From Sharne Wolff…
For her exhibition Lines of Desire, artist Amanda Stuart picked up a hammer and prepared a raised platform to emulate the floor of a shearer’s shed – the timber having first been rubbed with lanolin to bring the essence of the bush to town. Stuart, an ex park ranger, has recently completed her PhD, where she conducted research into the embattled relationship between dingoes, wild dogs and farmers in southeastern Australia. The physicality of the project became increasingly important to Stuart as she searched for a means of expressing the paradoxical aspects of the ties that bond or break the affinity between human and animal.
By focusing on the material qualities of her art, Stuart forces the viewer to consider the nature of the ethical dilemmas faced when ‘man’s best friend’ becomes the enemy. Two wire sculptures are remodelled shearers beds, fashioned with a wire contour-like design to represent sites of the somewhat macabre ‘dog trees’ where dead dingoes and wild dogs are hung by farmers and trappers. In contrast, the bronze Red dog, cast at the ANU School of Art foundry, is unleashed and runs wild on the custom wooden platform with Araluen, Barbarella, Juno and Dash. Each of the latter sculptures is made from a curious but authentic combination of fence wire, steel, bondcrete, woollen blankets, and ‘farmers pyjamas’ hand dyed with the tannins obtained from acacia trees.
Until July 6
Brenda May Gallery, Waterloo.
Pic: Amanda Stuart, Lines of Desire 2013, installation view. Courtesy the artist and Brenda May Gallery.