Driving has become as consistent to me as brushing the teeth. In the past three years, touring much of the southern half of the continent performing for school students aplenty, I’ve notched up some sixty- thousand kilometers. Remarkably… never once having killed or maimed a mammal.
I do though; have imprinted on my mind innumerable carcasses in various states of decay. Many of which I’d began photographing and sketching, withstanding the harsh aromatic reminders of lifelessness but then… the continuation of life. I’d question myself during such moments of graphic contemplation – ‘is there spirit within this bloated, inverted corpse of the deceased Echidna?’ And then with a closer look, the belly seems writhing with life. Of course there’s spirit as the Blow Flies had earlier ensured there would be.
The gun – barrel highways befit the perfect occasion for conceptualisation. On one drive earlier this year, from Broken Hill to Silverton I’d discovered a freshly hit impressive Red Kangaroo. It was at that moment that I hypothesised this exhibition. Upon the return trip, I began searching for the integral descriptive metaphor to encompass the concept. At that moment, the term ‘ephemeral’ became my travel companion for the many kilometers ahead. The task I’d set was to visually translate ‘demise I decay’ in an appealing way.
A revisit to utilising the spatula seemed apt for a few reasons. Firstly, the stainless blade of the spatula seemed reminiscent of the metal surface responsible for ending the life of the aforementioned fauna. The square edged tool also compliments the blade of the Grader, the pivotal heavy machinery designed to carve the roadways.
Then I’d planned to produce these pieces at a deftly speed, an attributed visual ‘execution’ if you will. This application overlays the tread pattern from a 1960’s ‘cross ply’ tyre symbolising a draconian mentality.
Christianity is arguably the dominant introduced religion now governing the landscape en mass. I’ve referenced verses from the new testament as a superficial homage to each corpse. This not only attributes the pieces with an element of distinct individuality but also acts as a ‘signature’ from a fictitious god. The poignant metaphor here being that we are encouraged to speak the words of a dominant belief and to immerse ourselves within its material favade. And by doing so, the demise of the original spirit of the land will largely go unnoticed by the new worshippers.
Hence I’ve arrived at the exact visual metaphor I’d hoped for. The agonisingly slow culling of native fauna upon the roadways spanning the continent is commensurate to the demise of remaining Aboriginal cultures. Each mammal made deceased by the machines of progress is in fact a totem I spirit I relative of a clans person. By employing found cardboard boxes as my canvas, I challenge the western art establishments anal concerns pertaining archival ‘value’. Red I White & Blue acrylics being the colours of the Empire and it’s wannabe illegitimate colony.
Adam Hill, 2013