Algalrhythms - Life Movements
King Island Cultural Centre 2021, Warwick Regional Gallery 2022, Gympie Regional Art Gallery 2022, Lockyer Regional Art Gallery 2023, Dogwood Crossing 2023/24
Algalrhythms is a body of new work resulting from Svenja’s five-week residency on King Island in December, 2019. Her first solo exhibition, it also marks a dramatic shift in her practice from a decade working in wearable art, to creating low-relief sculptural panels, paintings, and digital and lino prints.
The King Island Residency was undertaken at an apocalyptic-seeming time - 2019 had been a year of Trump, #metoo, Greta Thunberg, endless gun violence, war and terrorism, culminating in the epic fires burning in Australia. Little did we know what was yet to come.
The physical evidence of decaying flora and fauna grounded me in the simplicity and biological truth of the eternal life-cycle – what is sometimes referred to as biophilia - "the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life." Most often, the detritus was left on the shore in a wreath-like form – later I connected this to the use of the wreath in funeral rites, and as a symbol of eternal life.
In the spirit of biophilia, the contemplation of death as part of the life cycle helps affirm our place in the natural world. Beauty can be found in every part of this cycle. At a time of global trauma and uncertainty, I found this grounding and comforting. There was a sense of peace and beauty in this detritus, these memorials of movement and life as they transitioned from vibrant, colourful tableaus to hardened, dried crusts – beautiful at every stage.
In creating the work for Algalrhythms I have largely created wreath-shaped assemblages in textiles using many techniques – dyeing (both silk and polyester), free-motion embroidery, leather moulding, hand embroidery, silk paper, watercolour on fabric, Tyvek, botanical dyeing, heat distortion, needle and wet-felting, acrylic on canvas, and 3D printing pen.
This body of work is an ode to biophilia, the cycle of life, the beauty and power of nature, and our place within it.
Each lino print is unique, and made on quality paper such as BFK Rives (most prints), Arches (large gold on white prints) or Stonehenge (black).
King Island Cultural CentreOctober 15 – November 15 2021
Warwick Regional Art Gallery January 6 – February 12 2022
Gympie Regional Art Gallery March 17 – April 14 2022
Lockyer Valley Regional Art Gallery February 10 - March 26 2023
Dogwood Crossing Regional Art Gallery November 18 2023 - January 27 2024