Each to Each: responses to the poetry of Nathan Curnow

Each to Each Ballarat art exhibition

Ballarat’s artists have come together to create works that respond to poems by renowned writer Nathan Curnow. These diverse and extraordinary works not only serve as a smorgasbord of creative talent in Ballarat but explore how a collection of artists individually respond to the one stimulus. An exhibition incorporating dance, theatre, photography, painting, music, graphic art and installation.

Presented by Weave Length Productions, curated by Abbie Matthews, this eclectic mix of live performance and two and three-dimensional works will push the boundaries of the traditional exhibition experience.

Opened by Melbourne Spoken Word legend, Sean M Whelan.

Artists: Michelle Dunn, Hap Hayward, Aldona Kmiec, Niki Lakerink, Fionnuala McKenna, Sam O’Brien, Alison Shirley, Abbie Matthews, Lee Taylor and Amy Tsilemanis.

11th April-4th May
Opening night 11th April at 6pm, Wolveschildren Art Space Humffray St Nth

Artist Statement

For me, Nathan’s poetry evokes a great many sensations related to past moments and past experiences, little slices of the remembered, reconstructed through words. The world brought to life through Nathan’s poetry is one infused with memory and with the feeling of that which is past. Within his work there is the sense that past moments cannot be re-lived, only revisited with reference to that which is remembered.

In The Hallway, the poet seems to ask the question, why is it that when powerful memories persist in the present, drawing us back to a different time, why are we unable to connect in the present to those with whom we shared those moments. Here we also encounter the sense of forever, the sense of eternity that is so overwhelming, but also so momentary, so fleeting.

In my art process I’m also attempting to capture something that triggers memories of place. Thus, in this context I choose two images entitled, Paris & Flies.

For me, a photograph can have so much meaning beyond that which is visible, a captured moment from a time that is no more, from a present that has faded into past.

Nathan’s poem Blessing is again about a remembered moment where life seems unjust and indifferent as it dies and decays and is then consumed by other life. The encounter he describes is a complete realisation for one who is capable of reflection. As humans we fear darkness, we want always to bring light to the darkness. In the context of the title of Nathan’s work, the blessing comes as the realisation that sometimes we need to face the darkness, we need it as much as we need the light. We need to see life and death with clarity so as to realise the harmony and perfection within. 

The image titled Flies portrays a close up portrait of a tourist visiting one of the greatest sightseeing places in Australia, Great Ocean Road. Flies cover his shirt and one of them is sitting on his chin. He doesn’t know that but I have already seen it and took a picture of it.

Surrounded by people, yet he is isolated from the background and other tourists and his mind appears to be consumed by something I will never ever find out… But to me it’s enough. I am drawn to the connection between that something and the flies. His eyes and the oblivious flies tell me the story.

Often when I connect with a place or a person, there is something visible there that draws me in, a feeling that is unknowable. It is a feeling or a sense of something, which belongs to certain place in time when I’m relaxed, focused and my mind is tuned in to observe. It’s as if there may be past memories associated with these places or people yet somehow you can’t access them. Often I can’t seem to explain why I need to capture it, but I do, I must, it calls me towards it. It is this necessity to capture this instance of life that I feel I share with the poet.

Aldona Kmiec, April 7th, 2014