Abstract Nature exhibition at UniSA’s Samstag Museum

Abstract Nature exhibition at UniSA’s Samstag Museum


My name’s Julie Blyfield and I work from Adelaide and I’m a jeweler and metalsmith I’m part of the Abstract Nature exhibition which has 20 artists from South Australia and around Australia. For many years, my practice has been working with plants and nature. Some of the pieces, the smaller coloured pieces I actually worked from plant specimens and basically used them as inspiration for these pieces. The big bowl that I made, the silver vessel, which was called Drought because we’re in severe drought conditions is not functional as a bowl because obviously it’s all pierced and hammered and textured and it couldn’t hold or contain water so it was a bit of a metaphor. The University of South Australia has actually purchased the Windfall set of five sculptural pieces for their collection, so it’s very exciting to be part of that collection, as years ago I actually went to the University as a student, so it’s fantastic to think that some works will be permanently housed in a collection in South Australia. Certainly beauty is an idea that I’ve investigated as a curator over a series of exhibitions and it is the overwhelming thing that people say when they see this show, they say how beautiful it is and for me it’s an idea that beauty is connected, well one of the senses of beauty that we have is connected to a sense of place and so I was interested in the idea and also a suggestive, emmersive approach to landscape which isn’t depicting landscape it’s about a connection between mind and landscape and that connection is best expressed through abstraction. This presents a particularly unique approach to beauty that is very Australian and a lot of the work in this exhibition you can see the definite influence of Aboriginal art in the artists’ work. With all my work I’m trying to achieve a sense of stillness and space that I experienced in the vast landscapes of South Australia and so these works come out of an experience of going to Lake Gairdner and this time when I walked there, the mirage I thought was ahead was actually water and just five mm or so of water so when I continued to walk it was almost as if walking on water so you look down at the sky at your feet. The water travels down from Northern Queensland and the evaporation rates are so great that most of the water then becomes cloud so this work in here has kind of been generated out of some of those thoughts of time, distance, space and evaporation.

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