Critics’ Picks

Lauren Brincat, Snare the Sea, 2012, HD digital video, color, 3 minutes 29 seconds.


“Sonic Spheres”

TarraWarra Museum of Art
311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road
August 5 - December 9

Themes of loneliness, connection, and community refracted through place and identity resound throughout the works in “Sonic Spheres,” the third biennial from the TarraWarra Museum of Art, a substantial private museum forty-five minutes from the center of Melbourne. While this exhibition could easily be dwarfed by the dramatic landscape surrounding it, the biennial successfully integrates the surrounding area and the works, complicating their relationship to the space. The exhibition features mostly Australian artists working across different fields. Curator Victoria Lynn has gathered this collection of experimental, cultural, and memorial sonic microcosms into a vibrant celebration of sound in contemporary practice. Artist Dylan Martorell’s work exemplifies the cohesion between sound and sculpture in his unusual instruments and shrines in Sound Tracks TarraWarra, 2012. Artist Lauren Brincat’s video work depicts a poetic action on the shoreline of a rough sea. The artist holds a snare drum up to the waves and records the organic instrumentation of the object and tides.

The exhibition gathers momentum around cultural memory and the ways in which song is used to transport and divulge personal histories within different societies. Tom Nicholson and Andrew Byrne have collaborated to produce a sonic monument, video, and poster series titled, “Monument for the flooding of Royal Park,” 2012. The work revolves around a large park in Melbourne from which the infamous white explorers Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills set out to cross Australia in 1860. After ignoring warnings from local Aboriginals, the explorers eventually died from eating a poisonous indigenous plant, nardoo. Nicholson and Byrne propose to cover the park in the red flowering plant, as a memento mori.