Public Space Works – Temporary
In recent years Gavin has minimised his exhibition practice to focus on his cultural geography and design work with CRED.
Ethereal Sculpture on the Cliffs Elliston 2009
We seek to understand ‘landscape’ in various ways from differing cultural perspectives, one way being as mediated through belief systems. Judeo Christian beliefs have underpinned Western progress, liberal capitalism, colonisation, globalisation and consumerism. We live in a Christianised landscape, both physical and cultural. The land is understood through the tenets of that (colonising) belief system. The raw bio-physical stuff has been manipulated physically and conceptually accordingly. Cultural landscapes can be read as Gospel texts, reflecting the religious beliefs of the settlers. With unyielding faith the land has been remade in the manner of their Lord, their faith expressed in the land. There is ‘relief in belief’, a security no matter its broader cultural validity. This belief obscures other realities.
Unyielding Faith – details
Venus di Milo
The French Connection: Landscape, Colonisation, Degradation Bella Cosa Sculpture Park McLaren Flat 2006
Mythology is the ancestral memory of a people, it is history in a multi layered, complex and often ornate disguise. ‘Myths are so fraught with meaning that we live and die by them. They are the maps by which cultures navigate through time’ (Ronald Wright, 1991). White settlement mythologies have been fractured by the ‘Elliston Incident’ which in turn has also been mythologised in a manner that unfairly stigmatises one place, Elliston, as we seek to come to terms with our pasts. Cross cultural relations in Elliston are ‘mythologised’ in a way that can either divide or unite.
Mythology is also expressed in symbols that can be powerful tools of division or unification. Drawing on the Celtic symbolism of my ancestors Mythologies explores not the binary of division or unification, but rather common links, connections that exist between cultural heritages. There is a strong cross over between Irish Celtic and Australian Indigenous design motifs. This work utilises the metaphor of the Celtic shield and cross, and a human like figure, to find a place where there are common mythologies that all may be able to draw from.
Our bodies are made up of 36 elements, mainly oxygen, hydrogen and carbon, we are about 70% water and 20% carbon. A sack of water held up by a frame of carbon, powered by the energy of the sun. Our elements are endlessly recycled, our carbon and water perhaps through a tree and vice versa. But we also exist meta physically, establishing profound connections and stories, and meaning in our lives and the land. Water though is of the essence, water is survival, winter is our water time, renewal for earth, body and soul. To be wet is to be alive.
Keep Me Wet Baby Murray Darling Palimpsest-Palmer Project 2006
Chthonic Voices: When I Was Young & When I Was Virgin
Palmer Sculpture Biennial 2004
The harvesting and cultivation of the earth’s resources impacts upon our physical and cultural landscapes. The Willunga Basin, as with other wine growing districts, is undergoing dramatic change with the unbridled expansion of wine production. A particular paradigm can persuade all in its path, other perspectives overlooked. It is therefore reasonable to raise issues of sustainability and best viticultural practice in this new gold rush, as all too often there are penalties to pay from unthinking booms. One aspect is the land itself, it’s flora and fauna; Can the land exist in its own right outside conventional economic paradigms and concepts of production?
The vineyard expansion grows out of old resources that cannot be replaced in the short term, cycles of renewal are broken, life’s fluids sucked upon. Palimpsest patterns overlay the old, the familiar fades, some of our old landscape friends disappear. The ancient River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) from which this slab is cut was felled for vineyard expansion in the Langhorne Creek district.
Eco Druids – Ocean Care Day Adelaide 1994 & Eco Druids – Car[e]less Car[e]park Day Underdale 1994
The statement “I think therefore I am” by 17th century French philosopher Rene Descartes has been seminal in the debate on establishing the construction of self and the meaning of human existence. American artist Barbara Kruger revised the context in 1987 with her statement “I shop therefore I am”, focusing on the establishment of self and identity through personal possessions and material wealth, while alluding to the rampant consumption of developed nations. As individuals and societies we must now critically examine this construct of self with the ever increasing scientific evidence and visual representation of the degradation our species is inflicting on this planet.
I wish to challenge people to consider not only their own consumption in terms of self-identity but also that of our culture which continues to promote excess consumption without regard to ecological sustainability and the wider aspects of human existence. It is a basic tenet that as consumers we must die, we cannot consume forever. Will our species continue wanton consumption as a process of self-degradation or extinction?
The challenge before all of us is the continuation of our species in a habitat that can sustain and provide equitably not only for us but also our companion species in the forests, the deserts and the oceans.
Gavin Malone (Entropy, Vol 2, No 12, Oct 1994)