Sara Maher: Of the half-light

25 November - 12 December 2016

This exhibition explores landscape (inner and outer) as an amorphous and fragile entity, through an investigation of liquid processes, markings and sculptural elements on clay board, copper and paper. Nigel Farley has produced a soundscape, which serves as an underscore, providing context in which sound in the landscape played an experiential part in the works origins.

 

My works arrive spontaneously, unconsciously, intuitively. Like an improvisation they find their form in the process of making. Im not interested in a realistic depiction of landscape, but rather one that is filtered, faded, and distilled through memory and the unconscious. I am interested in the process of remembering itself. In the fluidity of this process I search: I watch images come and go. I imagine.. I remember.. I merge serendipity with conscious creation.

 

I am compelled by the immediacy of this process; how it triggers imagination and memory of place - passage into a space where, in the fading realm of memory, I discover my connection/reconnection with past experience.

 

My images dwell on thresholds and across dimensions - of vision, physicality, effect, time and space - hovering but never fully revealing themselves - to amplify, with quiet intensity, delicate moments of sensory awareness. Through seeming to inhabit a space of transition - between material and immaterial, they engage the viewer in ways which extend perception. They work with the notion that absence is in fact a presence.

 

Works in this exhibition took form during and following a two month residency at Cradle Mountain, nestled amongst towering King Billy pines and mossy Myrtle groves, enveloped in snowy ambience. Walking out from my cabin into glaciated mountain and lake terrain, I would collect small twigs, leaves and driftwood, story fragments held by the land, later used as tracing and sculptural elements in my making.

 

This was an open creative process of memory making in which a listening to place became entangled with the stories and encroachments I brought to place - my work enchanted by the shadow of a twig collected from the lakeside, haunted by the mossy form of a fallen tree, held by the dawn cry of the resident Black Currawong; all of us present in the muted, foggy winter light, our being shaped by textured flora, tactile and weathered forms, fragile micro patterns of ice and snow, spider web and the shifting shapes and shadows crossing inner and outer worlds. This time instilled lasting memories which continue to be an invaluable source of inspiration.

 

I ask myself, what is my relationship to this place? To make art here - and to draw on the memory of my time here - is to touch on what is present and absent, to reflect on my relationship with those presences and absences. As a newcomer who is not from here, I tread carefully. In the vastness of geological time I realise I am fleeting. I am always cognisant of the fact that this is not my ancestral home.... a land inscribed with deep memory and spirit presence is silently watching.