It was a strange coincidence to visit this beautiful exhibition on the day after the beginnings of the worst bushfires in NSW for a decade or so… the colourings of Belinda Esperson’s ‘Raw Detail’ ghostly display immediately connected in my mind to the devastation after a bushfire – the white ash, the blackened edges…
That’s in no way meant to take away from the beautiful work – it’s just the way my mind was working today.
Gum nuts are my favourite Australian flora, and are used to exceptional effect here. Sometimes the pieces were so camouflaged and hidden that the only way to find them in the vitrine was to use the identifying item-number near the ledge as a location pointer. I liked this aspect; I became a little more engaged with them, and the viewing became more like a kind of bush treasure-hunting.
Even prior to reading the exhibition media description, the inspiration and importance of the bush to Belinda’s practice was clear.
Exhibition media: “Raw Detail shows Belinda Esperson’s work in the context of its inspiration – the stark beauty of the dry Australian bush. Her jewellery captures the essence of the bush: the detail, fragments, tones, forms and textures and a sense of weathering integral to this environment, without replicating specific objects.“
“This exhibition has been inspired by two recent experiences: a camping trip to the outback of the dry tropics of Cape York Peninsula and the photographic exhibition Aftermath by John Gollings at the McClelland Gallery near Melbourne, depicting graphic aerial images of the devastated landscape left by the Black Saturday fires of 2009.“
I hadn’t read the above before writing my introduction text to this post; I now understand why the connection was so immediate for me, and in a way it’s a relief that my interpretation wasn’t out of line.
Lately I’ve found myself tending towards delicate jewellery, those with a light touch … and so I was most attracted to the little forged and wrapped rings.
The neckpieces are quite lovely and displayed with impact in the windows of the gallery (unfortunately I found it difficult to get a good photograph due to reflections and such).
‘Raw Detail‘ is at Pieces of Eight until 9th November 2013.