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Our Own Back Yard: Mary Abma & Lyndal Osborne

Our Own Back Yard: Mary Abma & Lyndal Osborne

September 5, 2014 – January 4, 2015
Gallery 1 – Third Level

Loaded with multiple and layered readings, the works featured in Our Own Back Yard function simultaneously as a portrait of the environment and as a monument to the easily overlooked beauty and fragility of nature and its eco-systems.

Mary Abma and Lyndal Osborne present a body of work that nudges the viewer to see and acknowledge the subtle and awe-inspiring colour, texture, form and exquisite beauty present in the ‘micro-elements’ of the natural world. Their work also serves as a reminder that nature is fragile and our actions have a lasting impact—that we are custodians of fragile eco-systems that cannot be taken for granted.

As a way of understanding the natural world around them, the artists gather, sort and arrange hundreds of tiny specimens of shells, rocks, dirt, seeds, water, twigs, grasses and more. These items are easily overlooked on their own, but when presented en-mass they evoke a sense of wonder. An extended contemplation of the work results in a gnawing discomfort that builds when we realize that Abma and Osborne have created an offering, a close-up glimpse of the invisible; fragments of the natural world that, because they are easily missed, are easily ignored, discarded and extinguished.

Standing as a monument to the future, Our Own Back Yard offers a poetic narrative on the social consequences of complacency and neglect toward the environment. The often destructive trace that we leave on the environment as we plow through our day cannot be swept under the rug and forgotten. If a monument causes the viewer to pause, and in this way functions as an obstruction or interruption to the repetitive, mindless and often thoughtless activities of the day, then the work of Abma and Osborne in Our Own Back Yard, is a monument of hope.

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