Exhibitions / Bundanon Floor to Sky

17.07.2018 to 11.08.2018

JOIN US & THE ARTIST FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THIS EXHIBITION SATURDAY 4 AUGUST 1 - 3PM
This exhibition is an official MELBOURNE ART WEEK event.

The exhibition with be opened by
Deborah Ely, Chief Executive Officer, Bundanon Trust
and Dr Ryan Jefferies Head of Programs, Science Gallery Melbourne

For this extraordinary solo exhibition, winner of the 2017 Eutick Memorial Still Life Award, Gina Kalabishis, presents a new body of work inspired by her residency at Arthur Boyd’s Bundanon property - an experience that allowed her to create and explore in this unique envirnoment. Kalabishis celebrates both this opportunity and the landscape. Utilising the motifs and mythology of Australia’s native flora, and creating compositions inspired by ikebana arrangements, intimate narratives are constructed where the human experience becomes enmeshed with the beauty of nature.

This exhibition is dedicated to the loving memory of historian and writer Inga Clendinnen, AO, FAHA (Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities)
Now I know how I want death to come for me, strolling in the slanting rain of light through eucalyptus leaves, a strip of bark in my fingers, the gurgle of hidden magpies all around. I will say to Death, ‘A moment, friend.’ And then: ‘I’m ready now.’ ”



Catalogue Essay

Dr Ryan Jefferies
Head of Programs, Science Gallery Melbourne

Bundanon means ‘deep valley’ in the language of the Wodi Wodi peoples of the Yuin nations, who as the traditional custodians of the lands, share deep spiritual connections with the fertile valley shaped by the Shoalhaven River. Empathizing with Indigenous culture, artist Arthur Boyd highlighted the human imbalance with this landscape and our ignorance to imminent ecological damage. Boyd developed a passion for environmental protectionism while he lived at Bundanon in New South Wales, where he championed the idea that ‘you can’t own a landscape’. And while this may be true, it is important to acknowledge that we can be part of it.

In ‘Bundanon Floor to Sky’ Gina Kalabishis exquisitely highlights the human connection to the landscape through her bold, immersive artworks that explore the Australian bushland with a visual poetry and scientific eroticism. Her anthropomorphism of the landscape profoundly draws us back into the natural world with deep desire and intrigue. The traces of technological glitches, the merging of seasons and the distortion of scale combine to present a dreamlike timelessness and beautiful warping of reality. Her emotive realism juxtaposes against our growing disconnect and blindness to the ecotopia of nature.

From brush kurrajong to the prehistoric burrawang, the diverse plants of Bundanon are themselves like artworks aesthetically positioned across an outdoor gallery. Their myriad of foliage and flowers presented in a rich spectrum of green and brown hues. Above them, the troposphere illuminated by the bright spotlight of the sun, flickering with the transient seasons. The ever-present human body is often subtlety hinted at by Kalabishis. Bark becomes skin. Sometimes smooth and overtly sexual. Sometimes torn and discarded as if part of an autopsy conducted at the hands of a forensic scientist. The outstretched remains are left decaying back into the earth to nourish a new cycle of growth. A spiral shell that Kalabishis travelled along the winding length of the Shoalhaven River to collect, becomes the landscape’s inner ear. The tiny structures of the auris interna – the cochlea, tympanic membrane and auditory ossicles – become enormously oversized to capture the warm morning songs of tiny passerine birds of the bush. Their voices resonating with a scale much larger than their diminutive selves.

An emotional undercurrent of a lost lover flows through the artist’s work with a raw sexual energy. We cannot help but feel that the forests and scrublands are an absent partner we desire and want back in our lives. Kalabishis clusters native plants and flowers into anatomical ikebana arrangements, emulating lungs, heart and interconnecting vessels. Intertwining branches are lovers embraced. The mirrored lives of people and plants is direct. Flora too is alive. Plants breathe, have sex and need food. They also nourish our own emotional wellbeing. We are therefore products of our environment and our very blood and bones share the same building blocks as the leaves, bark and stems of our native flora. This is an environment where art, science and culture can deeply intertwine as we attempt to understand our place within an existing ecology. An ecology that we often forget as the disconnect between bushland and people widens.

The wonderful legacy of Boyd’s bequest of Bundanon continues with Kalabishis’s beautifully emotive artworks. A gift that extends to the rich creativity that can transpire from our unique landscape and a reminder of our place in the fragile balance of life. At a time when we are becoming increasingly urbanised, Kalabishis superbly places us back in the landscape and we are left lusting for more.


