Doctor of Creative Arts
School of Creative Arts
McGrath, Vincent, Altered states: an investigation of the relationship between nature and humans in the west country of Tasmania expressed through the ceramic vessel form, Doctor of Creative Arts thesis, School of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong, 1992. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/946
My three one-person ceramic exhibitions and written dissertation are concerned with the relationship between humankind and nature. Nature is a phenomenon validated by our senses - it is a concrete symbol. Paradoxically, nature is an unseen energy, a primordial life force generating existence through a shaping and refining process. Although harmony can exist inside this paradox, overt human intrusion through ideologies of culture, economic ardour and political power has produced an environment of chaos and disunity.
The field of interest in my research has been the West Country of Tasmania, one of the most heavily covered temperate rainforest regions in the southern hemisphere. Today, this part of Tasmania is a spectacular example of the devastation wrought by mining through Europeans' search for financial gain.
I believe the evolutionary process is an unfolding activity that manifests itself as a synergism through the passing of linear time - past, present and future. I have used the ceramic vessel form as a vehicle to explore and interpret the changing relationships between humankind and nature, function and non-function. An iconography is developed from mine works and settlement towns. The work emerges from two perspectives: firstly, it deals with the way these functional territories with their industrial technology appeared and the presence they commanded within the newly occupied and settled country; and secondly, it explores the idea of non-function, how discarded relics of the past are continually subjected to the complex natural forces of modelling and reorganisation. Developing an historical perspective on West Country mining and settlement has been germane to the way I have interpreted the territories as they are now, worked over by nature and time - testament to a past occupation.