Rough and Cut documents four years journeying into central Australia to a place called Coober Pedy. The town owes its existence to the discovery of opal seams in 1915, an iridescent gemstone that came to existence from the water that once covered this desert scape. This precious opal has been mined through a series of boom & busts, almost into oblivion. Beyond the mullock heaps and away from the sun’s searing heat lies the underground dugouts inhabited by the last of the miners still dreaming of one last opal-rich strike. Keeping the idiosyncrasies of the town’s personality alive and well, the encounters are an insight into the characters that call this place a forever home. Captured are the remnants of this magnetic, surreal landscape shaped by its extremities. We are faced with a seeming wasteland formed by remoteness, isolation, and finite resources, and we are reminded of our delicate place in the natural world relentlessly evolving through climate change.
– Abigail Varney
Open Sky is a series of exhibitions showcased in Kelly’s Garden, presented on the land of the traditional owners, the muwinina people. In Varney’s Rough & Cut series she explores the notion of excavating and shifting landscape, and the remnants that are left behind. Echoing these changed landscapes of Coober Pedy we look to Kelly’s Garden, post invasion where Varney’s work is placed. The exposed rock walls that sit within the Salamanca precinct show the impact of colonisation on the natural environment. A reminder of the layers that are beneath our feet and the rich histories that have come before us.
Abigail Varney (b. 1986) is a portrait and documentary photographer based in Melbourne (Naarm), Australia. Her work predominantly evolves from her curiosity and connection to Australia’s land, people and ecology; to explore untold stories that give light to the vivid and complex lives in Australia. Her work is more recently moving back even closer to home, working with family archives and stories that centre her community and family.
She has completed a Bachelor of Arts, at Deakin University and an Advanced Diploma at the Photography Studies College. In 2014 her portrait series was featured at the National Portrait Gallery. In 2020 she became a member of the photography collective Oculi. Her long-term documentary project Rough & Cut (2014–2018), has been exhibited in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra, as well as overseas. Rough & Cut will be her first publication with Trespasser, an independent Texas based publisher releasing in November of 2022.
Infliction defines itself between a reconstructed ruin and a reclamation of culture, archives, and materiality. In re-forming these structures that have been lost, the works looks forward, constructing staunch architectural forms that have never existed within lutruwita.
These roughcast structures fulfill the duty of representing my place, my family storyline, and serve as a residence for everything ‘inherent’. Further these constructions have become a beacon for unknown ancestors to gather, a landmark for dialogue around losses of indigenous origin and place, and an expression of transgenerational emotions that are rooted in the dark and violent past of Tasmania’s colonisation.
Jordan Cowen is an indigenous multi-disciplinary contemporary artist/designer based on Muwinina Country. His artistic expressions over time have become grunge yet direct in aesthetics. Jordan composes works through processes of construction, destruction, decay, and reclamation. His practice has expanded from a continuous inspiration of ruins, archives, street art, and nipaluna’s urban environments. Grasping on topics that connect/concern culture, displacement, and temporality of place.
Open Sky / Kelly’s Garden is a new and exciting program of curated exhibitions and events presented by Salamanca Arts Centre. This program encourages artists to explore the notions of place and the role of art in the public realm.
The 2022 Program has been curated by Ainslie Macaulay.
Thursday 7 April – Sunday 26 June 2022 This exhibition is part of the OPEN SKY / Kelly’s Garden 2022 program Curated by Ainslie Macaulay
Opening event 7 April 2022 6pm – 8pm
Workshop Sunday 10 April 2022
Panel Talk Monday 11 April, 5:30pm-6:30pm ‘Dance in Urban Media Art’ Wendy Yu in conversation with with Emma Porteus and Adam Wheeler
Acts of Holding Dance has its first Tasmanian iteration in Kelly’s Garden, presented by Salamanca Arts Centre. Emerging interdisciplinary artist, Wendy Yu playfully responds to site through her large-scale video work and image stills, cleverly merging dance, computational design and urban media.
