JOEL TONKS: Forged by fire, shaped by time

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JOEL TONKS: Forged by fire, shaped by time

14 September – 11 October 2020

Orange-based multidisciplinary artist Joel Tonks is driven by a desire to explore the natural world and dissect its many processes. Forged by fire, shaped by time was inspired by recent expeditions to landmark mountains and along local river systems to document the biological and geological taxonomy of the Central West.Orange-based multidisciplinary artist Joel Tonks is driven by a desire to explore the natural world and dissect its many processes.

Forged by fire, shaped by time was inspired by recent expeditions to landmark mountains and along local river systems to document the biological and geological taxonomy of the Central West.The defining feature of the region is its unique geological composition; an 11—13 million year old volcanic flow of basalt, rhyolite, and other igneous rock emanating from Mount Canobolas (Gaahnabulla) flowing to Mount Panorama(Wahluu) and beyond. This lava flow is responsible for creating the regions distinctive quartz veins which holdrich gold seams, as well as the nutrient rich soils, rivers, and high-altitude peaks whichsustains many forms of endemic life. The rediscovery of several species of native orchidson Mount Canobolas after 40 years between major bushfire events is testament to theresilience of Australian ecosystems.

Reference images and textures gathered from the burnt landscape were used as inspiration for a series of earthenware vessels and ‘raku’ experiments, re-fired in a homemade kiln. Firing techniques such as ‘naked raku’ and ‘obvara raku’ were used, which involve heating theceramic rapidly in fire to over 900°C, then placing the red-hot ceramic in a container full ofleaf litter material gathered from the nearby bush, where it burns and reacts with the claybody in unpredictable ways. The resulting artworks are reminicent of an environmentfrequently reshaped by fire, and the diverse life which emerges.

A BRAG Foyer Exhibition

 

 

Images (left to right): JOEL TONKS , Lichen 2018, naked raku; Facet Vessel 2020, naked raku; Cracticus tibicen 2020, stoneware; Banksia Vessel, obvara raku; Burnt Banksia 2020, super-black acrylic on stoneware and Untitled Vessel 2019, naked raku; dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist. JOEL TONKS, Lichen 2018, naked raku. Image courtesy of the artist.