Image: Nic Brown, 2012 "breeding doilies", work in progress (detail). Nic Brown is showing painting installations in SASA Gallery and Adelaide Botanic Garden (Francis Arbor and the Australian Forest Section) as part of "conversations in ellipsis", a multi–site "material conversation", curated by Lisa Harms

conversations in ellipsis

is a multi–site "material conversation" curated by Lisa Harms
dealing allegorically with notions of territory and possession, loss and desire…

showing as part of SALA (South Australian Living Artist Festival), 2012


SASA Gallery
Kaurna Building, Cnr Fenn Place and Hindley Street, Adelaide
Open Mon – Friday 11am – 5pm
from July 31st – 24th August 2012
works spill out from the main SASA gallery space
into the Project Gallery/window spaces on Fenn Place and Hindley Street
Morgan Allender
Nic Brown
Cathy Frawley
Lisa Harms
Elizabeth Hetzel
Alessandra Tomeo
Kaylie Weir

EXTERNAL SCHOLAR: Lisa Gorton, poet

FELTspace Gallery
Compton Street, Adelaide
Open Wed – Saturday 1 – 5pm (or by appointment)
from 1st – 26th August 2012

Sally Arnold (front gallery)
Sasha Grbich (back gallery)

Adelaide Botanic Garden
North Terrace, Adelaide
Open daily 8am – 5.30pm
from 1st – 26th August 2012

Nic Brown (Francis Arbour | Australian Forest)
Kaylie Weir (Palm House [Open from 10am – 4pm] | Ficus Walk/Murdoch Avenue)

for information

conversations in ellipsis

has been generously supported by:

ArtsSA Public Art and Design Commission Support
ArtsSA Independent Makers and Presenters
Adelaide City Council
SASA Gallery
Botanic Gardens of Adelaide
FELTspace Gallery

Lisa Harms is supported as doctoral candidate
by Australian Postgraduate Award
and University of South Australia

conversations in ellipsis

is an on–going "material conversation" enacted over some years

it began as an experimental project between myself and Kaylie Weir…

Scene #1 [there are collected fragments…]

Item #1

she knows for a fact (at least this is what she thinks)
that painting (Kaylie’s painting) the one that troubled, troubles
tripped off an ongoing un–folding
process, still lingers, in fact: a generative motor, an after–image an echo
repeats trans–forming a certain dark
(re–membered/forgotten field; spreading expansive shadow–dappled)
grey/green lush drags of paint
glossy, glassy sheen textural catch
the first time she saw it, the work was juxtaposed with others in a series all grounded in the same verdant shadowed base

this is (was) a self–portrait, oil on canvas, a face (turning)
screened: its contoured boundaries blurred by lines of pulled wet paint
still (life) out in the world it exists somewhere
(a shifting system of unstable signs, a bloc of sensations, be–coming)
in memory if not in fact, presents itself, calls
quietly, calm

intimate, impersonal

veiled a threat a gift, protection a promise (effaced)
a breached… a secret(ed) enclosure
her own filmic and textual echoes answer/answered
(a material conversation)
an undertone, overtone, overture


motes will drift on a warm breeze and may land softly skip
moisture may build under pressure precipitate
day in day out the world turns

in conversation omissions small and large flow between two

and many


a series of fluid loops trans–figured

pause, repeat and begin again a delayed response

(flood entangled thicket full of unnamable feelings)

Item #2

a painterly gesture is translated into a series of paced, traced movements
maps a slow–turning glance
the blink of an eye
the barely perceptible fall of an opening mouth in extreme close–up

layers these repeated traces with a halting fast–falling
screen of words: etymological fragments from online definitions of the word "ellipsis".

pale soft cheek

a dark




Item #3

a line of words circumscribes the surface of a single egg, at length against a white cloth ground………………………………………………………………scripted fragments crawl ………………………………………………………………a tenuous, taut boundary

(marks out the un–timely romance of it’s distanced dissembling)

………………………………………………………………………………the first time this video was shown, it was screened on an LG Shine mobile phone: handset hard angular………………………………………………warm in the hand of the beholder………………………………………………the line of text begins with a word: "enceinte", French for "pregnancy" or "walled enclosure"………………………………………………purloined fragments from online documents of enthusiasts tracking and recording the whereabouts of ruined medieval fortifications………………………………………………this line travels the circumference of a single egg: opens to fractured, borrowed yet strangely intimate dis–placed narratives

