Review: ‘How Nature Speaks’ at Arc One Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 27th July – 21st August, 2010

Artists: Justine Khamara, Lyndell Brown and Charles Green, Imants Tillers, Sam Shmith, Janet Laurence, Murray Fredericks and Huang Xu



Janet Laurence. 'Carbon Vein' 2008


Janet Laurence (Australian, b. 1947)
Carbon Vein
Duraclear, oil pigment on acrylic
235 x 100 cm



This is an excellent group exhibition at Arc One Gallery, Melbourne. Together the works form a satisfying whole; individually there are some visually exciting works. There are two insightful paintings by Imants Tillers, Nature Speaks: BP (2009) and Blossoming 21 (2010), a digitally constructed landscape by Sam Shmith, Untitled (Passenger)’ (2010) that the online image doesn’t really do justice to, a large photographic landscape of a storm over Lake Eyre Salt 304 (2009, see image below) by Murray Fredericks and two layered transcapes by Janet Laurence (see image below) that just confirm the talent of this artist after the exciting installation of her work at the Melbourne Art Fair (I call them transcapes because they seem to inhabit a layered in-between space existing between dream and reality).

For me the three outstanding works were the large horizontal photograph Hair No.2 (2009) by Huang Xu, in which hair hangs like a delicate cloud on a dark background and his photograph Flower No. 1 (2008, see below) in which the white petals of the chrysanthemum, symbol of death or lamentation and grief in some Western and Eastern countries in the world, seemingly turn to marble in the photographic print (you can see this online in the enlarged version of the image below). What a magnificent photograph this is – make sure that you don’t miss it because it is tucked away in the small gallery off the main gallery in the Arc One space. The third outstanding work is the sculpture you are a glorious, desolate prospect (2010) by Justine Khamara (see photographs below), a glorious magical mountain, twinkling in the light, all shards of reflectiveness, cool as ice. I would have loved to have seen this work without it’s protective case – in one sense the case works conceptually to trap the speaking of the mountain but in another it blocks access to the language of this work, the reflection of the light of the gallery, the light of the world bouncing off it’s surfaces.

This is not, of course, how nature speaks but how humans speak for nature – through image-ining and seeking to control and order the elemental forces that surround us. This construction of reality has a long tradition in the history of art, the mediation of the world through the hands, eyes and mind of the artist offering to the viewer, for however brief a moment, that sense of awakening to the possibilities of the world in which we all live.

Many thankx to Angela and all at Arc One Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.


Justine Khamara. 'you are a glorious, desolate prospect' 2010


Justine Khamara (Australian, b. 1971)
you are a glorious, desolate prospect
Mirror, perspex, plinth
80 x 186 cm


Justine Khamara. 'you are a glorious, desolate prospect' 2010 (detail)


Justine Khamara (Australian, b. 1971)
you are a glorious, desolate prospect (detail)
Mirror, perspex, plinth
80 x 186 cm


Lyndell Brown and Charles Green. 'Galatea Point' 2005


Lyndell Brown (Australian, b. 1961) and Charles Green (Australian)
Galatea Point
Digital photograph on duraclear film edition of 5
112 x 112 cm


Huang Xu, 'Flower No.1' 2008


Huang Xu (Chinese, b. 1968)
Flower No.1
Type C photograph
120 x 120 cm


Murray Fredericks. 'Salt 304' 2009


Murray Fredericks (Australian, b. 1970)
Salt 304
Pigment print on cotton rag
244 x 88 cm



Arc One Gallery
45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, 3000
Phone: (03) 9650 0589

Opening hours:
Tues – Sat 11am – 5pm

Arc One Gallery website


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1 Response to “Review: ‘How Nature Speaks’ at Arc One Gallery, Melbourne”

  1. August 17, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I really love ‘Huang Xu’ Flower No. 1! Stunning! Beautiful!

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Mask’ 1994

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