The Vault, Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery
Exhibition 2 June - 11 July 2010
Being presented with an opportunity to exhibit in the Vault, I delved into the history of the space with its previous use as a bank vault and discovered parallels between bank vaults and caves. Over the ages, caves, caverns and grottoes have been used for storage, shelter, ceremonial and religious purposes and hold an important place in art history with cave paintings considered to be the earliest forms of art. The small enclosed spaces of caves and bank vaults, with their high ceilings, have both been considered to be secure places. Bank vaults have historically stored valuables, protecting their contents from theft, natural disasters and other threats just as items were similarly placed in caves for protection from the climate and scavenging animals.
This installation transforms the Vault into a contemporary cave but the artwork presented however is not created from a valuable material but instead its opposite - dishcloth sponge, commonly disposed of when used.
With a constant, slightly cold temperature, just like art galleries, caves often house stalactites and stalagmites. These formations in this fragile ecosystem grow slowly from mineral deposits in water rich in carbon dioxide and the stalagmites and stalactites in this installation question the rising levels of CO2 on the planet. Natural stalactites and stalagmites grow and form as individual drops of water slowly descend from the ceiling - elongating the stalactites (from the Greek word for drip) and heightening the stalagmites (the Greek word for drop). A symbolism has evolved in my art practice of sponge sink plugs representing single drops of water and sponge sink plugs here grow into the stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Grottoes are another type of cave. Small and beautiful, these spaces are often filled with sculptures housed in small cavities in the cavern walls. In this installation, these sculptures take the form of a collection of random everyday objects from contemporary society.
A direct response to the history of the Vault, Drop reinterprets the space by referencing parallels between bank vaults, caves and art practice.