the far walls of the exhibition room seem to be embellished with a
pattern. I walk in and am immediately drawn to the entire room and I
get up close to every piece. Phloem
Poetica conjures up delicate and somewhat emotional feelings of
sensitive work in my mind. Sarah has a rich history of using scientific
names in the titles of her work. The processes of coating and casting
natural objects offer the titles a greater meaning; something more
beautiful than pure science.
an exhibiton by Sarah Elson
The exhibition contains specimens of the natural
world including plant matter, deceased creatures and tiny flowers, some
materials like a local balga resin and some left seemingly untouched.
combination of the two almost goes unnoticed, unless you’re really
looking for what
has been left. Each of the specimens in the exhibition was found
locally on trips
to parks and playgrounds, then displayed in an unobtrusive manner,
reminiscent to what you would find in a museum collection of
pretty little insects.
is made up
of painstakingly delicate castings of
small plant and animal forms, from tangled stems amd flower bulbs,
to beetles. The way she chooses to exhibit the work is quite obviously
planned and thought about. The long dining table in the centre of the
seems meticulously divided into sections and patterns. The small nature
objects and the casting process makes me think of jewellery (which I
would be amazing) yet they are something more than that. The
anything but conventional for jewellery, which would usually be
displayed on a
plinth and often with a perspex covering which I assume is for
Without the glass cases they are vulnerable, almost too delicate for
with the outside air and all the things that come with it. The intimacy
is in the
scale of Sarah’s work as the only way you can see it is to get up
close. They draw
you in from a distance.
exhibition portrays ideas of life - through the artist’s hanging
the corner of the room, and of death - through the various creatures
forms that lay still around the room. Still and dead and never moving
Perhaps it is not a cycle of life and death, but birth and rebirth.
The sight of the small baby bird lying with its legs upwards is quite
saddening for me. However I don’t think the exhibition as a whole is
make you feel sad it is more about realising preciousness in everyday
life. I appreciate how these small, sad beetles and birds have been
taken care of after they
have been found and that they have been cast and made as precious as
should be. Although things like dead cockroaches would usually would be
seen as worthless, here they are made into something precious and
worthwhile. And although they are small, they are significant.
Using metals to cast
sculptures can have a feeling of starkness and death about it, but for
is a nice balance between the subject and material in the exhibition.