Sunday, 16 December 2007

Stairs after rain

I'm really like the way the warp and weft of the gauze are distorting. The gauze is both settling into the steps and pulling away. The horizontal areas are bunching up in the low areas and pulling apart over the high spots. The vertical pulling away from the steps. I would like to remove the gauze before it falls apart too much. I plan to hang the gauze vertically when it comes off the steps. Have to experiment with ways of either setting the distorted gauze in place or holding the gauze in place with a stable netting sewn into the gauze, or excepting that it will change again when hung. Oh well, I can try all.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Basalt walls and steps

The basalt walls at Mount Tomah are constructed of mainly hexagonal or pentagonal blocks. At the present basalt is sourced from a quary at Peats Ridge. There is a continuing building program. A team of stone workers are at present working on walls around the new education building.There are many older walls, one of my favourites is the wall behind the waterfall.

Making the dark light, an idea for gauze.

The lower steps in the garden have been built out of trachyte. Another volcanic rock. It was collected from the old Homebush sale yards in Sydney, when they we demolished. The trachyte is in square blocks.

Grass growing

The grass was left uncut in a 'y' shape that followd the garden bed pattern as planned with Dave.

This is the growth in about 5 days. As the time passes this grasses height will be more noticable and the varieties of grass in the lawn will hopefully become more distinctive.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007


When I was invited to exhibit ‘Gathering’ and install gauze works at Mount Tomah Botanic Garden I was reminded of all my visits to the garden over the years. I recall the early days when we climbed a windswept bare hill. The energy in the wind could sweep away or invigorate. The site developed into diverse spaces, from the symmetrical formal garden, to the South garden (displaying plants which lie to the South of the equator) to the recent addition of the bog and all those wonderful spaces in between. Each area poses questions about environments. Each area informs and delights and is in constant change. The challenge of installing works in the garden is, to say something about the garden that adds to the garden, emphasises a characteristic, and enhances the experience of the visitor and the people who work in the garden. I aim to create work that takes the garden into the future, encouraging a dialogue that moves people into areas yet undiscovered and that pose questions and answers others. The Botanic Gardens Trust’s mission is ‘to inspire the appreciation and conservation of plants’ which is also one aspect of my practice. Installations in the garden will be developed from themes, materials that I am engaged with in my current practice.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Aerial view 1994

A photograph of an areial photograph of the gardens,1994
For a plan and mud map of how to get to Mount Tomah Botanic Garden :

Regional Art Review

For a review of gauze works by Owen Leong

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Planning for Tomah

I have been planning gauze and grass works for Mount Tomah Botanic Garden to be installed from 2o-24 November, 2007.
Walking around the garden with the different people who work at the garden or have connections to the garden is an experience in diversity. Each person has their own unique view and their own stories. This communicates a depth of understanding of the garden coloured by passion, alive and vibrant. With each journey you take a different path, see through others eyes and experience the garden in a fresh way. Thankyou for all the journeys so far and I look forward to many more.

Stair series: The basalt work at Mount Tomah is one of the gardens features, making it 'Tomah'. The stairs series acknowledges the qualities of the basalt, an integral feature of the Garden. For me it has become part of the gardens identity. The garden is on a basalt cap. The soil has been formed through weathering of the basalt. The structure of basalt is often columnar, or shaped like a column. These short columns of basalt can be seen in the many walls around the gardens. These stairs at the edge of the 'Forest Walk' have be be regularly blown clear of leaves. The next image shows the first plan for one of the stairs: the width of the gauze across the stairs will be less so that people have more room the walk on both sides. I also wanted to respond in Australia to the Italian project 'Walking on Art'. In common is the use of a volcanic rock as a paving material.

'Walking on Art' is a project which focuses on the "Sampietrino" (also known as "flints") the typical stone paving used for the first time at the end of XVII century in Rome at St Peter's square (from which it takes the name Sampietrino). It has been used in the construction of streets, courtyards and squares, in many Italian municipalities, European cities and recently also in some Japanese cities. There is a strong presence of the "sampietrino" in the "Lazio" area, particularly in the towns of the "Castelli Romani and Prenestini", because the roman "flints" are, in fact, lava fragments originating from the ancient "Vulcano Laziale".
Today the "Sampietrino" runs the risk of being replaced by new modern material which is more suitable to modern life in the historic centres and more practical both for walking around and for the more silent transit of cars.

Sampietrino from the "Lazio" area, Italy

Paving in the car park at Mount Tomah

Meet Prunus Albion Park: a dancing trunk on the Plant Explorers Walk

Grass series: This plan for a Y of long grass in the middle of a mown lawn can be viewed from the Northern Pavilion as you look towards the African Heath. The Y echos the shape of the 'gauze cutting' which is the beginning of many of the gauze works. Check out this grass to find out how many different grass varieties make up this lawn and hopefully see at some stage how the grass looks when it is beginning to flower. A lawn like this is something many of us will never have in our own backyard. It needs watering, not as much as the formal garden lawn but watering and Mount Tomah gets more rain than many areas of Australia. Visit the rollypollie lawn in the Residence Garden- have a roll. The Eurasian Woodland: Tall Brown Barrels dot the slope between two people mover tracks. This is a steep slope, with a capopy high above. An area that people don't often walk into. Gauze works will be installed from the top to the bottom of the slope forming spaces worth exploring.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Orange Botanic Garden: Saturday outing

Gabriella emailed me these images: the works in the casuarina forest have been disturbed. Hannah and Joanna gathered the ends and tied and tucked them back into the gauze. They have become part of the Gathering, experiencing the feel of the gauze. Normally Hannah and Joanna would not have touched the work, I hope they enjoyed working with the gauze. The nature of the gauze is fragile, like our natural environment. The gauze can be leaned against gently, (only stretching it a little) if you are sensitive to the material. Go too far and it can break. It can be repaired, new patterns becoming established. Even with complete remaking it would not return to the original, it would have similar characteristics but always different, inconsistent.

Richard Serra at MoMA

The following images and text from led me to think about a series of short walls of gauze between trees creating passages that undulate: disrupting the rows in a pine tree forest or in a vineyard. I will look for a site at Mount Tomah for this idea. One of these images is without people, the other with people in the space. I am interested in how the inclusion of people in the space changes your viewing of the work.

' Richard Serra at the MoMA
Try NOT swaying slightly from side to side in tune with the undulating passages as you walk through Sequence, his massive, interconnected spirals on the second floor... or leaning backward as you approach the inverted walls of one of the immense cocoons within Band. You can taste the metal in the air; you can smell it and feel its deep chill and unimaginable weight in your chest. You can get seriously disorientated here, even lost (well... we did, anyway), and yet it seems more comforting than dangerous, thanks in part to the stunning suppleness of these giga-ton works.'

' The exhibit is divided into three parts. On the second floor are the real show-stoppers: three new, enormous, enveloping steel sculptures, Sequence, Band and Torqued Torus Inversion, that you walk through and around and within, and that you'll have to run your hands over even though all the signs tell you not to. Made from weatherproof steel, there's none of the rusting and oxidation that you might normally associate with Serra's work—here instead are long, seamless, almost placid surfaces. These three pieces are literally breathtaking.'

Friday, 26 October 2007

Mount Tomah Botanic Garden

gathering at the garden

Sat 8 Dec, 2007 - 3 Feb, 2008

Exhibition Opening
2pm - 4pm Sat 8 Dec

I will be installing site specific gauze works in the gardens. In the visitors centre I will have echidna works and grass seeds works including an animation. Some of the photos I have taken of the garden follow.