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Growing up in New Zealand I was made aware of the underworld through consistent ground tremors and the dramatic juxtaposition of fiordlands. The steep sides of the snow-capped Southern Alps which plunge into deep lakes, the volcanic activity in the North island disturbing the atmospheric clarity, which at dusk makes the air glow as light hits the suspended sediment excreted from the earth. Moving to the Australian coast, I find flatter, slower scenes of landforming in sandstone and the erosion of the ocean. Immersion in these environments involves contemplation on the interdependence of living beings and the intimate relationship that exists between terrestrial and aqueous forces which bring life into being. My practice follows this geographic background, as well as virtual exploration of open cut mines from around Australia by way of google satellite images. This out-of-this-world vantage coincided with solitary wandering along the Sydney coastline and the drama of these encounters led to the development of an experimental process of drawing. The intended layering of these works on canvas into installations recalls the way areas of land contrast and interact with one another, especially the coast with its jagged overlaps of water and rock. This overlapping exposes two manifestations of the submerged realms described by the Ancient Greeks as ‘chthonic’, the subaqueous and the subterranean. The Chthonic, or the underworld, has been used to embody fear of insanity, and this work repositions this fear into a conscious renouncement of control. This facilitates the creation of work which in many ways is a product of the agency of its materials rather than the force of human sentience.

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