Antonia Aitken Rebecca Mayo Kirstie Rea Wagga Wagga Art Gallery 19 May—5 August
Foreword 5 Stephen Payne
Antonia Aitken 7 Rebecca Mayo 13 Kirstie Rea 19 The Walk 24 Sarina Noordhuis-Fairfax
List of Works 26 Colophon 27
Foreword Stephen Payne Manager, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery Nhila marambang bilang ngaagi ngiyanhiginghu baayi ngurra dhaagundha Wiradjuri-dya garraydya, nginha bawamarra, nganha mayiny-gu yanhagubu. Upon arriving at the Wagga Wagga Airport, we are met by these words in a Welcome to Country by Wiradjuri Elder Dr Uncle Stan Grant AM. They are engraved on glass with a translation in English, ‘It is wonderful to see our footprints side by side in the soil on Wiradjuri land’.1 This greeting is a reminder that for many thousands of years, the Wiradjuri people, and visitors from other nations – Aboriginal and overseas – have walked through Wiradjuri country. Now we drive, on bitumen roads or dirt tracks. We can pass through the entire lands of the Wiradjuri people in a single day, from Wagga Wagga to Dubbo, from Griffith to Mudgee. The soil is scenery, and the rivers are glimpsed in a second and then left behind.
In Walking Matters, the works of three artists, visitors to Wiradjuri country – Antonia Aitken, Rebecca Mayo and Kirstie Rea – remind us what we miss when we drive, and what we regain when we step out of the car. Travelling by foot, we see the land again; we notice the small details of beauty; and we see also in full the effects of change, the fundamental impacts of an economy of extraction that we can ignore from behind a windscreen. Walking in company side by side, we can talk and learn from each other; and walking alone, we can think and we can learn about ourselves. So too, walking through this exhibition, we meet the artists through their work, we learn from them, and we are reminded again of the importance, the necessity, of walking itself. Wagga Wagga Art Gallery is proud to present Walking Matters to our audiences, and we thank all three of the artists for the privilege of hosting their work in this exceptional exhibition.
Text and translation: Dr Uncle Stan Grant AM, 2013; detail from Wagga Wagga Weaving Welcome (2013), Aunty Sandy Warren, Aunty Joyce Hampton, Aunty Lorraine Tye, with the support of Dr Uncle Stan Grant AM and in collaboration with Jonathan Jones.
Antonia Aitken is currently based in Tasmania, where she lectures in printmaking and drawing at the University of Tasmania’s School for Creative Arts and the Riawunna Centre for Aboriginal Education. Her work is held in significant national and international print and artist book collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Bibliotheca Librorum apud Artificem, Sydney and the Library of Congress, Washington, USA. Her exhibition River was exhibited at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery in 2012 leading to an ongoing relationship with the gallery and community. Aitken’s practice considers how the slow, rhythmic and repetitive movements inherent in the embodied actions of walking, printmaking and drawing generate sensitive responses to place. Her work attempts to acknowledge the complexity within place relationships that bear witness to the troubled imprint of settler colonialism. The work in this exhibition explores the way the moving body intertwines internal and external experience. Combining laser-cut plywood matrices and woodcut prints with performative drawing, sound and video, Aitken examines how complex histories shape and inform personal entanglements with where she walks.
