This exhibition of new photographs and sculptural works was created during Dawn Whitehand’s residency in France earlier this year. The work continues her interest in the communicative properties of clay and the value and aesthetic of totemic objects.
Whitehand’s studio practice is strongly informed by her relationship to the rural settings in which she creates her works. As she explains, ‘Living in a rural environment, I am constantly aware of the curvaceous lines and constant movement within the natural landscape. As light and shadow play amongst the hills at different times of the day and night, the illusion of motion and tonal variations suggest an ever-changing environment. Clay being the ‘skin of the Earth’, I find it to be the most appropriate, and the most expressive medium to capture the vulnerability of the natural environment. The visual tactility of specific glazes heightens the connection to organic landscapes. These works aim to draw the viewer closer to their natural self and their belonging within the world.’
Undertaking a residency in a centuries old small town in Southern France, however, presented a blending of the urban and natural: a built environment that was organic in its colours, materials and textures. Beyond this town lay an environment of hillsides, coastal shorelines and snow-capped mountains. The resultant artworks are a visual representation of Whitehand’s gradual discovery of the town of Vallauris and its uniquesurrounds.
Dawn Whitehand is a regional Victorian artist. She has participated in many Australian and international group exhibitions over the past decade, and her work is held in numerous public and private collections. She was recently awarded her PhD from the University of Ballarat, Victoria.