“…an understanding of space and the power of simple statement.”

James Darling and Lesley Forwood are conceptual artists who make social, political and environmental statements through unique site-specific installations made with mallee roots.

The mallee roots have been painstakingly stripped of all bark, soil or foreign material, until the shape of the dense, hard wood is revealed. Roots must be conserved for at least 15 years before this process can begin: high-pressure water jets, wire brushes, chisels of all sizes and air compression are just some of the processes required.

The mallee root are lignotubers of an arid-land eucalypt (E. dumosa and its many hybrids), which are sourced from the artists’ Duck Island farm in South Australia. Mallee roots are quintessentially Australian. They speak of land, culture, genealogy and evolution. They speak of tenacious survival. They confront contemporary understanding of the history, ecology and management of the Australian continent and are fundamental to the statements made by the artists. Diversity is strength. No two mallee roots are the same, each must find its place in the whole. No matter the concept of a particular installation, environmental references are inevitably present. Nature is not a background.

James and Lesley’s installations extend the minimalist tradition; simple, strong and with a magnetic power to engage the viewer.

James Darling & Lesley Forwood are represented by Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide, SA, Australia.

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