Tree Conversations at Bas

Nineteen textile artists explore humanity’s complex relationship with trees in the Basil Sellers Exhibition Centre’s latest exhibition.

Tree Conversations brings together work by Networks Australia artists, who use weaving, wrapping, crocheting, dying, and drawing to speak of the complex hidden life of trees and their love for them.

Networks Australia artist Ann McMahon said trees were not only our environmental partners, taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen for us to breathe, but they were also embedded in our psyches.

“When we think of family trees or branches of science, we are invoking the forms and growth habits of our arboreal companions,” she said.

“We see them as allegories and use them as metaphors for aspects of our own existence.”

Ms McMahon said recent research discovered the amazing way in which trees communicate.

“It turns out that trees care for and support fellow family and forest community members just as humans do,” she said.

“Trees not only share information about their environment through subterranean networks of tree roots and symbiotic mycelium webs, when under attack, trees manufacture toxic defensive substances and release ethylene gasses into the air to trigger the same actions in neighbouring trees.”

The Networks Australia collective links artists to explore social, political and environmental themes through drawing, sculpture, installation and a variety of textile mediums.

Some of the exhibition works were developed for and shown in the group’s exhibitions in Canberra, and more recently Wagga Wagga.

Eurobodalla Council’s arts and culture coordinator Indi Carmichael said Tree Conversations was like bringing diverse and opinionated individuals together for a discussion.

“Each brings a different perspective and adds something new to the conversation,” she said.

“The fires affected 95 per cent of Eurobodalla’s forests, so this is a timely and important conversation to have.”

Tree Conversations opens Friday 9 April, 5.30-7.30pm at the Bas – bookings are via eventbrite. The public can also join Networks Australia artists for a panel discussion about their work, techniques and inspiration on Saturday 10 April 11am-12pm at the Bas – bookings via eventbrite.

The exhibition continues at The Bas, at the corner of Campbell and Vulcan Streets, Moruya, Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm until Sunday 9 May 2021.

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