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Reflections on ‘Each thing has its time/Chaque chose a son temps’ by Anita Devos PhD
Finding ‘the right time to draw’ helps Carolyn Roberts explore the dynamic and fluid state of everything in nature—in Normandy and in Melbourne—the passing of time, a condition Caz refers to as ‘cyclical time’.
Regulus Regulus - Le roitelet, Carolyn Roberts
Reflections on ‘Each thing has its time/Chaque chose a son temps’
I first saw the work for this exhibition on a cool morning in Carolyn’s loft studio in Normandy. That morning, Caz explained which works were finished and which had yet to be completed. Only a couple of works were incomplete, not because Caz couldn’t decide how to finish them, but because the berry or weed she needed was not at the correct stage of growth or decline to be drawn.
This sensitivity, this careful paying attention to the present moment, is a hallmark of the work in this exhibition. It also offers a resting place for the title of the exhibition.
Paying attention to the present moment is, in turn, what Caz invites us to do as we view her work.
In finding ‘the right time to draw’ that weed or berry, Caz is not trying to pin down the moment in order to memorialise. On the contrary, her work explores the dynamic and fluid state of everything in nature—in Normandy and in Melbourne—the passing of time, a condition Caz refers to as ‘cyclical time’.
In this rendering, there is no room for sentimentality. Nature is harsh. There are predators and the preyed upon, and all things pass. Beauty here is not always the flower with all its petals, the bird in its prime of life. Beauty may be found in all stages of growth, decline and decay.
This sensibility is reminiscent of a Buddhist world-view. Buddhists say attachment is the root cause of human suffering. Release from suffering comes through accepting the impermanence of all things. In the works in this exhibition, all things perish, yet in so doing transform into something differently beautiful.
The different faces of beauty and impermanence are represented too in the evocation of music in many of the works. Torn from sheet music from an old trunk, songs are ‘de-composed’, disassembled into fragments, which float and tumble and fall to earth. They tell a story of ‘songs once sung’ and now passed into time.
Les oubliees/The forgotten ones too are fragments of a time. They evoke curiosity. Who were these people? By what path did their images come to rest in these artworks? They too experience time as cyclical—long since passed yet here enjoying a beautiful renaissance.
The plants, insects and birds, the old sheet music, the forgotten ones— simultaneously expressing, and transcending, a moment in time and place.
Anita Devos PhD
Exhibition runs: 17 October to 4 November, 2018.