This weekend is your last chance to catch Travelling By String, an exhibition by local artist Bernadette Boscacci that’s been 15 years in the making.
Bernadette said she set herself a goal in 2017 to commit to her first large solo exhibition since 2003, as a treat to herself for her 50th birthday this year.
“I do a lot of conservation projects and a lot of community development work and so my studio practice is always happening behind that,” said Bernadette.
“That means it has taken time for the works to come to fruition. I decided two years ago that I’d like to do a solo show for my 50th birthday as a treat to myself to allocate time and space to finish works and put them out there.”
The collection of works incorporates Bernadette’s interest in many mediums and materials including printmaking, painting, sculpture and collage using paper, bone, metal, weaving materials, and found and recycled objects.
“The common thread is art; life; mixed media; recycled materials; and lots of wiring, stringing, weaving, and twining ideas,” Bernadette said.
“They’ve also all been inspired by walking or travelling or spending time On Country up and down the east coast mostly and the west coast of Cape York. There were a couple of jaunts to Europe, so those influences have come through as well.”
Even the exhibition’s name had been drawn from Bernadette’s travels.
“’Travelling by String’ is a saying or a kind of philosophy about just going with the flow and following where you’re led in life. The first time I heard it was when I was living and working in Doomadgee and I was just picking up string and fallen things as I’d come across them to make woven arm bands and ankle bands. One old man from out there said to me ‘Oh, which way girl? You’re travelling by string’. I think it stems from a Shamanic terminology where you actually can move through the world without necessarily having to take all the steps in between, you’re linking points and leaping between them – like when you know you’re on the right path when you think about something and a sign will just turn up.”
With some of the pieces in this exhibition having been works in progress for as along as 15 years, Bernadette said it was gratifying to finish them off and bring them all together.
“It’s quite a unifying experience really. A lot of them have been part-way finished or just started because I needed to make other work in order to go back to them,”Bernadette said.
“Each work informs the next and is informed by the previous … Because I work on multiple works at once, I thought during the process, ‘how are these going to fit together?’ and so I realised I needed to make little sub-environments within the big environment [of the exhibition space],
“They’re not such a standard beauty, but there’s an authentic, kind of natural beauty to them. In nature, you see beauty but it may not be the normal aesthetic of what’s seen as being beautiful, it might be a bit gnarly or asymmetrical, but I hope people take away a sense of nature and the connection that my works has with nature.”
Bernadette Boscacci’s Travelling by String is open at Umbrella Studio contemporary art until 22 September 2019.