Experimenta Social #41:
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This session of Experimenta Social brings together two artists who explore our connection to natural environments. Often drawing on scientific data, their work transforms this data into the language of art, allowing us new ways of understanding our world.
Lucy Bleach is particularly interested in geological terms and processes and this is reflected in her installations that play with time and scale, drawing connections between real and deep time. Debbie Symons takes inspiration from ecological sciences to bring attention to our rapidly changing global eco-systems.
Watch this video to hear from these exemplary artists, who present on their recent work and discuss how both materially and conceptually the natural environment inspires their distinctive practices.
About the Speakers
Debbie Symons is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice addresses a range of themes, including humanity’s complicated relationship with the natural environment, the dynamics of the global political economy and the effects of consumer culture. With a strong research base in contemporary science and species, Symons utilises databases to investigate the links between these themes.
Debbie Symons was born in Melbourne, Australia. Symons’ formative training was at Victoria College Prahran (VCA) in the fields of painting and printmaking. In 2014, Symons completed her PhD, Anthropocentrism, Endangered Species and the Environmental Dilemma, at Monash University with the assistance of an Australian Postgraduate Scholarship.
Symons’ practice is multi-disciplinary and her work addresses a range of themes, including humanity’s complicated relationship with the natural environment, the dynamics of the global political economy and the effects of consumer culture. With a strong research base in contemporary science and species, Symons utilises databases to investigate the links between these themes, and collaborates with scientific organisations such as the IUCN Red List to facilitate the statistical data pertaining to her works.
Symons is an Associate in the School of Art within the College of Design and Social Context, a lecturer at RMIT, School of Art (Art Enterprise Workshop) and Monash Art Design and Architecture (Collaborative Design). She is currently undertaking an artist residency at Bayside Artist Studio at Billilla Historic Mansion. Her works have been shown internationally and nationally; International Urban Screens Association, Galerie Prodromus – Paris, The Streaming Museum – New York, ZAZ10TS – Times Square in New York City, Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art, RMIT Gallery, [MARS] Gallery, Linden New Art, South Australian Museum, Albury Digital Outdoor Gallery, Craft Victoria, Trocadero Art Space, Shifted Gallery, c3 Contemporary Art Space, Carlton Connect Studio, Monash University Faculty Gallery, Latrobe Regional Gallery, Incinerator Gallery, RMIT Project Space, and The Substation.
Lucy Bleach’s practice focuses on human’s varied relationships to tenuous, contingent and at times volatile environments, seeking engagement with communities that authentically experience such relationships.
Lucy Bleach’s practice focuses on human’s enduring relationships to volatile environments, seeking engagement with communities that authentically experience such relationships, and researchers who monitor the earth’s movement. She works across sculptural objects, architectural forms, and geo-acoustics within an installation-based approach to generate artworks where processes, forms and actions are informed by geologic force and the resulting instability and transformation.
Lucy continues to develop a practice that spans 30 years across curated exhibitions, festival commissions, community collaborations, curatorial projects, published writing and lecture presentations. She has produced solo commissioned and collaborative works, exhibited nationally and internationally, and undertaken research projects in geologically unstable regions in Italy, Japan, Hawaii and Vanuatu.
Most recent projects include Rueremus for the 2021 MONA FOMA Festival, Hobart, curated by Pip Mott; Brothers for the group exhibition Composing Archipelagos, Contemporary Art Tasmania, 2021, curated by Jasmin Stephens; Attenuated Ground for the 2021 TarraWarra Biennial, Slow Moving Waters, TarraWarra Museum of Art, curated by Nina Miall; and By This Lake for the upcoming Rising festival, Melbourne, 2021, curated by Grace Herbert.