. Peter Adams

TODAY

September 28, 2016

So what am I doing at the base of the sculpture ‘Birth’?

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I’m carving the letters TODAY.
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Six hundred million years earlier, visitors to Windgrove begin their 1.2 kilometre journey along the Gaia Evolution Walk where each big step (one metre) equals 500,000 years.

The years roll by with each step. From the Precambrian Eon through to the Cenozoic Era — via the Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods — The Walk is completed when people touch the sculpture ‘Birth’ with its inscribed word: TODAY

Interestingly enough, after almost five years in the making, this lettering marks the formal completion of the Gaia Evolution Walk. The Walk is finally finished.

“To the future”, I say.

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On the gate is the sign: The Future. Once inside, students within the expansive classroom of the Wombat Circle talk, not only of what they learned along the Gaia Evolution Walk, but how they view the future of the planet, the environmental and social changes that will surely occur, and, most importantly, what role they might play in helping to create a peaceful word for themselves and others.

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Another topic of discussion that I like to bring up is whether or not human constructed art has a place in the natural environment. Is the sculpture ‘Birth’ an eye sore? Or, a lovely addition to the surrounding trees? Is it just one man’s ego intruding on the landscape?

Or, does it move beyond a pleasing aesthetic and become transformative to a person’s life? And the earth’s.

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New version

March 1, 2016

Last year I posted a short one minute video that was part of an advertising campaign by Tourism Tasmania. Recently, the producer of that video sent me a five minute, “Director’s Cut”. This is a really beautifully crafted video. Enjoy.

Tourism Tasmania – Peter Adams from Brad Sayers Director on Vimeo.

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Filming at Windgrove

April 20, 2015

A couple of months ago a swarm of media people descended upon Windgrove to film a short video of “what-the-hell-is-happening-here!” for Tourism Tasmania.

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It’s always flattering to be noticed, but what really excited me about this nine hour long process that included up to ten people, was the professional expertise of each individual person working together as a whole — seamlessly.

I don’t normally get involved with artistic “collaborations”, so it was a beautiful reminder of the creative power of “the group”.

A longer version is being made, but in the meantime, here is a little peek into how 5 hours of film footage is distilled into one minute of video.

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I’ve given up.

Too many times my chisels have fallen to the dirt floor beneath my carving bench and shattered when hitting the soft dirt.

Too many times I’ve felt confined in my studio working behind “windowless walls” wanting desperately to take my art out into the great outdoors.

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Therefore, I’ve — literally and figuratively — buried my carving tools. Never again will my bare feet be in danger.

Three dimensional sculpture is so last century.

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Instead, I shall become an “en plein air” artist working — not under the protection of some wimpy studio roof — but directly with the elements; with whatever the great earth goddess and sky god decide to throw at me.

And I shall be using paints just like the great artists do. Artists who are not mere sculptors.

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_DSC7250To this end, the above photo demonstrates the seriousness of my investigations into how human manufactured colours blend, interact with, dissolve into and supplement the “natural” colours of their surrounds.

The play between the various actors on this stage is subtle, yet so enriching to the engaged mind willing to look at art in a non-judgemental, mature way where chaos is brought into sublime harmony with the forces of light and dark, the moon and sun, or, even with eagles flying overhead whose shadows dance fleetingly across the land.

With time, nocturnal animals, such as the possum or feral cat, will leave imprints on the still wet paint and re-define the notion of “Who is the real artist”, or, “Can art be whatever sells?”

Future intentions are to get a solo exhibition of this cutting edge canned art at a national gallery in order to bring to city folk a deeper appreciation of how nature willingly accepts whatever we humans spill out onto it.

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Wasting artistic time?

November 3, 2014

“When you’re up to your ass in crocodiles it’s hard to think about draining the swamp.”

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Can you see in the middle of the above photo the notched bit of wood that is my next sculpture ‘Belly Buttons’? If so, I’m glad you can because I haven’t seen it in several months.

Littered across the front of the sculpture is the detritus of the many other jobs that have taken me out of the studio.

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And still to come (as visible in this photo): #1 — reworking the Denmark sculpture ‘Buddha Beads’ presently under a large grey tarp in order to install it somewhere on the land. #2 — two stacks of wood delivered last week for two separate projects: posts for the Gaia Walk and boards to replace rotting decks, and, #3 in the foreground, over 100 star pickets and enough fencing material (300 meters) to surround the three dams that comprise the Peace Garden as required for public liability insurance.

My friend Paulus chided me a few months ago by saying, after I told him about the Middle Garden Project I was constructing, “Why aren’t you making art?”

