Noosa Regional 2020

The Spaces Between the Trees
Rosie Lloyd-Giblet, Noosa Regional Gallery 2020

In her new works for The Spaces Between the Trees, artist Rosie Lloyd-Giblett is drawn deeper into her home, the surrounding bushlands, rainforest and coastal sites of the Noosa Shire. Deeper into the life force that nature herself facilitates it is an escape of sorts, a caesura or gap where Rosie says she finds a sense of connection that enables her to move forward. The necessity of being fully present in the wilderness to divine nature’s epiphanies came upon the artist in 2015 at Bimblebox Nature Reserve. A week spent camping gave her time to reflect she became fully immersed and invested en plein air. Rosie describes this experience as being a game changer.

The development of abstraction in Australia has been greatly influenced by Indigenous women artists, in particular Emily Kame Kngwarreye of the Anmatyerr people. Kngwarreye’s practice was banded in ceremonial purposes, later negotiating space through abstraction she traced new territories between cultures. Rosie stipulates her viewing of Big Yam Drearning at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2000 as being pivotal, its”gianourmous’ (sic) underground root system revealed Kngwarreye to her as a person with so much knowledge. Rosie has invested her time in various habitats over the years, Lockhart River late 90’s was where she learnt to connect to place. It was here that she engaged with Indigenous weavers Dorothy Omeenyo and Elizabeth Queen Giblet who taught her how the influence of the tides ard bun grass offer a seasonal connection, no calendar. Australian environmental philosopher Freya Mathews states in her essay On Desiring Nature- ..modern societies will become sustainable when they fit into nature” (2010). The works in this exhibition challenge us to realise that it is not nature’s task to fit in with us.

Rosie stoops to lay her paper on the earth to work, her body brushing against the foliage, debris and undergrowth drawing her closer to inner worlds, unknown territories, sometimes snares. In experiencing these works we see, hear and feel the cacophony of the subtropics. A visceral exchange, the artist and nature together becloud the pull of everyday life…the process is embodied, allowing the materials to lead. There is the sense that an unknowing of things is required to enable a certain truth of dialogue with the subject, we can observe how the works have evolved as landscapes in abstraction. The artist seerns to not want to get caught up in the botanical details touched on in the work, opting for a purely sensory response. It is the oneness; each living entity relying upon the other for sustenance that she brings us closer to. Mary Graham a Kombumerri person and philosopher elaborates on Aboriginal worldviews “…to behave as if you are a discrete entity or a conscious isolate is to limit yourself to being an observer in an observed world” (1999). Rosie seeks a direct and phenomenological response to nature rather than consciously depicting an aesthetically pleasing vista. There is a raw honesty in these works, they are bold and responsive to her surroundings.

An inversion of the idea of a horizon line is present in the majority of works for The Spaces Between the Trees, in Breathing this inward gaze connects the artist to the wilderness for her solace and resonance. Rosie is caught up at times in the explosively regenerative affect of immersion, at other times the ebb of nature’s cycle, in Hush for instance, reveals another side to the artist’s need for escape. The spaces between the trees, amongst hidden arbours is her ‘go to’ for contemplating the space between inside and outside. Hers is not an aerial perspective, she enters the space with both feet on the ground, this is her point of departure, it is the escape to place that offers transcendence and healing.

Where do we and nature begin and end, can we indeed separate one from the other? Mathews offers “Nature has to be continually recreated, not from some source outside the system but from inside it, from the very entities that draw their life and sustenance from it” (2010). We are inextricably linked to the tender trap in which nature entangles us. The blossoming, regenerative powers and the destructive, mirror us, we are vulnerable to nature’s wilds yet we ignore her at our peril. The artist’s desire for communion with nature evident in the works presented here engages rather than catastrophizes nature.

In viewing this exhibition, The Spaces Between the Trees, Rosie presents as the opportunity to also contemplate our connection to nature and place. Reflecting on Place co-authors Thornton, Graham and Burgh explain a new directive for environmental education, as one of decolonisation. ….the environment cannot be view. simply as subject matter for sturdy but, reconceptualised in the Indigenous sense as Place. Only in this way can we overcome the human-nature divide’. (2020)

It is our time to ask to ourselves, what does nature desire from me to sustain her,

Meaghan Shelton: artist, writer, educator.

Mathews. F. (2010). On Desiring Nature. Indian puma! of Ecocrificsm, 3. 1-9

Graham. M. (1999). Some thoughts about the philosophical underpinnings Aboriginal worldviews;
Global Religions, culture, & ecology, 3(2), 105-118.

Thornton, S., Graham. M., & Burgh, G. (2020). Reflecting on Place: environmental on decolonisation.
Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 1-11. DOI: 10 1017/aee.2019.31