Monday, 12 March 2018

Liz Walker - Words from the Artist

The making of Salt Lake took a lot of thought and many, many hours. Aluminium sourced from vintage pot lids and domestic ware was a natural material choice for many of the pieces referencing not only the strange metallic colour of the lake but the factory and workers that once earned their living from the salt they harvested from its source.

My intention was to make an installation which reflected the lake, its history and the people who lived around it and so I included various domestic fragments- all of which could quite easily have been collected from the edge of the lake.

Many of the fragments, including the growth on the old chair were treated with salt over a period of weeks in order to imitate the effect of being submerged in the brine and then exposed to the air once again.

Looking at the work you’ll notice a dry and deflated football and an old leather boot. Both were found in a parched river bed but could easily have been found in Beeac.  The salt shaker speaks for itself and the small oil funnel references the site of the Gainger Bros Garage where the installation is displayed. Old bottles, jug and pot, money tin and biscuit container, old brass taps and telephone insulator supports remember the people and life of the town.  As does the satchel, constructed out of iron, looking like its been cast aside at the end of the working day at the factory.

Thinking about the birdlife and brine shrimp they feed on, I grew salt crystals on one of the nests and some of the feathers. Gum leaves constructed out of rusted and burnt metal scattered around the floor space could have been collected from around the town -if only they were real.

The window frame presents   the viewer with an ariel view of Lake Beeac at various stages of its annual cycle-dry and crystalline, when the sun rises or perhaps when its setting and when the lake is full of water once again and teaming with life.

'Salt Lake' is displayed in the window until Sunday March 25, 2018.


Liz Walker will be running a workshop as part of Lorne Sculpture Biennale  Education Program 2018:

Spectacular Sea Dragons

Come and make your own Dancing Dragon from the Forgotten Forests 

Join artist Liz Walker and Avis Gardner as they guide you in a creative process working with natural and recycled materials in the construction of your own spectacular sea dragon. 

Learn and be inspired by Weedy and Leafy Sea Dragons; the marine emblem of Victoria and South Australia . These little-known but incredibly fascinating creatures are incredibly beautiful and endemic to our fragile
southern reefs. 

Sunday 25 March- 10 - 12pm and 2 - 4 pm

Suitable for children 7 years and above accompanied by a parent

Friday, 2 March 2018

art-speak, nature and aesthetics - LORNE BIENNALE

art-speak, nature and aesthetics - LORNE BIENNALE

musings by Doug Williams

“Nature and aesthetics have long had a special relationship in the creation of sculpture in the landscape.”
I would go further and say that sculptural elements in the natural world are what define man-made sculpture, that the creation of the latter could not exist without the former.

By “seeking to replicate ... the living presence of a cry for environmental awareness and responsibility” these sculptors are taking on a very great task indeed.
Are they up to that task? It’s hard to say really since to evaluate their success will be only be possible by empirical assessment from a long term point of view, by examining the works through the inverted lens of a telescope (if that metaphor could be realised in fact).
But as for the individual works themselves there is much to be appreciated and much to learn.

Do they reflect the theme Nature+Humanity+Art ?  Well as near as I can say that in the main they mostly attain to this prerequisite. Each artist does so in an individual manner:  eg. site 25 : The Observers by Greg Johns. I like this sculpture. I like it for what it is as much as for what the artist says it is. That is the brilliant thing about certain pieces – I am able to say “I get it.” It’s a simple and primal understanding that a sculpture can convey to me. Doesn’t need explaining, doesn’t require justification.

I do feel it important that the artist forgo describing their work in too much detail. If the purpose or the meaning and message are spelled out for the viewer it leaves them no room to move and makes it less likely for a subjective take to be made. If the artist tells us what s/he is trying to achieve by exhibiting a work that is different from telling us what the work may say to us. There is no reveal and no opportunity for us to independently arrive at the spot the artist intends we reach if the definition is provided in overly descriptive, analytical terms.

And paradoxically often the write-up provided is couched in art-speak. I’m not a fan of art-speak. As jo Vonda said: "The result is to make art appreciation elitist. The concocted language is tortuous in its attempt to say something original and clever but so often is just incomprehensible. Some of it is sibling to gibberish, a lot of it is first cousin to pomposity". 
When Shoso Shimbu hopes that a "nuanced work being a conduit to change" it shows that art-speak can cross cultures as well as language. Why have the courage to put your art out there in the open for all the world to see and enjoy but then keep the viewer at arm’s length (or further) by shrouding it with words which betray the implicit invitation to engage in an unequivocal way? 

The KISS principle applies. There should be no implied barrier between the viewer and any work of art. Although he spoke about sculpture in general terms by declaring "I invent nothing, I re-discover”, I cannot for the life of me imagine Rodin befuddling people with a wordy blurb about The Thinker. On the other hand Henry Moore said, "To know one thing, you must know the opposite". This Zen-like remark, while obscure, does not refer to one particular piece of work and so cannot be construed as distancing the viewer from the artwork as occurs with the use of art-speak. Of course these two sculptors were pre-post- modernism so the prevailing memes were very different to those of today.

Nevertheless, despite the profusion and tenacity of art-speak a number of the works look extremely interesting. This comment is based on what has been made available in the catalogue which is not necessarily what will be on display but what I can see does have me eager with anticipation.

