Earthy inspiration for the Salamanca art exhibition


Curator Daine Singer’s latest show in Hobart is inspired by dirt.

O Horizon takes its name from the decaying organic matter that forms the top layer of soil.

“I found it so poetic that you can think of the ground below you as the horizon, rather than the distance, which is a pretty ingrained concept,” she told AAP.

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Like so many people, Ms Singer took to gardening during the pandemic but discovered that the dirt in her garden in downtown Melbourne contained toxic chemicals.

The experience led her to learn about soil profiles and talk about the O Horizon with artists she thought might be inspired by the idea.

This has led to an exhibition which opens Friday at the Salamanca Arts Center in Hobart.

Ms Singer is keen to reassure gallery visitors that the idea has been loosely interpreted by the nine artists in the exhibition, and that there are certainly no dirt pictures.

In the center of the gallery is a 16m abstract painting by Matt Arbuckle, which he created by rolling fabric along his Melbourne driveway and dyeing it.

“He let the dye build up in the creeks and creases, so the artwork has all of these bumps and sections of color that were created by the landscape,” Ms. Singer said.

Palawa artist Bronwyn Dillon provided a tightly woven basket with a base made from an abalone shell that her family uses in traditional ceremonies.

The show is a call to refocus on the earth and our wider environment, according to Ms Singer.

“I am interested in the beauty that can be found in neglected elements of the landscape, leaf litter, mosses and soil, and how, through a deeper contemplation of the microcosm, we can also examine issues wider,” she said.

The free exhibit opens at the Salamanca Arts Center on Friday and will run through June 25.

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