of this lands of time. Great guys with a surmountable knowledge of the history, the footprints through the sands by past inhabitants, the existing protection in place and return of the land to their peoples.

This place & its history inspired me to start a series of embossed relief etchings which were created within The Vault.
 The landscape of Mungo left a mountain of sketches, ideas and a series of artworks in mixed medium is in development in my own studio.
I would like to thank Julie chambers and staff Andrew, Robert, Mia and Trace of The Art vault for making my experience in The Vault a memorable one. 
(and anyone I have missed who worked in and out during my stay)


Embossed, relief etchings produced at The Vault

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