Yes, indeed. But the question could be asked: “Is the making of art necessarily confined to one’s studio?”.

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All I have to do is look at a page out of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks to feel assured that I’m being creative. I mean, Leonardo had several ideas/projects going on at once and no one ever chided him for rarely finishing anything other than a few wonderful paintings. No one ever thought he was wasting his time on irrelevant projects.

To Leonardo, everything — no matter how mundane — could be looked upon with an artistic eye and scientific curiosity.

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The artist’s chief role is to shift people to a deeper understanding and appreciation of their place in this world. And, if needed, work to change their perceptions of it if those perceptions become abusive to the greater good. In other words, the artist’s main role is political, not decorative.

I defend this role with the ferocity of a mother wolf protecting her cubs.

Nearly half a century ago, as a young man recently graduated from Harvard, I worked for two years in Korea as a Peace Corps volunteer. The wrinkled, nearly toothless grandmother of the house where I lived questioned me once about a photo she saw in a magazine that depicted the many people attending Woodstock.

“Why are they barefoot?” she questioned. “Are they poor?”.

Thus started my life long quest to look at the individual and societal “unexamined assumptions” about place, culture, religion and — in the mix of all this — language.

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For the grandmother back then, just recently coming out of peasant poverty, anyone without shoes was certainly poor.

For me today, seeing a woman wearing a burka or other total facial covering connotes “oppression of the female in a patriarchal world”.

Who’s right? Whose wrong? What’s in a word? What’s in an image?

We should all be ardent believers in understanding our evolution. Not only in the physical evolution of this world and how/why our “humanness” evolved from the first cellular constructs of the ocean over 1,000,000,000 years ago, but, as importantly, we should seek to understand the evolution of our cultural norms, religions and the etymology of language.

Why? Because it is important to consider the deep origins of why we say what we say, do what we do, and, believe in what we believe.

It is not good enough to say: “I believe this because it says so in the Bible” (Koran or any other religious texts). Why? Because all present religious texts evolved out of earlier religious texts and it behoves everyone to go back to the earliest sources to glean why things might be as they are today. Are they better or worse and for whom?

Who is in control. Follow the power.

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To get to the point of this blog, does Gustave Courbet’s painting ‘Origin of the World’ — with it’s in-your-face depiction of the vulva — seem shocking, confrontational, vulgar? Or, perhaps, a brilliant representation of the reality of exactly where all humans come from?

On FaceBook this past week, I shared a quote on the origin of the word “cunt”.

It stated: ‘Cunt’ derives from ‘Kunda’ or ‘Cunti, the Oriental Great Goddess’. She was the Great Yoni (vagina) of the Universe, where all life came from and to where all life returned for renewal.

From this same name are derived the words “country”, “kin” and “kind”. So why, in the English language today is the word “Cunt” seen as a vile, obscene and vulgar swear word?

After posting the above quote on FaceBook, the public comments were positive. I did, though, receive a private email reply from overseas that read in part:

Dear P

You know I’ll query why you persist in posting on Facebook a word that is now impolite. Hundreds of words have changed their meaning in English. It’s no revelation. Awful used to mean in awe now is negative. Hundreds of words have evolved and altered.

I know you may be intentionally provocative and it’s all part of your philosophy but it saddens me as I think it could be why some of your older friends turn away.

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My intention — always — is not to be provocative just for the sake of shocking someone; rather, I want to open up doors of understanding into rooms of evolutionary usage.

My preference is for people to not just stand at the door and say: “This is the way it is today, so accept it as given.” Or, “I vote this way because I’ve always voted Labor/Liberal/Republican/Green/Tory.”

These sort of responses are, to me, a tad lazy and lack intellectual rigour; a too easy acceptance of the status quo.

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I want people — especially those of us brought up in the Judaeo/Christian/Islamist view of the world — who do view a woman’s cunt as vulgar to ask: Why?

In India the yoni is seen as sacred. In Chinese, the vernacular term is translated as “jade gate”.

However, in our western medical schools, the vagina is listed as pudendum: latin for “place of shame”.

Why the difference?

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I try to create art that is both beautiful and pregnant with questions.

I’m an optimist. I believe in a future that is socially just, spiritually fulfilling and environmentally thriving. I equally believe, though, that to get to the future we have to go way back into our past to understand our present circumstances in order to change what needs to be changed.

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I stand barefoot
in “cunt-try”
not poor but rich
planting trees of hope
proud and knowing
fully the deep
origins of my birth.

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