Item #4

she found Kaylie's response to her first video and to this "enceinte text" both beautiful and disturbing:
its inference of breached enclosure (invasion)

what Kaylie had planned was a series of paintings depicting opened bedroom drawers
(folded, inimate belongings exposed)
later Kaylie made a video of slowly tumbling soft clothing, an endless spilling fall of things
once held close

the videos (she thinks)
each on its own (her’s and Kaylie’s)
and together
(a constellated syntax)
evoke what was, what is
already implicit in the fabric of Kaylie's self–portrait (for her at least)
a virtual topography that blurs, evades/invades the boundaries between inner and outer "landscapes".

she asks Kaylie’s permission to stage a dispersed, displaced conversation
bringing together (in tenuous, loose, and perhaps dubious connection)
other works
other voices
mapping an emergent vocabulary of un–settled desire played out across vast distances

Lisa Harms, 2012

Item #2, and Item #3: videos by Lisa Harms were exhibited in the Vondelbunker, Vondelbunker Park, Amsterdam 27–29 March 2012,
as part of the ASCA(Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis) 2012 conference workshop, Extremely Close and Incredibly Slow.
See the videos on

These videos and Kaylie’s original painting and video response will be installed alongside new works in the SASA gallery venue.

Lisa Harms is an artist/writer, and curator currently a doctoral candidate in Visual Art by Major Studio Project with the University of South Australia. Over the past ten years she has presented installations in a diversity of sites: showground pavilions, old theatre spaces, a vast ex–oil storage tank, various shop–fronts, abandoned offices, forest, garden (and gallery) settings; recently experimenting with participatory projects, online spaces and mobile devices. Her doctoral research is titled constellations: art & the after–life of images; its focus is on the material capacity of objects, images and words, when encountered in spatial relationships, to obliquely trigger thought, emotion and sensation. Her research performs an examination of the "after-life" of such encounters: remains that persist, and amplify in intensity over time, resonating in mind and body: felt as distant constellations. Both written and material research enacts and explores the operation of such "constellations" as unconventional modes of conversation.

MORGAN ALLENDER: proposed works

Morgan Allender has a history of interest in painting from and with Botanical references; recently exhibiting a body of work based on the history of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens (and European "plant–hunting" expeditions) titled Realm, 2008.

Morgan has proposed two major new "companion paintings" to be shown suspended in the SASA gallery: echoing a sensed connection to the Museum of Economic Botany, sited within the grounds of the Adelaide Botanic Garden across town. These new works are inspired by images of horticultural workers carrying voluptuously large bunches of cut flowers and trees dug out for transplanting. She also recalls travel images of South East Asian workers each bearing an impossibly overbearing burden of wares. She proposes to translate the impact and feeling of these conflated images into (dis–placed, possibly diasporic, specifically Anglo-Saxon imagery) a materialised figuration of emotional, sensuous encumberment: full heady blooms, an overload of fragrant—flagrant—floral abundance will bear down on the two painted figures.

In the clean white space of the SASA gallery, the paintings relate—at a distance—to the refinement felt within the Museum of Economic Botany: the Museum’s collected, conserved, labeled and loved local exotica. This work is intended to quietly (lovingly) echo the romance of the Gardens and the Museum within its grounds: their verdant cultivated environs (a lingering echo of a palpable yet absent past).

SALLY ARNOLD: proposed works

Sally Arnold has proposed an installation titled seasonal adjustments.

In the front room of FELTspace Gallery, long drops of painted wallpaper will be hung about the room. The drops will depict, in a sequence of scenes, a tenuous balance between landscape and water. Using an emblematic cut-out as a ground, painted images of swans gliding among fragments of a submerging world will be interspersed across the wallpaper drops. Behind and in front of the drops, white–plaster objects and found elements, will create an altered landscape that will appear as an after–image or reflection of the painterly one. Objects and painted imagery will explore the experience of transition and changing states – the meeting point where one element engulfs another. The installation will quietly confuse perception. Seen from the window outside or walking around the room the solid surfaces give way to an illusory auratic depth.

NIC BROWN: proposed works

Nic Brown has proposed three related works for the SASA gallery: a sculptural work comprising of her old family dinner table (renovated, re–polished) and bearing an antique dinner setting: the shallow concave dish of each plate containing a single oil–painting based on a long–distant (longed–for) European landscape idyll: each a "viewing portal" for its seated occupant’s downward gaze… her Grandmother’s wardrobe, recently passed to her: its inner space covered in dark felt; an oil painted landscape illuminated on the back inner wall of its cavity… a series of "Monte Carlo landscapes": antique crystal serving plates with painted landscapes hung in a line on the wall: the horizon line of each separate piece lining up to suggest a virtual (yet palpably "real") connection.

