EXHIBITION DATES: 23rd October to 6th December 2015

Noosa Regional Gallery, Pelican Street, Tewantin, Qld, Australia

Dr Tamsin Kerr

Dr Tamsin Kerr, Cooroora Institute. October 2015

Opening Speach

I’d like to acknowledge the Kabi Kabi peoples and traditional owners of this land who understand the critical role of art as part of everyday life; who model ways of being in creative partnership with the natural world and its material thinking. We might acknowledge, learn from, and be informed by (rather than appropriating) such partnerships in the processes of adapting our own cultural creative practices to this bit of country.

This process of connecting with the local place language of natural materials, this process of embracing the imperfect, the irregular, the slow, and the handmade, is epitomized in Anne Harris’ work. Her exhibition here is the culmination from years in which Anne has performed small humble actions in collaboration with the environment all around her: wood and leaves, reeds and grasses, weeds and wire, seeds and resins, all locally collected; and cottons silks hemps and wools carefully sourced. The more local the natural materials, the more connected to place we become, until finally those places that are beyond the human walkable scale become alien – plants and seasons and microclimates beyond Country become unknown and unknowable. The first step on the journey to becoming native to place, perhaps?

Pablo Picasso said: Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life. Anne Harris, on the other hand, takes that dust of everyday life, and makes it art that builds the soul’s capacity to live in the sacredness of the everyday. It is tempting to suggest this is a division based on gender, but I think not. We are all capable of understanding the actions and ideas around the re-enchantment of everyday life (indeed a good book of the same name has been written by Thomas Moore). 

Anne puts on display this process: shows how we might respect and pay attention to everyday materials such as string and cloth; how we might understand the environments we inhabit by respectfully exploring the resources around us, discovering the multiple properties of plant and soil and mineral and rock that lie within our reach. A true crafting of place.

The everyday is full of imperfections: scenic beauty with electricity wires, gardens full of weeds, cars and traffic in our daily journeys, wire amidst the grasses, termites in the wood, electronic conversations usurp local community. But such weeds might offer just as much beauty if we are able to let go of our unrealistic aspirations towards the manipulated ideas of the pristine – purity, and perfection. Weeds lie in every reflection, mirrors to our loftier ideals. 

Like the Japanese tradition of Wabi-Sabi, Anne shows us the joy of imperfection; she artfully (craftily) revalues the markings of termites, the painstaking of the yarn; the beautiful and the ugly together comprise the ecology of all life. It’s rare to find an artist who curates and presents her work so simply and powerfully. Not only in the process but also in the presentation. Work aligned in practice and philosophy. 

Anne explores the materials of place with a careful reverence for what they might teach. And often, they teach slowness, patience, repetition, connection, and other ways of seeing the world.  

May this exhibition allow you to take home a little of that appreciation and enchantment. As I open “Notion of an ordinary yarn”, I hope we might also open our eyes to nature’s art of imperfection that lies in every place and in every day. Congratulations Anne! 

Dr Tamsin Kerr, Cooroora Institute. October 2015

I am deeply honoured to have had Tamsin Kerr open the exhibition, and to be able to attend the Cooroora Institute where inspiration grows, and ideas are born. Thank you Tamsin & Ross.


Sharing the song of the earth through creative practice. Wood Metal Ceramics Library Writing Music Weaving Words. Cooroora is our local mountain, Cooroy, Queensland, Australia.

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