Physical interactions between humans and the natural world, and cultural perceptions of the value of landscape, motivate my work. I’m interested in the strength of the sublime, in images of nature that inspire awe, and the grotesque, where nature has been manipulated or violated by human activity, as a means to provoke engagement with environmental issues.
Victoria’s mountain ash forests face unprecedented pressures to their existence, with recent studies concluding this ecosystem is critically endangered. Hotter and dryer conditions and more severe storms are increasing the frequency of ‘mega-fires’, like those that hit the Central Highlands on Black Saturday in February 2009.
This situation is compounded by current logging regimes that clearfell swathes of mountain ash forest on a sixty year rotation and keep the ecosystem in a perpetually fire prone state, prohibiting development of the mature growth that sustains arboreal mammals and birds. Severe wildfires kill mountain ash trees and prevent regrowth if they occur within thirty years of a previous fire or logging activity.
Ash was developed in support of the proposed Great Forest National Park in the Central Highlands. The only chance of restoring these magnificent forests, the most carbon dense in the world, and securing their long term sustainability in a changing climate is the complete cessation of unsustainable, uneconomic clearfell logging in native forests.