JOANNA BIRD - Autoritratto 2020
Pippin Drysdalethe landscape is indelibly printed on my psyche
For me, my portrait is etched into the Australian landscape, as the landscape is indelibly printed on my psyche. I have observed the dramatic terrain which has never failed to give me ideas and has been a constant challenge all my life.
My most recent research has been rewarding – studying in depth the colours and forms of the Devil’s Marbles, a geological phenomenon of balanced rocks in Warumungu, in the Northern Territories. The heightened relief of the rocks in changing light during the day, and coalescing in the evening light, have excited me. I have strived to capture these extraordinary colours in my glazes – and this has involved a huge amount of experimentation. The pieces for Autoritratto are chosen from this body of recent work.
The forms are as important as the glazes of course; they throw shadows and convey the vastness and cinematic scope of the Australian landscape. The Tanami Desert and the topography of Western Australia are my home, my garden, my morning, my evening. I have called the pieces for Autoritratto, BREAKAWAYS. Breakaways are the spines of our landscape – surrounding the caverns and gorges. Their high cliffs, caves and ecosystems play a unique role as important landmarks in the mapping of nature; as succour – offering shelter, water, and food; as points of surveillance and safety. They are all important in the stories and cultural life of the Australian Indigenous People. This is why I feel such an affinity with my homeland and the roots it has given me
Photography © Robert Frith