Voyages of discovery, the age of enlightenment, exploration and collection of the world is the starting point for this exhibition by Heather Vallance. Early works by artists, such as Sydney Parkinson and Ferdinand Bauer are magnificent for their capture of a specific observational time.
My own voyage of discovery started at a very early age, having grown up in the Mallee of Western New South Wales, I have always drawn and collected things.
I feel I know the animals differently to the artists of the First Fleet and Flinders voyage to Australia, and it is this I wish to communicate.
Capturing movement is a primary focus in my work at this point. It helps unlock anatomy and gives context and dimension to these wonderful animals.
It is profound to sit quietly and watch the near vertical digging action of an Echidna as it burrows with ancient digging claws for protection in the hard soil, its power to turn rocks and boulders bigger than itself and the surprise to observe it as an accomplished swimmer. A Platypus in the wild, will swim and dibble at muddy edges with its beak. They hoop through the water’s surface; a muscular machine able to turn and dive with the fluidity of the water in which they swim.
My work is a tilt towards those who have gone before. I admire the tenacity of those early artists and their ability to work in such trying conditions. I hope my work adds to the bigger story; The collective voyage of discovery.