"I gratefully acknowledge the wonderful and enduring support of these organisations and people in my life: The Wodi Wodi of the Yuin Nation, The Bundanon Trust and staff: a heartfelt thank you to Yvonne and Arthur Boyd and Family, Deborah Ely, Julie Ryan, John Baylis, Ralph Dixon, Jennifer Thompson, Charies Matugas, Michael Blount, Gary Hogan, Jim Birkett, Mary Preece and Saskia Vrenegoor. Dr Ryan Jefferies, Hamish Coates, Patricia Coates, Eamon Coates, Alexander Coates, Anya Mckee, Claire Harris, Jenny Collodetti, Michael Varcoe-Cocks, David Keys and Tamara McGuane (Art Spectrum), The Aboriginal Community Elders Services Inc (ACES), Dr Mal Eutick, John McDonald and Dr Leigh Summers (EMSLA).
And the unique flora, fauna and environment of the south coast NSW.
"
Gina Kalabishis 2018

Bundanon Floor to Sky - You are always part of me now (after Van Morrison) 2018 by Gina Kalabishis

Bundanon Floor to Sky - You are always part of me now (after Van Morrison)  2018

oil on linen

215cm x 366cm (triptych)

The Littlest Birds are Listening to You (after the Be Good Tanyas) 2018 by Gina Kalabishis

The Littlest Birds are Listening to You (after the Be Good Tanyas)  2018

oil on linen

214cm x 152cm

Bundanon anew - One more night (After Michael Kiwanuka) 2018 by Gina Kalabishis

Bundanon anew - One more night (After Michael Kiwanuka)  2018

oil on linen

198cm x 152cm

Romeo & Juliet (after Dire Straits) 2018 by Gina Kalabishis

Romeo & Juliet (after Dire Straits)  2018

oil on linen

153cm x 122cm

Claim or Reclaim -Listening Wind (after Talking Heads) 2018 by Gina Kalabishis

Claim or Reclaim -Listening Wind (after Talking Heads)  2018

oil on linen

50cm x 35cm

Buzzin' Fly (After Tim Buckley) 2018 by Gina Kalabishis

Buzzin' Fly (After Tim Buckley)  2018

oil on linen

46cm x 35cm

The Littlest Birds are Listening to You (after the Be Good Tanyas) 2018 by Gina Kalabishis

The Littlest Birds are Listening to You (after the Be Good Tanyas)  2018

Canson rag photo 310gsm fine art print

59cm x 42cm limited edition of 12

3B's No.3 Bundanon - Boyd - Blind 2018 by Gina Kalabishis

3B's No.3 Bundanon - Boyd - Blind  2018

Carbon drawing print on colour fix paper

70cm x 50cm

3B's No.2 Bundanon - Boyd - Blind 2018 by Gina Kalabishis

3B's No.2 Bundanon - Boyd - Blind  2018

Carbon drawing print on colour fix paper

70cm x 50cm

3B's No.1 Bundanon - Boyd - Blind 2018 by Gina Kalabishis

3B's No.1 Bundanon - Boyd - Blind  2018

Carbon drawing print on colour fix paper

70cm x 50cm

3B's No.4 Bundanon - Boyd - Blind 2018 by Gina Kalabishis

3B's No.4 Bundanon - Boyd - Blind  2018

Carbon drawing print on watercolour paper

70cm x 50cm

Bundanon Embrace 2018 by Gina Kalabishis

Bundanon Embrace  2018

Charcoal & Pastel on Mt Gambier Blue Lake Paper

78cm x 57cm

Bundanon Banksias 2018 by Gina Kalabishis

Bundanon Banksias  2018

Charcoal & Pastel on Mt Gambier Blue Lake Paper

56cm x 77cm

What do you say (after Holly Throsby and Mark Kozelek) 2018 by Gina Kalabishis

What do you say (after Holly Throsby and Mark Kozelek)  2018

pastel on colour fix paper

70cm x 50cm

'Passing Pulpit Rock - Distant Sky (After Nick Cave and Else Torp)' 2017 by Gina Kalabishis

'Passing Pulpit Rock - Distant Sky (After Nick Cave and Else Torp)'  2017

oil on linen

124cm x 86cm