A Transient Landscape: Wild Garden & Earth Stories 2021

A Transient Landscape: Wild Garden & Earth Stories

ArtGeo, Busselton, Western Australia
27th May - 14th July 2021

Two distinct bodies of work; the first, an exhibition of rustic jewellery, wall works and sculptures reflecting the layers of impermanence of our impact on the landscape.  The second, in the larger gallery space is an immersive installation of menacing overgrown wire plants that have escaped the confines of the household garden into the southwest forests.

Wild Garden

“Weeds of wire” is a simple way to describe this installation, I have used these rope-like knitted forms to show how strong and tough these plants are and how hard they are to eradicate, sort of like pieces of wire on the farm, you will find them everywhere if you are not careful with the offcuts!

While being sensuous in form, I wanted the sculptures convey a sinister and menacing manner, reflecting the environmental problem they have become.

Arum Lilies are vigorous growing, they are very attractive and perhaps this is one of the reasons they have become widespread. People desire them in their gardens, and they grow really well, too well, then need to be divided or dug out and wherever these plants are dumped they start growing.

The lacy delicate exotic green foliage, attractive white flowers and plump red berries of Bridal Creeper enticing you to plant it in the garden.

It’s wiry resilience, establishing its stranglehold on the environment, twisting, tangling and climbing its way, further expanding the infestation.

Unseen, underground tubers and rhizomes link together, a dense mat endlessly multiplying. The seed dispersal by birds, foxes, and rabbits giving rise to new patches of these insidious weeds.

The creeper drapes and veils native plants.

Native plants, no longer there.

Earth Stories

I grew up on a farm in the eastern wheatbelt. Just outside the house yard fence was the graveyard of all the farm machinery since settlement of the land.

“This amazing playground was my favourite place to be. I could be found fossicking through selecting the things to play and build with. My three brothers and I dragged header separators, sieves, scarifier tynes, and sets of combine points behind our bikes down to the bush patch and made little farms and cubby houses.  Bind-a-twine and wheel spokes were used to make fences. Discarded china, old bottles and tins were placed in our cubbies amongst the Mallee and Sheoak trees. We ‘styled’ with the wildflowers from the bush and swept paths with Teatree brooms.”

“Much to Mum’s despair, I gathered old bottles, glass, sticks, seeds, leaves, stones as well as metal and welding rods ends from the workshop. Hauling them all back home I hid them under my bed. Eventually she gave me a cupboard to house and contain my collections! I still like to pick up these things wherever I go, like a bowerbird as Dad says. They are signifiers of the recollection of a certain place for me.”

Recently I have begun to make jewellery, objects and little landscapes with these precious holders of memories. Seeds and nuts rocks and glass, combined with steel wire and metal, these rustic and raw pieces reflect my travels and lived heritage. These fragments of nature and human artefacts hint of stories of their use or inspire me with their perfectness. I have used humble cold joins and wire forming techniques to emphasise the collected pieces and honour their past life.”

View the full range of Tania Spencer's artwork available for purchase.