Untitled I (holdfast iterations), 2018 hand and laser cut plywood 120 x 90 cm (detail) Photography: Julien Scheffer
Left and above: walking breathing drawing: Knocklofty walk: 21.09.16, 2016 charcoal wall drawing, sound variable dimensions Photography: Scott L. Clarkson Next page: Untitled II (holdfast iterations), 2018 hand and lasercut plywood and woodcut print on mulberry paper 120 x 180 cm Photography: Julien Scheffer
Rebecca Mayo is a Lecturer in the Printmedia and Drawing Workshop at the School of Art & Design, Australian National University. Her recent exhibitions include Habitus at Heide Museum of Modern Art (2017) and Water+Wisdom Australia India at RMIT Gallery (2018). Trained in printmaking, she draws upon its performative attributes of repetition and reiteration. She is interested in how these processes might express and connect with ways of thinking, being and acting. In her work, Mayo foregrounds those practices of care, present in her studio labour, and embedded in our daily actions. Through this, she seeks to reposition care as central to how we might live. The repetitive and sometimes meditative act of walking has become central to her practice, embodying as it does a way of paying attention and taking care of our environs. Mayo examines the relations and interactions between people and urban, ecologically significant sites. She screenprints with dye extracted from plants gathered at urban restoration sites such as her local creek, the Merri, in Melbourne. The resulting textiles—reintroduced to the sites by her walking body or by the bodies of fellow restoration volunteers—offer further material connections between site, studio, artist and action.
eft: Tending the Merri—quarter tents, L 2013–2016 calico dyed and screen printed with indigenous and exotic plants of the Merri Creek, zinc buttons, eyelets, hemp rope, tent poles variable dimensions Installation view Photography: Matthew Stanton
Next page: Porous Borders, Impermeable Boundaries, 2017 hemp, wool, natural dyes, sand 360 x 130 x 38 cm Installation view Photography: Matthew Stanton
bove: Bound by Gorse (Ulex europaeus), 2017 A gorse variable dimensions (90 x 250 cm approx.) Photography: Matthew Stanton ight: Bound by Gorse (Ulex europaeus), 2017 R (detail) gorse variable dimensions (90 x 250 cm approx.) digital print 57 x 42 cm Photography: Garth Henderson
Kirstie Rea is a Canberra based artist with a studio practice embedded in contemporary glass. She established her studio after graduating from the Canberra School of Art in 1986 and has continued to develop her practice to become internationally recognised for her works in glass. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and her work is included in collections such as, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, National Gallery of Australia, Wagga Wagga National Glass Art Collection and Alexander Tutsek-Stiftung Foundation in Munich, Germany. Kirstie lectured in the Glass Workshop, Australian National University between 1987 -2003 and was the inaugural Creative Director at the Canberra Glassworks. She continues to teach workshops around the world. Her practice has been recognised by the Ausglass Honorary Life Membership Award (2009), the CAPO Fellowship (2014) and the Canberra Glassworks Fellowship (2016). At the core of her practice lies the desire to seek an understanding of our often tenuous connections to place. Walking in places beyond urban environments, seeking solitude and distance from the everyday, Rea uses her photography and writing to inform her making. During a residency at Cataract Gorge in Tasmania she photographed still moments between walks. For this exhibition these images are recaptured onto plate glass through a digital inkjet process.
Left: From a still point 1, 2018 digital print on glass 100 H x 52.5 W x 7 D cm Photography: David Paterson Next page: Expanded vision, 2018 digital print, glass 78 H x 115.5W x 14 D cm Photography: David Paterson
Above: Lost, 2018 digital print 75 H x 112.5 W x 1.5 D cm Photography: David Paterson Right: From a still point 4, 2018 digital print on glass 100 H x 52.5 W x 7 D cm Photography: David Paterson
In her essays on poetry, C.D. Wright observes how landscape is â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;not a closed space, not in fact capable of closure. With each survey the corners shift.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Sitting at my desk, the empty page is an unknown land. Terra incognita. I do not know what I will find there. I do not know where it will lead. I start to walk.
the tendency of untaught walkers Walk along the footpath. Avoid cracks and coded messages of love and hate. to walk gracefully Walk onto the grass. Regard ruffled sentries swaying on overhead lines. A gust of silvereyes falls from the elm. eyes are directed forward Walk into the maze of cul-de-sacs. Survey mailboxes staked into private territories. The compass point of Mount Majura unfolds above rooftops. an easy, firm, and erect posture Walk along a desire path. The track traced into orange dirt by ridged runners and bike tyres. A lost glass marble glints among dry leaves. locomotion is to be performed entirely by the legs Walk through a corridor of eucalypts. Pass back borders propped up with trellis and broken branches. Shaggy brown bark of argyle apples interrupted by a stand of twelve pale trunks. Pause to rest a freckled hand against cool white skin. awkward persons rock from side to side Walk slowly up the hill. A prickle of sweat under t-shirt and hat. Heartbeats press and release. Rhythmic counterpoint of breath. Look up to find a single vapour trail drawn overhead, soft edges dissolving into blue.
