Monday, January 7, 2013

The Lull before the Storm

by Kylie Eastley

It's a breezy warm day when I arrive at Marion Bay to spend time with some of the artists connected with the Shadows program. For those heading along to experience the Marion Bay Falls Festival, art may be the last thing on their minds. But the impact of having art experiences included and sculptures installed throughout the property should not be underestimated.

Andy Vagg's Alumination
Shadows is part of a larger art program that includes a range of activities, mostly within The Village; a temporary enclosure that includes stages and tents that accommodate live music, circus, burlesque, massage and workshop venues.

It's where you might bump into Abigail, Mae and Ashley from Team Textiles or Tristan Stowards and his inflatable birthday cake trampoline. It's all part of the festival scene. But step outside The Village and something else is happening.

Surrounding the whole site are the environment sculptures of the Shadows group. It's a loose collective of environmental artists, many of whom are based in Northern Tasmania.

On this day, before the crowds arrive, I am lucky enough to see the works at their best. Without the distraction of tents, noise and people I can hear the tinkling of Andy Vagg's aluminium can flowers, titled Alumination. They are installed in random arrangements on the top of the poles that line the main walkway entrance to the festival. In the breeze the shiny metal flowers flutter and create a high pitched tinkling.

Teetering on top of tall poles positioned around The Village are Dan Kershaw's beautiful slick black organic sculptures and on the hill opposite the site is a collection of wood sculptures created by Martin Cole. With a sense of belonging, they rest into the paddock while all around the winds whip the yellowed grasses. There is a sense of peace and tranquillity. Shared meals with the artists and production crew, chats with healers and a stroll around the property. But it is momentary. The thousands are about to arrive.