In the Adelaide Botanic Garden a framed lattice arch in the Francis Arbour will be the site of In the forest, watching the mountain: a constructed, hung assemblage of clustered doilies—with landscape images dissolving into green blooming forms, offering seated viewers a "window" to an–other world. Doily forest will complement the In the forest, watching the mountain, echoing the material of its construction with variously sized doilies and tableclothes placed at vantage points punctuating the Australian Forest, some draped high on gnarled arched branches, some appearing as if protecting, framing, or emerging from beneath a cut log, a bare trunk base, or a fringed edge of foliage constructing the displaced sense of an emotional map; tracing an imaginary—felt—landscape that may be traveled—at some distance—by foot (its contours learned by heart).

Across venues, these works deal with the politics and the poetry of dissipating family relations, and specifically with a loved family member’s increasing lack of recall. The works also deal subtly, yet critically with the poetic function of Romantic and colonial landscape tropes in more generalised "domestic" cultural politics; offering viewers a shared, virtual experience of dis–placed memory and loss.

NIC BROWN: artist statement

The domestic (interior), the outdoors, the hand&–held, the out of reach & comfortable, familiar and too far–fading away. My practice is part homage to my Grandmother, her life, love and loss, and her decline, and part homage to nature – my home (inner), my desire (outer).

I fuse the traditions of painting and the landscape genre with household objects and furniture: crystal bowls, doilies, lamp shades, a wardrobe and dining table. The small objects bring with them a history: workings of their previous maker or as a container of sweet, edible goods consumed with hot, milky tea. The furniture — dark, brooding, antique — reminds me of the forest. Sometimes sound permeates these works: my recollection of conversations with my Grandmother; recordings of her playing old–time church and World War II piano tunes ("We’ll meet again", "When the saints go marching in…"), a reading of her diary entries (entered by others) since moving into a Nursing Home, or sounds of the wind and rain. In these explorations I seek to work around the edges of time

– its pauses and its passing.

Nic Brown, May 2012

CATHY FRAWLEY: proposed works

Cathy Frawley’s painting installation Love Letters comprises a series of "postcard" sized oil paintings executed daily over a period of time, addressed to her deceased father: a devotional practice of mourning. This work has been included based on its poetic, ambiguous evocation of inner emotional landscapes via gradual repeated movements – between abstract painterly gesture and the figurative use of both landscape and natural details.

Subsequent works which will also be shown in the SASA Gallery in video, painting and photography, suggest the affective residue of certain loved places (lost and found) extending and developing a layered poetic "topography".

SASHA GRBICH: artist statement

Handmade Disasters (deluge)

I am collecting the rain. Well the sounds of the rain (the smells too, and the feeling of relief and safety that I for some reason associate with this weather – but these are less tangible).

I grew up in Victoria and South Australia where rain is welcomed if sometimes begrudgingly. In these thirsty places the plants unfurl and the roof of my house becomes a blanket with me snug beneath it.

Last year I undertook a residency in Cairns during the wet season and those heavy deluges, screaming down at me from hot, grey skies brought a whole new cast to my experiences. I have memories of rain so hard and dense that even under shelter you feel pinned to the spot from the violence of it. I remember: a creaking weatherboard house that felt like a reckless boat, the delight of warm rain, the terror of cyclone, the feeling of giving in to uncontrollable weather (and the relief that brings).

I have used our soft, infrequent southern rain to make a deluge. I have collected for myself "a disaster". This is a love letter to the Cairns wet season. A making and unmaking of my experience of a cyclone; a way of remembering the wettest state while standing in the driest.

Sasha Grbich, June 2012

LISA HARMS: proposed works (notes on my rationale as both curator and participating artist)

This project examines the lingering after–affect that an art work: an image, an object, or a word may exert as well as the potentially generative nature of its mis–translation, or transformation in the materialised language of critical and collaborative creative engagement.

Each curated work has been chosen or has developed through an extended process of call and response as part of an accumulating "material conversation". The resulting installation will disperse from the SASA gallery into related off–site satellite works (spilling out from the SASA Gallery into the Project Spaces and stairwell of the Kaurna Building Foyer area, and across town in FELTspace Gallery and Adelaide Botanic Garden) requiring time and the recall of the viewer/reader, incorporating a sense of loss and recovery into the fabric of the experience.