this is not only ungraceful but fatiguing Walk towards the mountain. Move through thirsty air. Recalibrate as tiny gumnuts skid underfoot like ball-bearings. Discover how a blade of cockatoo feather is sharp with heartache. let the legs alone advance, bearing up the body Keep walking. Gather fragments of attention. Follow thoughts into unfamiliar terrain. Rehearse sentences in the mind like Richard Long walking his line into a field. deep breathing exercises should be taken when walking Walk to ask questions of it all. Walk to push through pain. Walk to seek what has been forgotten. To find the sound of the sea rippling through treetops, heaved by the wind into a ripple of green longing.
Wright, C.D. Cooling Time: An American Poetry Vigil Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 2005 All other quotes taken from ’1576. Walking’. Enquire Within Upon Everything. (113th edition). London: Herbert Jenkins Limited, 1923; 344-345.
List of Works Antonia Aitken walking breathing drawing: Knocklofty walk: 21.09.16, 2018 charcoal wall drawing, sound variable dimensions walking breathing drawing: Knocklofty walk: 21.09.16, 2018 HD video, sound variable dimensions Filming: Scott L. Clarkson Video editing: Otis McDermott
Porous Borders, Impermeable Boundaries hemp, wool, natural dyes, sand variable dimensions
Kirstie Rea From a still point 1, 2018 digital print on glass 100 x 52.5 x 7 cm From a still point 2, 2018 digital print on glass 100 x 52.5 x 7 cm
Untitled I (holdfast iterations), 2018 hand and laser cut plywood, charcoal wall drawing 120 x 180 cm
From a still point 3, 2018 digital print on glass 100 x 52.5 x 7 cm
Untitled II (holdfast iterations), 2018 hand and laser cut plywood and woodcut print on mulberry paper 120 x 180 cm
From a still point 4, 2018 digital print on glass 100 x 52.5 x 7 cm
From a still point 5, 2018 digital print on glass 100 x 52.5 x 7 cm
Tending the Merri, 2013 - 2016 calico dyed and screen printed with indigenous and exotic plants of the Merri Creek, zinc buttons, eyelets, hemp rope, tent poles variable dimensions digital prints, 574 x 840 mm and 420 x 594 mm Bound by Gorse (Ulex europaeus), 2017 gorse variable dimensions digital print, 570 x 420 mm Habitus, 2017 Quiet Witness cotton damask tablecloth, natural dyes 175Â xÂ 3000 cm
Expanded vision, 2018 digital print, glass 78 x 115.5 x 14 cm Lost, 2018 digital print 75 x 112.5 x 1.5 cm I laid my head between rocks and grass, 2018 digital print, glass 75 x 112.5 x 25 cm
Colophon Acknowledgements We thank Stephen Payne, Manager of Wagga Wagga Art Gallery and Drew Halyday, Curator of Exhibitions and Collections and their team, for supporting the development and exhibition of Walking Matters. Rebecca acknowledges the support of the ANU School of Art & Design and extends her thanks to Jacob Raupach and Adele Packer who cheerfully helped fill sandbags in the sun. Published by Antonia Aitken, Rebecca Mayo and Kirstie Rea to accompany the exhibition— Walking Matters Wagga Wagga Art Gallery Civic Centre, Corner Baylis & Morrow Streets Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2650, Australia Saturday 19 May—Sunday 5 August, 2018 ©Artists, writers and photographers. All rights reserved. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 and subsequent amendments, no part may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means whatsoever without the prior permission of the copyright owners. ISBN 978—0—646—98914—3 Design Anna Topalidou Cover Antonia Aitken