5th May – 20th May
out side in
Will Heathcote’s sculptures fix an experience of a place by taking an impression from a specific site and reworking it in the studio. Through moulding and casting techniques drawn from traditions in theatre and film set production, this work presents fragments of outside places reframed inside the gallery. It positions mould making as a photographic process capable of capturing and documenting a formation, object or space. Like electrons passing through the lens and leaving impressions on the square light sensor or film of a camera, the subject leaves an imprint in the latex or silicone jacket. This then becomes the trace of a particular place at a particular moment in time.
Della Butler Curator Statement:
OUT SIDE IN
Observations of our natural habitat provide a grounding quality to our over-stimulated senses, and a source of refuge in our hectic existence within modern society.
In Will Heathcote’s recent work there is a strong investigative process that occurs between personal encounters within nature, and sculptural production.
From initial documentation with a pocket camera lens, the subsequent images form part of an investigation into the ephemeral qualities of objects.
A trace, fragment or shard of a specific environment is captured, leading to an intimate sculptural form that becomes an enduring artifact, in contrast to the object’s fleeting existence in its original habitat.
Through casting, Heathcote develops a dialogue around the transitory nature of environmental existence. His bronze pieces give permanence and immortality to otherwise delicate and short-lived fragments of the natural world.
OUT SIDE IN continues this dialogue, and considers a reflection of natural, preserved forms.
Della Butler, 2016
Will Heathcote Artist Statement:
OUT SIDE IN
A cool blanket of heavy morning air lingers in the field. Sheep graze, in a seemingly hypnotic trance, consuming the pasture underfoot. Brought across the sea in timber cups, they have been mowing this land since colonial settlement. From this vantage point there are droves freckled across the grassy vista – each locked into a constant, collective procession.
A river valley stretches far into the distance, framed by highland plateaus on each side. The evidence that this place was once an ancient glacial drain lies in the dirt under my feet. I look down and find small fragments of the surrounding quartzite mountains embedded in the black clay soil. The stones remain a material testament to these melting glaciers of 11,000 years ago. They are mostly rounded, but interspersed with sections of more violent angular fractures – points that have given way to the gradual pressure of time in moments of rupture. The volume of water and ice that once crashed through this very spot must have been immense. It is a flow now reduced to a relatively small trickle. Reflections of the early sun outline a river as it winds its way toward the coast, it has room to move courtesy of its ancestor. I look down the valley, it has a patina of introduced livestock – all grazing, day in and day out.
This is a landscape commonly known for its colonial relics; a squatter’s cottage, derelict barn or retired stonewall, but I want to imagine how it might have appeared prior to this shift in history. Like many places, this is one that reveals itself in layers. The ghostly, ruined shells of sandstone homesteads are set next to the silver white skeletons of the large dead eucalypts that dot the landscape. Victims of die back, the roots of these monolithic trees are burned by a saline water table which is the product of colonial clearing, grazing and modern agriculture. This is a place changed, not as it was, but then again where is? As the blanket lifts on a new day the place is ever so slightly different from the day before, never again to be entirely as it was. The sheep continue their all-consuming trance; grasses are taken on, digested and transformed into fleece and shit. I shed my synthetic blend coat as the day warms – it is unusually heavy – the pockets are weighed down by a collection of quartzite rocks.