Robyn Gordon: On The Edge (Revisited)


by Robyn Gordon

Wednesday 10th August to Sunday 4th September


I seek to interpret forms and interrelationships in the natural environment, particularly coastal and marine habitat. I’m interested that science and technology allow us to change our environment to suit our perceived needs,but we must get the balance right. I want to show that attempts to dominate nature are futile.Our survival requires co-operative, symbiotic strategies. The alarming consequences of climate change for our environment demand our urgent behavioural response if our planet is to be preserved.

My1988 On the Edge installation focussed on the Great Barrier Reef - it explored land and ocean, fantasy and reality, renewal and growth. I now must add survival and extinction. This was a luxurious installation which celebrated the intoxicating, seductive, enigmatic and ambiguous nature of coral reefs, coast and shoreline.

My 2016 exhibition has new paintings and jewellery, plus a selection of works from 1980 to the present - jewellery, sculpture, painting, works on paper, mixed media. My impulse and intuition is structured by an aesthetic response which delineates the formal qualities of the work. There is a thread which links my philosophical concerns. Conceptually, I explore intimate memories of place and tokens of landscape. I’m interested in the interconnectedness of forms and systems and the irregularity and unpredictability of our environment. My aesthetic concerns are graphic imagery, painterly qualities, building with colour in the fauve sense; poetic colour which is very often an intrinsic part of the structure of the piece; plus texture, both visual and tactile, is important.

I record a celebration of the micro environment and enjoy imagining thesesmall details as symbols or tokens of the wider, far-off vision, the macro environment. I hope to heighten public perception of the great beauty, delicacy and vulnerability of our precious marine zones. I always try to select titles for my work which help the viewers key in to my wavelength; here are a few examples - Barrier Reef Water Wonders, Snorkeller’s Dream, Reef Carnivale, Stranded Daydream Phenomena, Reef Fish Magic, Synergic Shoals, Ravishing Reef Overture, Riotess Reef, Coastal Paradox, Merging Memories from the Edge of the Sea, Contemplating Continuum, Ecological Barometer, Spawn of Hope, Nature’s Omnipresence, Marine Enigma, When the Sea Sighs. 

Examples of some 2016 titles express my current anguish about the future for the great reef systems - e.g. Ghosts of Their Former Selves, There is a Reachable point of No Return, Melodious Marine Under Challenge, Seductive Underwater Festival Threatened, Underwater Fantasia: Survival in Question, Littoral Zone Traces, Intoxicating Tidal Wonderland.

Since 1980 my work has been exhibited and collected throughout Australia and around the world. My work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia as well as state, territory and regional galleries and many institutional, corporate and private collections.