The Hardest Drought

Kyle Walker

14 - 24 September 2016 
Opening Night: Tuesday 13 September 2016, 5-7 PM
Artist talk: Wednesday 21 September 2016, 1-2 PM

The dry landscape gardens of Japan are especially severe in their editing; to convey a ‘thusness’ of forms only the most fundamental elements remain. Rocks represent mountains and raked gravel simulates the push and pull of the sea. And these parched spaces parallel the arid land of Australia, an open plane where exposure to the elements and a scarcity of resources enforces a certain economy of material and form. In an attempt to see what is most essential to living and working in the desert, its manmade tools and structures are brought into the gallery through a process of simulation and subtraction, similar to the construction of a dry garden. What remains is a ‘fierce calm’, an aesthetic dryness like gravel waves and a great leveling of man’s ambitions.

The Hardest Drought is the third part of a larger MFA research project at UNSW Art and Design. It began as a meditation on the desert and traditional Japanese aesthetics, evolving to consider the importance of the cut in artmaking. This arid, subtractive lens encourages a closer inspection of the basic components of our aesthetic experiences including space, form and repetition.

Image: Kyle Walker, The Hardest Drought, 9 of 300 sculptures, mixed media, dimensions variable, 2015—2016.

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