Sunday, January 26, 2014


Emerging artist Melanie Evans has just closed her graduating exhibition, Give, at HR Gallop Gallery, Charles Sturt University. After four years of study Evans work exudes a sensitivity, an honesty emerging from the found object and the handmade. Her miniature sculptures, found objects, drawings, prints and textiles place an emphasis on the importance of arrangement. The way in which the sculptures are placed, within a bowl, hung from a vertical wall, or attached to a horizontal surface, acknowledges the significance of placement and possibly denoting to Evans way of looking at the world, sorting things out.

Moving through the exhibition there is a softness, a sensitivity, it is a space of being. Evans places a specific quality on each individually chosen object. Whether a scarf she has bushed dyed and printed on, a piece hand woven into an organic form and hung, or a video projection of a familiar place within her everyday, the artist considers each and every object with the consideration  and attention to detail in which a valuable possession should be.
Collection works well for Evans.  Throughout our everyday we pass places and objects choosing to either adore or ignore. As a community have we lost our way? Is this something Evan's is attempting to tell us, to bring our attention to the importance of what is around us, right there in front? What is valuable, what is not? As a community are we discarding those objects and places we should hold with the utmost importance? It is this in which I believe, Evans not only investigates her personal story but also a narrative of universal regard.
To Evans, I also believe, the land is of the utmost importance. Although one can easily see collection as pivotal to her work, the artist explains, in her seminar paper, how her "cultural responsibility to not take objects, especially rocks, as they belong to that specific place and can bring trouble if you choose to remove them" is crucial to her practise. It is this core value in which is visible throughout the exhibition as mentioned above, that of care, respect and significance.
These works are organic. Organic in the sense that Evans utilises her intuition to create. She employs a 'random weaving technique' which the artist describes as vessels. The vessel is an ancient symbol which represents the feminine. A vessel takes in, holds and cares for. It is a symbol of nurture, of goodness and truth with the potential to be filled. I get a sense that there is 'something' of great importance in which Evans wants to protect, to nurture.
Evans certainly has a story to tell, a personal one and a global one. Her work strongly reflects her past, acknowledges the present and investigates the future. If this is the result of four years study, Evans will certainly be an artist to watch.
For me, the most significant part of Give, is that Evans owns her works. An exhibition with the depth and strength of Give, can only have emerged from the sifting through of life experiences.  
To conclude, Evans points to and acknowledges the Brisbane based contemporary artist Richard Bell with his statement,
"I find my arts practice to sit within and be a continuation of the proud tradition of Aboriginal art that has held up a mirror to express the beauty, secrets and significance of this country, not just to Aboriginal and Islander First Peoples but...all Australians".