Art Of Nature
My favourite art gallery pieces are the ones I couldn't have in my house. I can have a painting or a photograph on my wall. They're fine. But the stuff I find truly arresting in galleries are the massive works, especially those where the artwork is changing as you view it. In that moment, on that day, in that gallery space, you will be the only one who sees it in quite that way. Works like Anish Kapoor's 'My Red Homeland', where a massive arm slowly inches across 20 tonnes of red wax and vaseline 12 metres across, shaping and re-shaping. Or Yayoi Kusama's 'Flower Obsession', where viewers are elevated to the role of participant. Each is given a sticker to place anywhere in the exhibition space, one that resembles an IKEA showroom. As the exhibits wear on, the art changes. From one day to the next, no one has the same experience of the piece. The art is experiential, but it is also temporary. It is not meant to be preserved in some perfect state. Rather, each state it takes is temporary perfection.
Over Melbourne's lengthy 100+ day lockdown, I spent my permitted one hour of exercise walking the same paths each day. While it was the same streets, alleys, and trails, it was never the same walk. Each day brought subtle changes. I watched bushes explode with flowers. Green became obscured, replaced temporarily by magenta, fuchsia, orange, and a multitude of shades any painter would struggle to replicate. Sometimes there was dew. Sometimes there was sunlight. Somehow, each day had its own smell. The tire tread left over from bridge repairs, where birds liked to drink from the water pooled in the ruts, was slowly camouflaged by grass and little purple flowers as the ground sloughed in from gravity's persistent pull. I'd see wind's invisible touch as I used my feet to sweep branches from the path. I was not just a viewer, I was a participant. Nature got me through lockdown. Seeing the bird life change as the weather did. Seeing the morning light shift and decide to shine a little different each day. Focusing on the details. Revelling in fleeting moments. Knowing that only I could have that experience, in that moment, on that day, at that time, in that place. Taking a stroll in the gallery of nature and appreciating its temporary perfection.
Author bio: Wade weaves his passion for learning into his academic work and community based projects.