Appearing as part of this year’s Head On Photo Festival, Ornamental (Royal National Park), is the culmination of Marian Drew’s residency at Hazelhurst and responds directly to the Royal National Park (RNP), the world’s second-oldest national park. Drew’s art practice in photography, video and sculpture combine in this exhibition in a series of photographs alongside a video work titled Warrumbul Picnic.
At the time of her residency at Hazelhurst, and commencement of work in the RNP, Drew was working with fine porcelain figurines to make sculptures. The beautifully crafted figurines with a decorative link to 18th century Baroque, prompted Drew to ponder their connection to our thinking of animals and their role in decoration or entertainment. The RNP provided an opportunity to explore her ideas and became the photographic backdrop for her figurine sculptures helping us to think about our relationship with the natural environment today.
The video work Warrumbul Picnic, is a work about duration. The setting in the RNP shows remnants of times passed – post-colonial buildings, boathouses, jetties and ornamental gardens. It also features a beautiful spherically formed tree under which many things have have come and gone over the years. Its position on the water’s edge makes it an ideal picnic spot, look-out and landmark attractive to both people and animals. Marian Drew said the video work is about respect, commune and gratitude for the attraction, beauty and protection this tree provides to all forms of life. The tree was videoed over several days with one hour from each day presented to illustrate the continually changing environment through sun, climate, birds and people.