This weekend, 21st and 22nd May, I am in Warrnambool (in south-west Victoria at the end of the Great Ocean Road) where the regional Art Gallery has an auditing project and exhibition in progress. 

All the works of the permanent collection were removed from the walls and then, over four months from 26th February until 8th June, have been progressively re-hung in the 'salon style'. Local artists and groups have been invited to make new artwork in response to items in the permanent collection in a series of events called the WAG Cycle * . 

I have been invited to create an installation and have chosen a small oil, the second study for, The Arrow Carriers * , by the Australian artist Jeffrey Smart.

When I arrived here I discovered the painting had been chosen as the publicity image for the gallery. 

Jeffrey Smart’s work usually focuses on the geometry of manmade structures. He refines his work by removing extraneous elements and creating pared back, surreal images, usually with dissociated-looking human figures in them. I titled the installation Somewhat Bent, referring to Smart’s memoir Not Quite Straight. In the installation the manmade elements are receding and being dominated by the elements of the natural world.

The next couple of photos are of the preparation of materials. I used painted stems of dried agapanthus from which I created geometric forms ...

...and dried branches of tortuous willow. I also created replicas of the directional arrows in the painting.

I was able to select a site for the installation and discovered an almost invisible shelf, 2.8m above the doorways in the foyer that lead into the two principal galleries. The ceiling of the foyer is a gable and is indirectly lit by a hidden window above the shelf.

The scissor lift didn't work so I used a very tall step ladder when fixing the materials on the shelf.

This shows the general view from the foyer. The permanent collection is being re-hung in the gallery on the right, as indicated by the arrow projecting below the lintel.

I deliberately had elements of the installation project below the lintel and above into the light well. Because the branches were leaning forward they did not cast shadows and the wall behind seemed to disappear into infinity.

Detail of the left...

...and righthand side of the installation.

For those of you who use Facebook you might want to check the gallery's page at: Warrnambool Art Gallery * .

I would also like to draw your attention to the photos from the Ikebana International * workshop in Melbourne held on 16th May.

Greetings from Christopher
22nd May 2016

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