Art inside the volcano

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IF you were looking for a new name that would sum up all that is exciting and dynamic, you could hardly go past the word “Volcano”.

That’s exactly where former Canberra artist Caitlin de Berigny Wall stopped when she decided that her name was far too complicated and that she would adopt as an artistic name, “Volcano” spelt backwards.

These days, after a long period of study at the ANU, two universities in France and the University of Canberra, where she took out her doctorate, she is known as Dr onacloV.

Now she works as a researcher and lecturer in the Design Lab at the University of Sydney, teaching courses in Digital Design Studio and Representation and additionally has a growing international career as an artist. She received the 2008 “Excellence in Teaching and Community Award” from the Co-Op Bookshop and the University of Sydney for her teaching Unit: Digital Video Design and Production, in which she taught students how to create three-minute digital documentaries.

In 2010, resulting from her research project called “InterANTARCTICA”, she created a permanent interactive museum installation involving multi-modal, sight-sound-touch experiences for the Tasmanian Museum and Gallery and she has recently returned home to stage an exhibition at the ANCA gallery in Dickson.

onacloV joins a growing list of artists concerned with the relationship between science and art. In this new exhibition titled “Underwater Abstraction”, she takes up environmental issues which she says have been a theme in her work for the past 15 years, aiming to raise awareness of climate change as seen in the Great Barrier Reef , seriously affected, she says, by pollution and rises in ocean temperatures.

Together with American marine biologist, Erika Woolsey, she went to One Tree Island and Lizard Island on the reef, where she shot underwater photographs of the marine environment.

While initially the photographs may appear to be abstract, onacloV reworked the extract background by painting dots, to represent the patterns seen on the surfaces of corals.

In doing so, she says, she has been influenced by “the plenitude of patterns” seen in the art of the late Aboriginal painter Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

“Underwater Abstraction” is at ANCA Gallery, 1 Rosevear Place Dickson until February 12, Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5pm. The exhibition will travel to Berlin in December.


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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor


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