Coastal grass: Artist Statement
These five images were initially made as part of the Bay Windows project for Gasworks Arts Park. They were made during the 2020 Melbourne lockdown. Sandridge Beach in Port Melbourne became our go-to place for fresh air and exercise. There is something about the native flora in this corner of Port Phillip Bay that is wild and reminds me that despite the pace of urban development, this area has been a river estuary for far longer.
The Spinifex and Sedge are native to the area. The Coastal Sword Sedge was known as Kerbein or Noongar by Aboriginal people. The leaves could be used for basket/rope making and the white base of the leaves could be roasted or eaten raw.
Both works were made using a combination of digital photography and traditional darkroom printing. Prints were made by hand using a 19th century printing process called Van Dyke Brown which is characterized by the wonderful brown tones. In a digital age where granular sharpness is often the benchmark, these images present an older artisanal practice, one that celebrates authenticity. The paper is coated by hand with a light sensitive emulsion, and the prints are finished with bee’s wax.