Yu talk about her process:
‘When making these projections, I’m “soft” choreographing, where I give scores and choreographic structures to the dancers that encourage them to move within these given boundaries, but in doing so there is also space within these scores that allow for them to impart their own individualistic styles of dancing. In constructing this series of work, I want to be authentically reflecting the individual’s practise of dance, as a dedicated artform, that the dancer has invested in’
Wendy Yu Artist
Wendy Yu is an interdisciplinary artist actively practising in the fields of dance and urban media placemaking. She is a Masters graduate in Interaction Design and Electronic Arts at the University of Sydney and intends to further her research on creative interfaces between dance and city spaces through further research.
Her works of urban media placemaking have seen installation in Atlanta USA, the Powerhouse Museum Sydney, Carriageworks, the Inner West City Council, Woollahra City Council, numerous arts festivals in Sydney, Melbourne, Poland, St. Petersburg, Beijing, Berlin, including Beijing Tech Arts Festival 2021, where she also gave a lecture on dance and computational design.
Wendy has also given lectures of dance and computational and interface design in Berlin as part of Stammtisch Arts Festival, Melbourne as part of Lucy Guerin and Temperance Hall, Sydney as part of Ausdance Australia and March Dance Festival.
Wendy Yu has undergone residencies with the Municipality of Woollahra, the Inner West City Council, Ausdance dance artist in residence residency program, March dance residency program, Bundanon residency program, Centre for Projection art residency etc. where she conducted theoretical research dance’s position in urban media art.
Bethany Reece (she/her) Dancer
Bethany is a contemporary dance artist born in lutruwita/Tasmania. She began her training in 2016 at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). In 2018 Bethany was awarded the Palisade award for ‘most outstanding graduate’. Throughout her studies Bethany travelled to Taiwan as an exchange student with the Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA) in 2017, and the following year toured the works The Resistance and Panthea by Brooke Leeder and Natalie Allen. In the same year Bethany staged her first choreographic work, This Transitory Weight. In 2019 Bethany was awarded a Bachelor of Arts (Dance) with First Class Honours from WAAPA and was a member of LINK Dance Company under the directorship of Michael Whaites. In her time with LINK she performed in works choreographed by Niv Marinberg, Scott Elstermann, Raewyn Hill, and Michael Whaites, and toured both nationally and internationally.
In 2020 Bethany became a developing artist with Co:3 Australia, and worked as an understudy for the production of Leviathan, a collaborative work with Circa performing both Leviathan and Stephanie Lake’s Colossus in Perth Festival 2020. Bethany has since returned to build her practice in lutruwita/Tasmania. Bethany received a Regional Arts Fellowship in 2020 to develop a new work that is in continued development. In 2021 Bethany was a collaborative choreographer on DRILL’s Leviathan, and dance artist with Second Echo Ensemble in the development of Charlie Smith’s Outside Boy. Bethany also worked as a performing artist in the Faro Experience at MONA in 2021, and as a casual lecturer delivering the unit Movement For Performers at the University of Tasmania. In 2022 Bethany performed in Rachel Ogle’s And The Earth Will Swallow Them Whole in the Perth Festival to great critical acclaim. Bethany is invested in work that is community centred, inclusive and has a social justice focus. Bethany believes dance has the ability to inspire a sense of belonging, and she is passionate about sharing this experience with dancers and nondancers alike.
