Heather Ellyard Photo Title : Heather Shain Ellyard
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inventories and commentaries, 2006

Span galleries, Melbourne Australia

I call this exhibition inventories and commentaries. Inventories, because I want to list and remember our cultural history in the context of our contemporary cultural furies and follies. Commentaries, because I want to speak the lyrics and sorrows of our time: where we come from. what we might be carrying. and where we may be headed. lest we destroy the beauties and truths of being human in a careless, indolent rush.

Everything is connected, but we see only partially, never the largest or the smallest. The fragments in inventories and commentaries are glimpses, which form visual dialogues from pre-history to now. The commentaries are both condensed and political. They range from the Song of Songs to my own words. The ancient Egyptians had onomastica, lists of nouns to classify existence into learning patterns. Then and now, the power of the word holds fast. for anyone listening and looking.

Our time is exquisite and terrible. We are poised to reconstruct humans. to manipulate unimaginably small femtos. to turn the moon into a resort for humans willing to pay big-time for new thrills. to save the world with heart-wrenching variations of the Eternal, sponsored by the Great Religions, in mortal combat.

No culture continues unbroken. I have taken-a-leap to talk to my elders from Lascaux and Chauvet, from Luxor and Fayoum, from Crete, Phoenicia, Babylon (now Baghdad) and Byzantium. In re-making and re-charging their portraits, I have tried to speak to Leonardo, Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya, Vincent, Frieda, Charlotte, Kollwitz, Matisse, Picasso, and the others. And let them speak across the centuries to each other. I have re-made tiny artefacts in a desire to hold them again, in the palm of my hand. I have drawn words, ochre and salt reminders. And I have listened to others, including Goethe who said:

aus dem weld kanst du nicht fallen
you cannot fall out of this world

these inventories and commentaries are
small stones
picked up in transit
and left again
somewhere else


click on image to enlarge

main exhibition

all work 29.6 x 29.6 cm. oil on paper on board

exhibition part 2: transparent and white

see article on Heather Ellyard's work in September 2006 issue of ARTLINK magazine

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