I'd only been in Australia for a couple of months when I was lucky enough to be invited by Tim Mosely to participate in a Codex event at Southern Cross University in Lismore, which is a 2 - 3 hour drive north of me depending on the weather conditions (we get a lot of weather in northern New South Wales, as I am discovering!). The Codex events are an unfolding series of projects rooted in papermaking, printmaking and artists' books, instigated by Tim and populated by marvellous and varied people he knows of and knows. The group that I worked with were indeed marvellous and varied, and I had such a great time working with them! Louise Irving, Jo Kambourian, Rebekah Evans, Liz Deckers and Darren Bryant plus me and Tim.
The balloons fold down into book format. They look like the boats that bring most refugees to Australia
Suspended from clear threads the boats float along a wall and out into a wider exhibition space. The flotilla moves through the air erratically, as if pushed around by the waves
The project is referenced more fully in a previous entry for January 2007, titled Codex 4. Since then Tim has initiated a conversation with Susi Muddiman whom I met when she was Director at the Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery. Now she's moved back to the Northern Rivers area and is Director at the Tweed River Art Gallery, and so Tim and the project are relatively 'local'. Susi's very interested in works on paper and was able to offer an exhibition space for the work at the gallery. I went up there on Friday night to attend the opening, in Tim's absence, which was also a welcome chance to catch up with Louise.
Samples of the paper we made and printed hangs with the boats in standard frames
The images are, on closer view, harrowing
I hadn't realised that there were, in fact, four exhibitions opening on the same night, and that our fire balloons were in illustrious company! Euan McLeod was there with an exhibition of paintings and etchings; photographer Gilbert Bel-Bachir was showing portraits of the local South Sea Islander community; there were items from the Wagga Wagga national art glass collection and our fire balloons. You might think that we'd all have been a bit crowded, but in fact the different shows worked beautifully in what is a lovely space.