A group of artists from the Wild Mountain Collective got together to develop a proposal for the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre Exposé Exhibition 2020 Program. Unfortunately we were not one of the 4 submissions chosen from a field of 50 applications, but we thought it worth sharing our ideas with our readers.
Our core theme/idea was to create an integrated group exhibition that addresses the culture/nature split that underpins modern techno-capitalist society and its existential ecological crisis. The exhibition would have juxtaposed works that critique our present situation with alternative visions of how to experience a sense of ‘interbeing’ with the natural world and one another, the latter being the core ethos of the Wild Mountain Collective.
We saw this exhibition representing a milestone in the evolution of the Wild Mountain Collective, creating a ground breaking integrated series of environmental art works in a public exhibition. The group have come together through our interest in the role of artists in sharing concerns about our existential ecological crisis and exploring the idea of ‘interbeing’ as a response to this in our art works. Unfortunately we won’t be able to reach this milestone and we are sorry that the people of the Blue Mountains won’t get to experience our exhibition.
But below is what you are missing!
- Henryk Topolnicki—‘Rozanov on Fire’, a large photographic work of a sculpture by Henryk set against a background of back-burning in the wild (150cmH x 100cmW)
- Henryk Topolnicki—‘Forest of Negotiation’, an installation of five staggered ironbark pylons recovered from bridge works (each 35cm diameter, 1.2 -1.8mH)
- Henryk Topolnicki—‘Framed’, a large, steel wall sculpture with gilt framed sculptural bird image (approx. 300cmH x 200cmW)
- John Wolseley— ‘In the Wild’, large work expressing a sense of intimate interbeing with the wild
- Caroline Wilde—‘Ocellus’, a suspended sculptured textile installation, conceptually engaging with notions of the inter-relatedness of the natural world by referencing the ongoing global disappearance of bees, through the use of beeswax as a precious and finite commodity, within the fabric of her weaving. Materials: cotton, hand-dyed yarns and materials dyed with plants, plant materials, metal and beeswax (500cmH x 150cmW x 100cmD)
- Ian Brown & Barbara Lepani—‘Interbeing’, a photographic and wall-stencilled text installation featuring the portraits of the three Patrons of the Wild Mountain Collective (Leanne Tobin, John Wolseley and Freya Mathews) with Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen master who first coined the term ‘interbeing’ (Tiep Hien). Each portrait will include a wall-stencilled quote of each individual’s personal interpretation of the concept of ‘interbeing’ (350cmW x200cmH)
- Lorraine Shannon—‘Habitat’, an organic sculptural installation of habitats for small native species (approx. 300cm diameter)
- Adrian Gilbert—‘Resonance’, painting expressing immersion in the natural world (150cmWx200cmH)
- Ian Brown, Barbara Lepani & Kayo Yokoyama—‘Dancing with Dakinis’, photographic imagery of the four elements (water, earth, fire, air), wall-stencilled text and floor sculptural elements, inviting visitors to enter into the outer, inner and secret meaning of experiential meditation with the elements, based on Barbara’s long term immersion in Tibetan Buddhist practices (300cmHx250cmW)
- Henryk Topolnicki & Kayo Yokoyama—‘ Chikyu’, a suspended sphere sculpture combining rusted steel and glass referencing the impact of human activity on Planet Earth (100cm diameter)
- Ian Brown & Freya Mathews—‘Praxis: the Way of the Sage’, a video installation that explores the contrast between Western dualism and Daoist worldviews (1.16m W/45” video screen)
- Henryk Topolnicki—‘Contemplation’, five sculptured metal benches in leaf design positioned throughout the exhibition will provide seating for quiet meditative contemplation of the works.
Here are some images of our group’s works with a brief bio beside their names
“Rozanov on Fire”
Henryk Topolnicki—is a graduate of East Sydney Technical College. Influenced by the phenomenology and existentialism of sculptors Alberto Giacometti and Isamu Noguchi and the sculptural geomorphology of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, Henryk works with metal, wood and stone to produce a range of sculptures, both domestic and public art works. His work is exhibited at Gallery H, Dargan and Lost Bear Gallery, Katoomba, with public art installations in numerous locations around Sydney, including Narellan, Wyong, Parramatta and Blacktown. See www.artisanoption.com.au and https://www.galleryh.com.au
John Wolseley—As a Patron of the Wild Mountain Collective and one time resident of Katoomba, John has kindly offered one of his works for this exhibition. One of Australia’s most celebrated landscape artists, John’s artistic practice involves his long-term search to discover how we dwell and move within landscape, combining the eye of the scientist and artist to relate the minutiae of the natural world. Using techniques of watercolour, collage, frottage, nature printing and other methods of direct physical or kinetic contact, John’s art reveals how he has found ways of collaborating with the actual plants, birds, trees, rocks and earth of a particular place. The recent exhibition of his work with Mulkun Wirrpanda, ‘Midawarr/Harvest’ was shown as the National Museum of Australia. His work is also shown in solo exhibitions at Australian Galleries in Melbourne and the Roslyn Oxley Gallery in Sydney, with a new exhibition opening at the Roslyn Oxley on 21 March 2019, exploring the life of insects. His work is represented in many prominent Australian and British collections including: the National Gallery of Australia; Canberra, National Gallery of Victoria; Melbourne, Art Gallery of New South Wales Sydney; Art Gallery of South Australia; Adelaide, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Arts Council of Great Britain; Contemporary Arts Society London; Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston and Hereford Museum and Art Gallery, Hereford. www.johnwolseley.net
Caroline Wilde—is an experienced interior designer, architectural draftsperson and graphic designer who designs art exhibitions and outdoor art events, retail spaces, cafes and restaurants, residential buildings and interior spaces, graphic design including flyers and catalogues, business cards and menus. As a member of the executive of Modern Art Projects Board (MAP) she was involved in the organisation of a number of contemporary art projects. Caroline’s own practice is based in the craft of weaving that incorporates found objects, industrial materials and technology. She weaves in the Saori method, which encourages freedom and creativity in weaving and sees irregularity as “the beauty with lack of intentions created by our natural creativity”. Caroline’s group exhibitions include the Encountering the Wild event, 2018, the SLAB Hazelbrook Blue Mountains 2016 and North Contemporary Art Space, North Sydney 2015 and Woodford Academy, Blue Mountains.
