I’m sitting here with Virginia Jones, whose installation you see above is Untitled, and is made from unfired clay, illmenite (a mineral local to Stradbroke), and coloured sands (that were collected locally by Craig Tapp, an artist in residence at LINES and resident of the Island, who I’ll write about in my next post). Untitled is part of a series of works by Virginia about the importance of seeds and pods for the future. Seeds carry the information for the future, Virginia says, and that’s about the transference of life to future generations. She employs the the pod form from different perspectives, and different layers of meaning both physically and philosophically emerge. The pods are raised, and as you can see, cast amazing shadows that visually play with multiple readings and worlds.
“And that’s talking about how within a healthy ecosystem change can be withstood and coped with. In an unhealthy ecosystem, the system won’t adapt to different situations because it’s already stressed. If something new happens in an unhealthy ecosystem, and all parts can’t respond, the system breaks down.”
So, as Virginia builds her visual vocabulary and systems, they work together on multiple levels to cohere and coalesce into rhythms like waves or branches or seeds within a pod. This is the way Nature grows herself, and Virginia’s work mirrors that repetition over time. This makes her work talk about the visual qualities found in Nature, but her own gentleness takes the place of how Nature can be harsh and exactingly cruel. We are reminded of the natural world, but Virginia takes us to a contemplative place where absorbing thought and maybe even reverie can occur.
“When I’m working, I’m focused on the materials and developing a process for laying out those materials. When I’m making the pod shape I develop a system, and the shape of the pot – and the size of the pot corresponds to the shape and size of my hand. And that’s important to me. The doing of things over and over again becomes a meditation that frees me to be within the meditation. I freely let it go after the making… and let the installation be destroyed over time and by chance. That’s part of the process.”