Craft show reveals ‘deep veins of shared philosophy’

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Wendy Teakel, “Earth Basket IV” 2020, wood, sisal, rusted wire, paint, pastel. Photo: David Paterson.

Craft / “Intersections”. Janet DeBoos and Wendy Teakel. At Craft ACT Craft + Design Centre, Civic. Until March 20. Reviewed by MEREDITH HINCHLIFFE.

LANDSCAPE is a well-travelled subject for artists, all artists approach it uniquely and reveal an unseen aspect.

Two senior female artists participated in an excursion on the Bundian Way. Their discussions along the way led them to working together to draw on their appreciation of the landscape and to this exhibition. Their starting point was a book titled “A Field Guide to Getting Lost” by Rebecca Solnit, a metaphor for going into the unknown, into the dark: of letting go and losing oneself.

At first glance, Teakel and DeBoos work in entirely different materials, creating different objects. They share an appreciation of the bush, of the vegetation, and a sense of loss through fire and human destruction.

Janet DeBoos, Meiping vase, 2021. Photo: Art Atelier.

Several pieces of DeBoos’ show a personal sense of loss, too, of what covid has brought to her regular and frequent travels to China to make and decorate her fine porcelain. She is conscious that it will be some time before she can return to work with her friends and colleagues.

The “Fading Series”, bears what the director of CMAG Dr Sarah Schmidt – who opened the exhibition – describes as a “mournful erasure”. “Meiping Vase” (Fading series), is a typical form. It would have had a highly gloss exterior, with precise and colourful surface decoration. The eroded surface gives the piece a look of having been survived the harsh ravages of exposure to the environment.

One work “Bush Place (Two Kinds of Containment)” is a partly collaborative piece identified as being by DeBoos, and “collaborative construction with WT”. The form is a shallow elongated container suggestive of several “Earth Baskets” by Wendy Teakel. The use of whipper-snipper cord refers to DeBoos’ method of marking out the land on which she lives and works.

Teakel uses rusted wire to create the evocative “Earth Baskets”, with found wooden handles. Tufts of sisal poke out from the painted wood. She calls on her memories of travelling to DeBoos’ property for a series titled “Memory”. The road, the dam, paddocks, are depicted in acrylic and pokerwork on birch ply in several pieces that hang: “Memory, Janet’s Road”, “On Dusk, Memory”.

These two artists have found deep veins of shared philosophy and awareness and understanding. I found it a very moving exhibition and urge readers to visit it.

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