Carmel’s art practice focuses on the advantages of multi-disciplinary exploration of place and its ramifications for environmental awareness and ethics.
After gaining a PhD in this field from Deakin University in 1998, she has exhibited regularly in solo exhibitions at Gallery 101 in Melbourne and in selected exhibitions such as the Blake and Wynne Prizes in Sydney, and the Lorne, Montalto and Yering Station sculpture exhibitions in Victoria. Collections include the National Library of Australia, State Library of Victoria, and The Silk Cut Collection in the National Gallery of Australia. In 2004 Carmel co curated Surface Tension, a printmaking exchange exhibition shown in New York and Melbourne. Major projects also include Walk, where eight artists walked the 270km Great South West Walk track in Victoria and produced interpretative environmental works for a national touring exhibition through NETS Victoria and VISIONS Australia; Fresh and Salty, a Regional Arts Victoria state wide project addressing the issue of water use; and the multi-disciplinary Stony Rises Project developed by RMIT Design Research Institute. Carmel is currently represented by Jenny Port Gallery in Melbourne.
The thrombolites populating Lake Clifton are the subject of this research. I set out to explore in microscopic detail, the internal structure of a thrombolite and its surface, including the community of organisms inhabiting that surface, in order to visualize a journey into the past, from the outer layers to the centre of this life form. I aim to investigate possible new surfaces the thrombolites may develop (and the colonizers they may attract) in response to changing global environmental scenarios; and to explore ways of transferring this knowledge gained scientifically into my visual vocabulary and artworks.
Part 1: Image Capture: How to look? / How to see?
Familiar processes of studying particular environments and acquiring information through sensual immersion and visual interpretation were rapidly expanded upon during my first month at SymbioticA. My usual repertoire of tools of capture – camera, pencil, ink, paint, found materials- were reprioritised as I honed in on the microscopic detail of my subject – initially the water-borne organisms surrounding the thrombolites of Lake Clifton, followed by the surface and internal structure of a particular thrombolite sample. This preliminary investigation focussed on the aesthetics of microscopic detail and on capturing images that explored the subject from my viewpoint as a visual artist. The outcomes include film clips and suites of digital images and prints. My next step is to study these outcomes from a scientific viewpoint and to identify the subjects of my capture.