Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cane Toad Narrative
(Exhibition - ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions)

Helen Lancaster (Australia)

This blogspot contains posts of artworks that have featured in my curated international exhibition - ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions. For your convenience I have listed these posts below.
ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions (Marie-Therese Wisniowski - Curator's Talk)
Sequestration of CO2 (Engaging New Visions) M-T. Wisniowski
Sacred Planet I (Engaging New Visions) J. Dunnewold
Under Pressure (Engaging New Visions) L.A. Beehler
lo Rising II & Giza (Engaging New Visions) R. Benson
Etruscan Relic (Engaging New Vision) J. Raffer Beck
Catch The Light 1 & 2 (Engaging New Visions) J. Schulze
Emerge (Engaging New Visions) J. Truckenbrod
Breathe Deeply (Engaging New Visions) C. Benn
Die Gedanken Sind Frei 3 & 4 (Engaging New Visions) C. Helmer
Black Birds I & II (Engaging New Visions) C. Holmes
Autumn Visions I & II (Engaging New Visions) J. Petruskeviciene
Razing/Raising Walls, Warsaw (Engaging New Visions) N. Starszakowna
Quite Alone Oasis… (Engaging New Visions) J. Urbiene
Nothing Is The Same I & II (Engaging New Visions) E. van Baarle
Discharge Thundercloud (Engaging New Visions) K. Kagajo
Shroud Of Ancient Echoes I & II (Engaging New Visions) S. Fell-McLean
Visionary and Eclipse (Engaging New Vision) J. Ryder
Untitled ArtWorks (Engaging New Vision) Tjariya (Nungalka) Stanley and Tjunkaya Tapaya
Treescape (Engaging New Vision) A. Trevillian

The Australian contribution to - ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions – will be on the blogspot for the next few weeks, thereby completing the contributions to this exhibition.

The catalog of the exhibition is far more detailed in terms of opening addresses and artist’s biographies, curriculum vitae and statements etc. and moreover, is a holistic record of the exhibition itself.

Synopsis of Artwork:Cane Toad Narrative
I call myself a conceptual environmentalist. I research and am impassioned about nature, listening to and reading about messages from people such as David Suzuki, Jacques Cousteau, Helen Caldicott and many others.

ArtCloth is another way to explore controversial topics of interest such as the current Cane Toad invasion. The concept is of major concern.

My piece is entitled Cane Toad Narrative and was created this year (2009). It is 1.2 meter wide and three meters in length and uses the following media: Jo Sonja’s artist’s colours and textile medium; fabric crayons; fibre reactive dye.

The techniques used are: Mono and block printing; stencilling, painting, stitching, stamping, drawing, tyre printing, machine embroidery; rubbings, attached objects, padding and painted velvet.

I love working on satin and velvets. Here the beetles have been created from padded velvet, painted in gold and smoked pearl. The satin background provides a lustrous sheen contrasted by matt and gloss areas throughout. The cane underneath the beetles was first created with mono printing and painting. The panels, which form the entire piece, depict the life cycle of the Cane Toad as follows.

PANEL 1: Unfortunately cane beetles inhabit the tops of the cane and thrive there because the toads can neither jump nor climb to this height.

PANEL 2: Shows the cane beetles larvae, which live amongst the roots of the cane. Beetles only come to the ground once a year to lay their eggs.

PANEL 3: The toads deposit their eggs in ponds or puddles.

PANEL 4: Represents lines of 30,000 eggs. The female produces two strings of eggs simultaneously (one string from each ovary), which hatch within 38 hours.

Each toad has a paratoid gland full of poison, which can kill by spray or ingestion. The toad feeds on small lizards, marsupials, frogs and insects. The lower part of this panel shows the small lizards, geckos, marsupials, a monitor (which normally eats frogs), a goanna and a death adder - all of which die from eating toads.

PANEL 5: This panel represents frog and insect kill.

PANEL 6: Honey bees returning to their hives are eaten by cane toads waiting in ambush.

PANEL 7: Road kill - people enjoy trying to exterminate the cane toads by driving over them. Other methods of destruction include the use of cane toads as golf balls, and more humanely, collecting then freezing them to death. The work has consisted of choices for example: how much of the life cycle of the Cane Toad to include; how to achieve a balance between design and realism; the choice of colours - the normal colour of the toad is an ochre but it mainly moves in the night so my chosen palette has depth to suggest darkness but is relieved by vibrant greens to evoke sugar cane and grass.

Mono block printing; stencilling, painting, stitching, stamping, drawing, tyre, printing, machine embroidery, rubbings, attached objects, padding, painted velvet. Jo Sonja’s artist’s colours and textile medium; fabric crayons, fibre reactive dye on satin. Unbleached calico backing.
Size: 120 (width) x 300 cm (length).

(a) Cane Toad Narrative, (Helen Lancaster), left artwork.
Fairfield City Museum and Gallery, NSW, Australia.
Photograph courtesy Marie-Therese Wisniowski.

(b) Cane Toad Narrative (Helen Lancaster) left artwork.
Orange Regional Art Gallery, NSW, Australia.
Photograph courtesy Alan Sisley, Director, Orange Regional Art Gallery.

(c) Cane Toad Narrative (Helen Lancaster) right artwork.
Redcliffe City Art Gallery, Queensland, Australia.
Photograph courtesy Karen Tyler, Director, Redcliffe City Art Gallery.
Photography by Al Sim.

(d) Cane Toad Narrative (Helen Lancaster) second artwork from right.
Wangaratta Art Gallery, Victoria, Australia.
Photograph courtesy Marie-Therese Wisniowski.

(e) Cane Toad Narrative, (Helen Lancaster) - full view.

(f) Cane Toad Narrative (Helen Lancaster) - detailed view.

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