I have developed new works in "conversation" with the assembled curated works and my own initial video responses to Kaylie Weir’s self–portrait
see BACKGROUND/CURATOR’S NOTES – including a series of photographic images depicting "mountains" of clothing (accumulating piles of ironing) which will be printed on a staggered series of translucent Perspex sheets, some propped (as if they were landscape paintings) on an assembled collection of studio easels, some shaped and paired in emulation of Victorian stereoscopic postcard imagery; and a sound–work (playing a recording of my own voice reading from an Australian soldier’s memoirs, written—far from home—during the Second World War keeping watch over the sky and the sea) from a speaker mounted to the underside of an old dining table; turning it—literally and metaphorically—into a resonating surface… Taped while on residency in Far North Queensland, by candlelight at an outside table in the days following Cyclone Yasi’s passage through Cairns, this work recalls—at a distance—an intense and (too) proximate event: through the narrated voice of another; echoes a (often repeated) attempt to feel the ambivalent edges of my own emotional and physical territory.

Together, the assembled curated works suggest the fragility of the territorial boundaries between self and other, self and environment, the past and the present: allegorising the contours of the body with the collapsed ruins of medieval fortifications. Satellite installations will displace and mirror a sense of emotional and environmental vulnerability, depicting the greenest of captured and dissipating landscapes, the most beautiful of natural details in modular painting collages, jewelry, sculptural and video installations: each an intimate expansion of domestic, or personal memory into (impossibly) verdant recalled or imagined dis–placed landscapes.

ELIZABETH HETZEL: proposed works

Elizabeth Hetzel has proposed an intriguing sound–work to be installed in the stairwell adjacent to the Kaurna Building Foyer, which will be audibly echo metaphorical and material motifs in Gallery and outdoor venues.

ELIZABETH HETZEL: artist statement

Elemental fall.

Water embedded in rock

Slate shards intermingling, jostling

The antechamber of the quarry is a space of absence, loss and potential, forming an unstable,

ever–changing acoustic amphitheatre.

In this space, ancient slate pieces create waterfalls of crystal clear sound, echoing in the present.

Removed from their original context the elemental quality is timeless.

Elizabeth Hetzel, 2012

ALESSANDRA TOMEO: proposed works

Alessandra Tomeo has been invited to install elements of her current Masters jewelry/sculptural project which concerns recollection and remembrance: consisting of long silver chains bearing tiny silver cupped discs which will hang at a number of points within the gallery space – inviting viewers to touch/hold/feel the weight and smooth indentations of the clustered metal (this "holding" generates an oblique sense of counting, measure, re–call: conjures up memories of abacus, rosary beads, shells on the beach, the tinkling of small change). Tiny crafted objects will apparently "spill" from one hanging cluster: object/fragments that metamorphose from jewelry into sculpture into found, treasured, lost objects… these will scatter as if littered, abandoned on the grey concrete floor of the gallery.

KAYLIE WEIR: proposed works

SASA Gallery: Along with the self–portrait and video work that were part of the initial "conversation" instigating this project, Kaylie Weir has proposed two new works for the SASA gallery installation: a new video work which will show a close–up loop of a child’s toy: a top being endlessly spun by hand and a series of crafted wooden oil–painted "toys" which are joined by a pair of bands enabling them to flip and turn, exposing different combinations of painted surface.

Both of these new works have been conceived in a reconfiguration of her original self–portrait and video, re–working the painterly and filmic gestures of turning, falling and transformation (an experimental, transformative take on the notion of the "self–portrait") related to her own current experience as the mother of a young child.

Kaylie has also proposed a new public work to be sited in the Adelaide Botanic Garden comprising a series of paintings related obliquely to the works she is showing at the SASA gallery: effectively presenting a conflation of domestic interior elements with the inside of the body. Kaylie describes the proposed works as: "… symbolic–inhabited–houses that reflect the subjective nature of the corporeal body, with imagined processes overtaking and working in collusion with actual functioning… "

The work will be sited within and around the Palm House (lodging at some distance in the branches of the Moreton Bay Fig trees that line Murdoch Avenue). The Palmhouse is a fragile historic conservatory within which specimens of arid–land plants are retained in a dry climate that effectively prevents corrosion of its structural metal framework. The stark angular columns of the soon to be displaced Royal Adelaide Hospital flank the skyline adjacent to the elegant transparent curves of the glasshouse (echoing encroaching dilapidation, burgeoning dis–ease and an abiding desire for curative containment).

Within the Palm House a sculptural stack of painted canvasses will be placed: each depicting an open drawer, the edges painted to give the illusion of increasing amounts of clothing spilling out as the stack gets higher. Hanging in the dark shadows and high crevasses of nearby trees, tiny paintings of clothing will disperse in a "sneeze–like expulsion" (analogous to the movement of ideas and objects from the central installation in the SASA gallery according to the artist), into the garden: a single large painting of an ornate chandelier—clustered with fleshy pink blooms—will hang suspended from an arching branch.

Together, these works will present a seductive yet unsettling ensemble: their contained efflorescence providing a warm corporeal glow against the green shaded backdrop of the Adelaide Botanic Garden.