Ian Brown—is a nature photographer whose practice grows from a lifelong immersion in the natural world and an affinity with wild places. All Ian’s work reflects his deep philosophical concern about the future of the natural world and human connectedness to all its manifestations. He has been a finalist four times in the prestigious ANZANG Nature Photographer of the Year, and author of Wild Blue: World Heritage Splendour of the Greater Blue Mountains.
Lorraine Shannon—has a PhD from Trinity College Dublin and from the University of Technology Sydney. She is a landscape gardener-sculptor, academic and nature writer and a long-term member of the Kangaloon Ecologies Group and Association for Literature and the Environment. Her garden design work shows a deep commitment to creating a space that provides habitat for as many species as possible—including a range of insect hotels, nesting boxes, and possum boxes. At present it features several birdbaths, bee baths, designed habitat for skinks and blue tongue lizards and a wide range of insect and bird attracting plants, crafting all these features to also act as interesting and stimulating garden art. Lorraine taught sculptural techniques and craft jewellery-making at the Dun Laoghaire School of Arts in Dublin. In Australia she had a solo exhibition of garden art in Annandale, was awarded several design prizes by Leichhardt Council and worked with students from COFA exploring environmental art at Fowlers Gap research station. Images of her work at Fowlers Gap were exhibited at the UNSW Art and Design Gallery. https://allusivefields.com/author/allusivefields/
Kayo Yokoyama—has a Masters of Fine Arts, University of Sydney. She is a Japanese glass artist who migrated to Australia in 1997, pulled by her fascination with Western culture, vast landscapes and a longing to understand ourselves and where we belong in a global context. Kayo’s work explores the mystery of glass and the creation of a visual language that cannot be expressed in words. She finds working collaboratively with other artists ‘lifts her spirit up’. Her work has been exhibited at numerous solo and group exhibitions at commercial and regional galleries. These include Red Hill Gallery, Brisbane; Lost Bear Gallery, Blue Mountains; SOFA Chicago; Kirra Galleries, Melbourne; Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney; Blue Mountains City Art Gallery and Goulburn Regional Gallery.
Adrian Gilbert—is an alumnus of the National Art School (East Sydney Technical College). Before taking up fulltime art practice, Adrian was the Head of Art & Design at Lithgow TAFE. His studio and en plein air work revolves around analysis and experiments that cultivate the muse, at the same time as saying something about art practice, the landscape, human form and life in general. As well as exhibiting his works in his own gallery at Leura, Adrian has exhibited at Clune Galleries. Barry Sterns, Woollahra Galleries, St George Terrace Gallery, Parramatta and Nolan on Lovel Gallery Katoomba, with solo exhibitions at Gallery 307 Northbridge, Bakehouse Gallery, Patonga and Gosford Regional Art Centre. www.adriangilbertart.com
Finally there were to be two works in which I was collaborating with Ian Brown. One was a series of photographic portraits of our three Patrons: Leanne Tobin, John Wolesley and Freya Mathews, together with the Zen Buddhist master, Thich Nhat Hanh, who first coined the term Interbeing as a way of showing the deeply personal meaning of the Buddhist understanding of the interdependent nature of reality and all lifeforms. The other work was a series of photographic images of the four elements: water, earth, fire and air/wind set against a Tibetan Buddhist practice for directly experiencing our relationship with the elements in the outer world and the inner dynamic of our own subtle energy body. Place on the floor beneath the image was to be a beautifully crafted bowl by Kayo Yokayama, filled with water.
Barbara Lepani—has a MA in Science & Technologies Studies University of Wollongong and is a graduate of the traditional three-year retreat of Tibetan Buddhist practice. Her collaboration on ‘Dancing with Dakinis’ with Ian Brown and Kayo Yokoyama draws on her deep immersion in the experiential Vajrayana practices of the Tibetan tradition. Barbara is a creative animateur, Coordinator of Wild Mountain Collective, editor of its blog, and writer. Her manuscript, Tulkus, Tertons and Turmoil: East Tibet 1855-1955 is currently being translated into Chinese for publication in Taiwan. Barbara’s approach is influenced by her background in pre-industrial cultures through her long-term engagement with the meditative practices and philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism, her work with Aboriginal elder, Tjilpi Bob Randall, for his book, Songman, and time spent in Papua New Guinea, which is reflected in a series of ceramic outdoor sculptures she completed during her MA studies. www.wildmountaincollective.com.au
DANCING WITH DAKINIS
In meditative awareness
I am the secret embodiment of space
In union, inseparable with the dancing Dakini
The dynamic expression of open awareness
Around me are the four classes of Dakini
The inner pure essence of the elements
Earth, Fire, Air, Water
OM MAHA GURU BAM HARINISA HUNG DROOM SVAHA
The environment and beings are freed
Into their true nature
Space and Wisdom Indivisible