My response to the theme of ‘transplanting environmental activism into the gallery space’ was to explore the patterns and relationships between the macro and the micro as they exist within the environment. I began by researching aspects of coal mining; how our consumerism has changed the contours of the land and other natural elements. This, however, led me to inquire into what was right outside my front door, namely the Manea Park Reserve. A fragile ecosystem that sits precariously between residential and industrial areas, Manea Park is home to several species of native plants that are exclusive to this region. Watching a large 4WD vehicle go screaming through the reserve recently on a family joyride highlighted the importance of raising my voice to help protect this ecosystem.
The artwork produced here is a series of abstract and semi-abstract works based on the natural elements of the Reserve. Nature is often ambiguous, it is important to look at patterns to determine what is going on with her and I have tried to emulate this in my work. I have used pattern and layers of pattern to demonstrate links and connectedness within ecosystems. The artworks are small, intimate images of elements that make up the ‘bigger picture’. I have used Artline pen, watercolour blender pens, linocut prints and hand-stitching as these mediums allowed for intricate line-work. The techniques used provided a meditative experience by repetitive pattern-making on a small scale, while at the same time exploring larger issues.
Leanne Robertson, Untitled Series, pen, watercolour, ink, lino cut prints, and stitching on paper
These photographs document a selection of patterns found in Manea Park, that have informed Leanne’s artworks