POV (point of view), 2023
"POV explores the way we experience and interpret our environment focusing on grass as an integral component to the whole. Playing with the concept of plant blindness, POV explores what we notice when we experience a landscape, what are we missing and what we gain from taking a more detailed look. Surveying the artist’s family’s cattle property in Southern Queensland, POV dissects a landscape into 6 layers depicting 4 different elements (dirt-road, clouds, tree-line, grass). It then depicts one of those elements (QLD silky blue grass) in varying levels of detail. By segmenting the landscape into separate layers the work plays with first impressions. Understanding this bias gives insight into how we prioritise our care, time and resources.
By asking the viewer to question what pulls their attention first, it can draw their focus to the secondary elements. "Plants are a vital part of the biodiversity that sustains life on earth" (ref), however they can easily be overlooked for more dramatic features. POV focuses on grasses as an overlooked element of the landscape. They cover around 40% of the Earth’s land surface and provide one half of all dietary energy (ref), but the diversity of what ‘grass’ can encompass is easily generalised. While POV details the Queensland Silky Blue Grass which is native to this area, it is just one of the many grasses that populate this property and area of QLD. The Carbon Dating project has encouraged people to consider and care for Australia’s native grasses by developing a relationship with the grasses in their environment. POV encourages viewers to similarly consider a caring relationship with grasses by first noticing this small, but unique and varied component of the greater landscape. [Hilary Coulter, 2023][Hilary Coulter, 2023]
When viewers look through the tunnel of hoops, they will not be able see all the elements clearly, this is paralleled by the experience of viewing a landscape, in that we cannot see all elements of a landscape without getting into the environment and taking a closer look. The viewer must walk around and look at the work on different angles to experience all the layers. With proper care (white gloves and instructions), the viewer is able to interact with the work. The viewer is encouraged to explore how they experience a landscape by rearranging the layers into the order in which they would view first.
- embroidery on tulle
- wooden hoops, magnets, wooden board,
The project carers in Miles were Sharron Colley and Hilary Coulter. (See biographies in the Bio tab above). Sharron grew a grass garden for us and looked after the Interweaver. Hilary visited Sharron on several occasions to understand the experience and relate it back to her practice, and her own home on a large grassland cattle farm North of Miles. Hilary Coulter then created an artwork in response to their shared experiences (See artwork tab). Sharron's grasses garden, was located in her rural, closely tended large garden/backyard, and closely integrated with all the native and non-native plantings that frame her longstanding passion for gardening. The Interweaver sat adjacent to the garden in her deck room, as a place for contemplation on the grasses she has chosen.
Sharron planted Barbed Wire, Silky Blue and Curly Mitchell - all endemic grasses and suited to her local Country/bioregion.
This site of the project has also been further supported by gallery partner Dogwood Crossing, Miles (with special thanks to director Anne Keam) and a Western Downs Regional Council RADF grant.Seeds were supplied by Native Seeds Pty.
Hilary Coulter is an artist working with textiles and embroidery. She is particularly excited by this challenge of building a response around the aspects of care and engagement that this project represents. Currently living on her family's large rural cattle property, she was thrilled to learn more during this property about its biodiversity and the presence of native grasses such as Queensland Blue Grass. She was also inspired to research the complex worlds of grasses, grasslands and novel ways of connecting with other community members around this topic.
Sharron Colley is an avid organic gardener and cattle farmer, who has a love for painting in colour with the floral landscapes she creates. She also has a keen interest in the presentation of native and indigenous grasses which offer a more muted, subtle colour palette. She also expresses her creative passions through her use of water colour, as well as creating artworks from fencing wire and old machinery. As a landowner she is aware of the many native grasses that grow on her property, alongside typical introduced pasture and ornamentals. She is a frequent visitor to participating gallery Dogwood Crossing Gallery in Miles, and is highly supportive of the vibrant creative activity in her region. She has also become a native grass evangelist through her experiences on this project - and has been encouraging her influential local gardening group to plant them on their own properties.
During the project Shaaron and Hilary met with project consultant, Indigenous elder Robin Derksen, who further connected them with deep knowledges of how grasses and grasslands have shaped Country throughout time. Robin is a proud Kamilaroi Woman who has been a resident of this region since her childhood. Robin visited Shaaron's grass garden, and met and talked with us all, in both October and December 2022.