Art exhibition: Gaia Hypothesis

Curated by Ngaio Fitpatrick

Artists > Alexander Boynes, Sophia Emmett, Ashley Eriksmoen, Denise Ferris, Alexander Hunter, Simon Maberley, Anna Madeleine, John Reid and Marzena Wasikowska

Main Gallery: 8 February – 17 March 2019

Opening night: 6pm Friday 8 February 2019

The exhibition Gaia Hypothesis will open to coincide with the ANU Climate Update 2019 at 6pm on Friday 8th February at Belconnen Art Centre.

The exhibition brings together the work of nine highly recognized artists working across diverse mediums including photography, performance, augmented reality, sculpture and installation with themes relating to climate change. 

The term "Gaia hypothesis" refers to the idea, put forward in the late 1960s by James Lovelock, that the Earth is a single living organism made up of self-regulating and finely balanced ecosystems.   These systems are held in balance to sustain all life on Earth and, to prosper, each must work in harmony with the others.

Ridiculed at the time, this theory is now being researched further and applied within the multidisciplinary fields of Earth system science and climate change research.

About the artists

Alexander Boynes
Alexander Boynes is represented in the collections of the Center for Art + Environment, Nevada Museum of Art (USA), Artbank Australia (VIC), the ACT Legislative Assembly (ACT), the University of Canberra (ACT), the Macquarie Group Collection (NSW) as well as numerous private collections throughout Australia and in London and is also Curator and Program Manager at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space.

Sophia Emmett
Sophia Emmett completed a traineeship at the Jam Factory, Craft and Design Centre in Adelaide and studied visual arts at Monash University, majoring in glass. Sophia has travelled extensity in Australia and the US, worked with a number of master glass blowers and has undertaken several artist residency programs, including at the Creative Glass Centre of America, ANU School of Art and Canberra Glassworks.

Ashley Eriksmoen
Ashley Jameson Eriksmoen studied fine woodworking at the College of the Redwoods before earning her M.F.A. in Furniture Design at Rhode Island School of Design. In 2006, she received the Norwegian Marshall Fund Grant to research traditional woodworking methods in Norway. Eriksmoen has taught design/woodworking at California College of the Arts, College of the Redwoods, Oregon College of Art & Craft, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and Penland School of Craft.

Denise Ferris
Denise Ferris is Head of the ANU School of Art & Design, an educator and an art practitioner. She is the Chair of the Australian Council of Universities of Art and Design (ACUADS) and Deputy Chair of the Art Monthly Australasia board. Denise holds degrees from Sydney University and University of Technology Sydney.

Alexander Hunter
Alexander Hunter studied music composition, performance and ethnomusicology at Northern Illinois University, and received a PhD in composition from Edinburgh Napier University. In his current role at the ANU Hunter has taught a range of music, art and design, and computer science subjects, and has developed new cross-disciplinary multimedia design and performance curricula.

Simon Maberley
Simon Maberley is an Australian sculptor and glass artist based on the south coast of New South Wales. He began his studies at Sydney College of the Arts in 1993 and graduated in 1996. Maberley completed his MFA at Ohio State University in 2000 and returned to live and work in Australia.

Anna Madeleine
Anna Madeleine is an artist working with AR, VR, drawing, animation and installation. She has a PhD in Media Arts from UNSW Art & Design (2014) and is a Lecturer in Printmedia & Drawing at ANU School of Art & Design. Anna has had solo exhibitions in New York, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Montreal and Bandung.

John Reid
John Reid is an Emeritus Fellow of The Australian National University. He has a BA(ANU), 1973, an MFA(UNSW), 1995, and is an Associate of the Industrial Design Institute of Australia (Graphic Design), 1972. He was a staff member at The Australian National University (ANU) School of Art from 1978–2013 where he integrated a visual art practice in photography, collage and performance about the environment, human rights and cultural identity into his role as a researcher, educator, curator and graphic designer.

Marzena Wasikowska
Marzena Wasikowska has worked in Canberra since 1987 and is a PhD candidate in Photography and Media Arts at ANU. Since 2010 the themes of her work are a meditation on the built environment, the most recent work, a contemplation on waterscapes and visualising climate change.

About the Curator

Ngaio Fitzpatrick is an artist, Visiting Fellow with the ANU Climate Change Institute and recipient of a 2018 Australia Awards Endeavour Fellowship to work in Berlin. She was awarded a Vice Chancellor’s Artist Fellowship at the ANU Climate Change Institute in 2016 and has exhibited widely. Her interdisciplinary arts practice encompasses site-specific installation, performance, video and recently, collaborative experimental music interactions in real time. With a background in environmentally sustainable architecture and building informing her practice, she is particularly interested in ways in which art can be used to communicate the science of climate change.

“We live in a Post-Truth and now indisputably warming world. Science gives us hard data, politicians procrastinate and economists advocate infinite fiscal growth, all within a planet of finite resources and finely balanced ecosystems. Artists are the new philosophers and have the rare ability to work independently of vested interests drawing attention to one of the greatest existential threats of our time using a variety of languages, methods and materials.”

The exhibition is hosted by the Belconnen Arts Centre and the ANU Climate Change Institute.