Sunday, May 8, 2011


The latest work from South Australian artist Audrey Harnett is an amalgamation of "memento mori" and the heartfelt nostalgia of Victorian mourning jewellery and I was lucky enough to have a sneak peek - so of course I had to share it with you! This beautiful shrine is dedicated to the passage of time and the natural states of change and decay that passage renders.

Constructed entirely of found objects gleaned from the beaches and bushland of Kangaroo Island the shrine is also a celebration of love - and  loss - as part of the Natural Order.

The exterior of the shrine is adorned with vintage sheet music and Audrey's screen and relief print images of birds - the symbol of the supernatural link between the heavens and the earth.

Below is the detail of an image Audrey has etched onto copper and attatched to the shrine.

As intriguing as a cabinet of curiousity  the shrine begs to be opened ...

When the contents are revealed we find -

- bones and tin and pieces of driftwood hand-carved into beautiful organic heart shapes arranged in a manner that invites us to contemplate our own mortality and the beauty of life.

I once read somewhere that Joseph Cornell was an alchemist -  collecting and arranging found objects to create stories about things we cannot see like memories, ideas and feelings, out of things we can see and are often quite familiar with. I think Audrey is weaving her own magic for us with this visual poem - don't you?


Anonymous said...

Thats so cool. Great to explore.

Melissa said...

It's fabulous, thanks

Anonymous said...

Kangaroo Island - a place my parents honeymooned in 1959, where they then sold their little shack.