Kyall Shanks Dancer
Kyall is a Naarm/Melbourne based contemporary dance artist. His career has focused on finding a balance between performance, choreography and teaching work, and he is passionate about using the skills from these areas to increase the accessibility of dance through youth and community work. Since receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts Dance from the Victorian College of the Arts he has danced for Tasdance, Antony Hamilton Projects, Chunky Move, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Opera Australia, The Delta Project and Liquidskin Dance Company. In 2017-2018 Kyall undertook an 8 month international residency program with DanceBox in Kobe, Japan, and then spent 3 months in Sweden as a member of ilYoung 2018. Through various programs and projects Kyall has engaged with community youth groups and schools as a teacher and choreographer, examples of this being the Arts Centre Melbourne/Matthew Bourne ‘Lord Of The Flies’ project, the 2019 Dance Massive work ‘Simulcast’ and Stephanie Lake’s 2020 mass community work/film ‘Multiply’. He works as Artistic Director to preprofessional youth dance company Yellow Wheel and through teaching work has represented the Victorian College of the Arts, Chunky Move, Ausdance Victoria, Arts Centre Melbourne, DRILL, Transit Dance and The Space Dance and Arts Centre.
Emma Porteus Panel facilitator: ‘Dance in Urban Media Art’
Emma holds a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts (Honours). She believes deeply in the positive power of art to transform individuals and communities positively. Emma has over 15 years’ experience working as a performance-maker and producer of dance, community, and festival projects throughout Australia and internationally, including with Vrystaat Festival (South Africa), ANTI Festival (Finland), Sydney Festival (NSW), Dancehouse, FOLA, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Next Wave (Vic), Tracks (NT), Dark Mofo, Mona Foma, Tasdance, Ten Days on the Island, Festival of Voices, Junction Arts Festival, and Tasmania Performs (Tas). In her current role as Executive Producer of Situate Art in Festivals, she is really interested in performance and art-making models that connect people and places. She helps artists create and produce tourable live, visual art, and festival events that can be delivered in any community, in any country, to produce rich experiences that speak directly to the place, the people, and communities who help create it.
Adam Wheeler Panel facilitator: ‘Dance in Urban Media Art’
Adam is a Tasmanian born, Stompin and Victorian College of the Arts Alumni. Adam has performed for Chunky Move, Jo Lloyd, Circa Nica, 2NDTOE and Opera Australia and has made work for Lucy Guerin Inc (Pieces for Small Spaces), Stompin, QL2, Steps Youth Dance Company, fLing Physical Theatre, Tasdance and Chunky Move. As an Artistic Director, founded Yellow Wheel and 2NDTOE. Led AYDF in 2014 and 2017, The Space School of Performance Arts, Short+Sweet Dance and is currently the Artistic Director of Tasdance. Adam is curious about interdisciplinary making, providing pathways for artists to develop practice, and getting the community moving – all from his regional home of lutruwita/Tasmania.
Credits Dancers | Bethany Reece | Kyall Shanks
The Open Sky/Kelly’s Garden 2022 program is supported by the Commonwealth Government’s Office of the Arts via the RISE Fund.
Thursday 20 January- Sunday 27 March 2022 This exhibition is part of the OPEN SKY / Kelly’s Garden 2022 program Curated by Ainslie Macaulay
Closing Event 23 March 2022 5.30pm – 7pm
Jake Walker will present a group of ambiguous ceramic objects, alluding to keys, paintings and alternate realities.
Grog: a granular material that has been crushed down from brick, refractory rock, or other pre-fired ceramic product and added to clay to give textures, reduce shrinkage during firing, help the clay to form uniformly and stop cracking and warping when being fired.
Grog; a strong alcoholic drink, originally rum , mixed with water
Jake Walker was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia in 2000. His practice is inextricably linked to the natural and cultural landscapes of New Zealand. Walker admits that as a child he ‘didn’t really know there were too many other kinds of painting’ aside from landscapes. His works are constantly shifting and revisited after some time, with chance and instinct at the core of his working practice. Sometimes this results in works of ‘weightlessness of accident and incident.’ Exploring themes of modernist architecture and abstract perspectives, Walker’s free and loose sense of play embraces material forms. Walker sees paintings as objects, not flat two-dimensional images. This openness to experimental processes has led to a series of works using clay- painterly forms and stoneware frames that lead from one thing, to another.