ephemeral: lessons in grief

Greer Taylor, ephemeral: lessons in grief, exhibition view at Shoalhaven Regional Gallery
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This exhibition was installed in the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery’s Access Gallery, it included small scale installations, images of ephemeral artworks and poetry.

Exhibition Statement:

The idea and actuality of ephemeral embeds grief for that which is lost: be it our lives, a tree, a species, our planet.

I have come to understand that grief is a powerful enabler as it teaches us what we love. It teach us that we will lose things we hold dear. It also teaches us that we must proceed and we must remain proactive in the face of loss.

Each of the works in this exhibition have been made from items found in nature — the images are of works made directly in nature from things found around me on the day, while the other works bring items from nature into the gallery in combination with human made — each is a discussion about ephemerality 1 the life-death-life cycle that we are all part of 1 that we must be part of — that we must acknowledge we are part of – a reality we must embed in our very beings.

artwork details can be seen in the image captions
click on images to see larger versions and captions

click on images to see larger versions

In our troubled times grief will travel with us and by befriending it, we will find salve and enablement to navigate the consequences of our inadequate custodianship of this planet: loss of species, animals, fish, trees, plants… To know what we love enough to be inspired to let go of our current way of life (to allow it to be ephemeral — to pass from us), to actively seek  a life for each one of us and our communities, of reciprocity with nature’s ephemerality.

I also created a small booklet for the exhibition which you can view HERE.

Works in exhibition statements:

our planet runs on eons old mechanism of interconnectedness, the spread of connections between living things of all species, allowing it to perpetuate a system of connections that are extraordinarily robust and ongoing  if it is allowed to thrive but extremely easily damaged if interfered with. This work acknowledges the fine line between robustness and fragility – if only small parts are damaged it will, like our planet be at risk of disintegrating.

sleeping leaves  (tears for lost trees)
one of my first memories in this life is being taken for a walk by my father through a grove of wonderfully tall Sydney Blue Gums not far from where we lived.  I have been in love with trees ever since – I am sure that the nutrients that make up me now have at some point been part of a tree.

This work is a lament for the all too many trees that have been lost.

Trees lost out of fear of bush fire or falling limbs, claiming views, profit and in the name of ‘progress’ – to the steady creep of climate change.

As we look across the from the perceived high ground of our present to the high ground of our past in between is a valley filled with tears of loss for all that is ephemeral and being hastened to its end before it time was to come.

return : wire brush
ephemerality is a ‘return’ of something to another form, its atoms being assembled into something else – perhaps a descendant of its current from, perhaps something completely different.

In this work a simple wire brush handle, made of wood is returned to its connection with a tree, sprouting twigs instead of wire, here held bracketed in a nest of parenthesis fashioned from the back of a discarded wooden chair. It can though, never be tree again unless it is allowed to decay into the ground where it may one day return to the living force that is tree.

images of ephemeral works in nature
These works are never planned, I am drawn into make them by the moment, like a choreographer drawn to create an impromptu dance. They like a dance, exist for only a short time before being blown away on the next current, on their journey to become something else, having enriched that moment in time…  and due to the magic of photography captured in the blink of a camera lens.

here you stand
A reminder of our own ephemerality, an encouragement to allow grief to teach you what you truly love — this is where the dance of life is found.

This text work painted directly onto the gallery wall will be made ephemeral at the end of the exhibition painted over  to allow for the birth of the next exhibition.

stick voices
This work created by Brent Williams to accompany one of my works in an exhibition in Melbourne  — all the sounds are made with sticks… it played in the background in gallery all through the exhibition.

the floor
The floor of the gallery became an artwork in itself — I chose to cover the floor with butcher paper to change the sound of visitor’s footsteps as they stepped into the gallery. Over the two month exhibition it ripped and tore as it interacted with visitors — this interaction was more beautiful that I could have expected — it become so very much like the floor of a forest.