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Beauty in the eroded object

Tuesday, 14th May, 2019

Local artist Gritta Walker in front of some of her artworks for her ‘The Shape of Things’ art exhibition.  Picture: Callum Marshall Local artist Gritta Walker in front of some of her artworks for her ‘The Shape of Things’ art exhibition.  Picture: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

An exhibition exploring the natural beauty of erosion and the way time and change affects our environment is currently on display at the Regional Art Gallery.

Titled ‘The Shape of Things’, the exhibition is the work of local artist Gritta Walker, and involves a display of metallic artworks with their decomposition and natural erosion highlighted.

Gritta said change, and how it affects us, animals and the environment, was the main underlying theme of her exhibition.

“The exhibition is a compilation of many months of collecting found objects, here, there and around the place,” she said.

“And I’ve combined these found objects with cast-metals, mainly lead and pewter. 

“So the work is all 3D and it references the environment and changes within it, and the way materials decay and erode.

“And sometimes when these materials are dumped, such as old, metal objects, they seem to have a natural decomposition and return to the earth from where they came.

“So I’m interested in the way time and change affects the environment, and the people and animals within it, and how we cope with that change.”

She said an appreciation for the natural world, our responsibility to it and the emotional connection we have to certain places and locales helped inspire her. 

“I think throughout Australia and the world there’s many examples of destruction of the environment and we’re all somehow, in a way, responsible (for that),” said Gritta.

“So I believe we all have a part to play in trying to right those wrongs.

“I also come from a farm which the family has been in since the 1800s, and it’s about to be sold.

“And there’s this huge emotional pull that I feel for that place because as a kid I ran around it, I knew all the tracks and bits of bush, as well as all the plants and the creek.

“It’s a small little area of a couple hundred acres, and (I was just) one person who felt attached to that land.

“And that made me think of other people who have been on places much longer and the way that we’re all intensely affected when things change.”

Drastic change was what interested her.

“When change is put upon people and it’s so dramatic, there’s this grief that people have,” said Gritta.

“It’s not just a yearning for the natural world but the place you know, your home.

“And it’s not evolutionary changes but the more dramatic ones that interest me.

“So I’m contrasting the look of the way metals erode rather slowly, and it seems to be a natural progression, with the other more dramatic changes.

“The shock that occurs and the reverberations throughout the natural world when those changes happen, including for us people.

As for the all the items used in the exhibition, Gritta said she spent a lot of time looking around for discarded objects.

“I’ve mainly uses wire and tin (in the artworks), and bits of steel because they rust up very well,” she said.

“Some of the rusted items I’ve sat in water for many months and they’ve got a really nice colour about them now.

“And it’s mainly those found objects that I’m drawn to, the ones that are most common in the bush or in dumps.

“But there’s also shards of glass and old ceramics, remnants of people’s lives.

“And by joining these pieces of found objects with casts of pewter or lead, it’s also a little nod to the local industry as well.”

‘The Shape of Things’ exhibition will run until Sunday, July 15, 6pm.

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