The Lorne Independent, March 2018

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Liz Walker - Salt Lake

Salt Lake (detail) 2018

The first month of Autumn WINDOWSPACE–BEEAC will show the work of Melbourne-based artist Liz Walker, a previous emerging artist award winner (2009) at one of the largest contemporary sculpture events in Australia, the Lorne Sculpture Biennale.  Liz will bring a bit of biennale to Beeac with her installation ‘Salt Lake’ during the month of March.


Liz Walker has been described as a gleaner, collector and re-user who manipulates recycled corrugated iron, pressed metal and found objects into sculptural forms, her studio represents this – it is a wonderful space of collection and making.  The studio is big, it is full of big tools, big work benches, scores of rusted iron sheets and just pieces of stuff which many would describe as junk.

However, for Liz all found objects and junk present a possibility to re-use, manipulate and to tell a story, usually exploring social and environmental issues which are close to her heart.  As seen in ‘junk mail’ (2009) the found objects and recycled materials are always carefully sorted, manipulated and thoughtfully incorporated initiating amazing sculptures and installations.

junk mail (2009)
Lorne Sculpture Biennale 
Emerging Artist Winner

The old Gainger Bros Garage transformed into WINDOWSPACE-BEEAC, is an appealing space for someone like Liz to show her work.  She has a love of old and a huge commitment to sustainability practice and contemporary art in community spaces, Liz states, 'in recent years’ community engagement through creative workshops and collaborative project delivery has become increasingly important to my practice and development as an artist'. 

The salt crusted, altered pieces of aluminium placed on a distressed chair conjure up the depths of what might be found in and around the lake, natural plant life struggling while at the same time surviving.  These pieces are the colour of the lake and although distressed, sit with a strong sense of regeneration over numerous found and manipulated objects randomly scattered by Walker.

Salt Lake (detail) 2018

The football, the leaves, the bottles, the mechanics tool, the domestic objects all tell a story of what was and what is.  The salt crusted nest made from rusted wire sitting on the floor makes reference to the beauty of the water birds that come to the lake to feed on Brine Shrimp and find sanctuary; regardless of the changes it has had to bear and the 'junk' that is sometimes left Lake Beeac continues to bounce back and give. 

Found objects 2018

In Walker's words Salt Lake is ‘an imagined conversation between the past and the present, exploring notions of life and death, regeneration and hope.’ 

Take time to look, imagine and treasure the beauty of the lake.  Go for a wander.............


Liz has recently moved from Brunswick to Red Hill, on the Mornington Peninsula and is currently working on a new body of work responding to the grounds and architecture of historic Montsalvat which will be exhibited outdoors from August – October this year. She is also preparing to deliver a new series of environmental workshops and undertake the Grain Store residency at Nathalia with Avis Gardner.

Liz has exhibited widely in group and solo exhibitions, undertaken public artworks, received awards, grants and residencies and her work is held in public and private collections in Australia, Japan, Malaysia and Ireland.

Liz will be running a workshop as part of Lorne Sculpture Biennale .

Liz Walker

Visual artist

instagram: @lizwalkerart

Sunday, 18 February 2018


Conspicuous Presence,
Trocadero Guest Curator Program 2018
OPENING WEDNESDAY 21ST FEB - Please join us!

Image Khi - Lee Thorpe, Unseeable, 2017

Conspicuous Presence makes visible the work of five Australian women artists. Through the heightened material presence of their work, the artists’ deploy conspicuous methods of commanding our attention.
The Women’s Art Register, historically inclusive of a wide range of cultural and political identities, shares our IWD platform with these five contemporary artists.

All women of colour, we acknowledge their presence and listen to their voices.
Artists: Georgia MacGuire (Indigenous Aust), Khi-Lee Thorpe (Indigenous Aust), Sofi Basseghi (Iran/Aust), Su Yang (China/Aust), Ema Shin (Japan/Aust).

Gallery 2 will feature material selected from across 43 years of the archive of the Women’s Art Register, with a projection program in the Trocadero 'Nooky' space.
Exhibition Dates: Feb 21 - March 10, 2018
Launch event: Wednesday, February 21, 6-9pm
Artist Talks: Saturday,  March 10, 4-5pm (final day of show)
Venue: Trocadero Artspace, Lvl 1, 119 Hopkins Street Footscray          
Hours: Wed-Sat 12-5pm

Catalogue essay by Sophia Cai

 The WAR Diaries - The Women's Art Register at The Roundtable

Image by Carmel O'Connor

Please join us on Sunday, March 25th, from 1-3 pm at ACCA for a discussion at The Roundtable. Part of ACCA's Unfinished Business, the Roundtable is a participatory component of the exhibition.

WAR committee members, volunteers and friends will discuss a number of questions;

What is the Unfinished Business of the Women's Art Register?

Is WAR undervalued and under-recognised by major institutions?

How can we (re)position WAR's unique place in Australia's history as a critical force in contemporary politics and culture?

In what ways are WAR's unique open access policies and grass-roots management indicative of the collaborative and participatory nature of past and present feminist practices?

How does the cross-generational collection represented by the Women's Art Register contribute new insights into current mainstream discourses that, at times, overlook the historical record? 

This is a free event, however bookings are required here via the ACCA website.

Friday, 9 February 2018



79 Main Street BEEAC 

'Creating sense of place within a personal narrative'

Irene's  interest in caring for the land and her experimentation with natural colours,
textures and paper tablecloths inspired the beautifully haunting 'Cool Burn'. 

You are invited to listen to Irene speak about inspiration and process 

Saturday 17 February @ 2 pm


79 Main Street BEEAC 

Light refreshments provided

RSVP preferred

All welcome