07 2016

Cindy Durant – LAYERS @ Adelaide Festival Centre

I’m excited to be performing at the exhibition opening of one of my favourite visual artists, Cindy Durant on 7 July 2016, at Artspace Gallery, Adelaide Festival Centre from 5:30pm. I was honoured when Cindy invited me to write the following essay for her stunning ‘Layers’ exhibition!

By Jodi Martin, Singer-songwriter

Cindy Durant’s glasswork focuses our lens on the ornate inside the ordinary. She sets aglow intricate textures and designs hidden in something so simple I might have been walking straight past it every day.

She opens our eyes.

The long way ‘round to Durant’s studio is one of many trails through the bush, and as we set out on one together, I begin to experience how Cindy sees things. This is so much more than a sandy track; it’s a journey into the world of infinite layers that she sets into glass:

Clouds disappearing to the horizon in strata upon strata of ever-changing textures and hues.

It’s more than a mallee tree. We pull back the first curtain of shimmering bottle greens to reveal tiny lime-green tendrils like an overlay of lace. We gaze through the meshwork to the silver cross-hatching of branches beyond.

It’s more than a roll of fencing wire. It’s three-dimensional line-work and loops… transparent in delicate symmetry.

We stop as Cindy’s knee brushes against the graceful seed-pods of a dried out, common weed, and we zoom in to it’s mesmirising patterns and shapes shifting back and forth over each other in the puffs of breeze.

Zoom in… zoom out…

Durant’s eyes sweep the horizon; the creamy velvet layers of distant dunes, their foreground curves plunging into the deep saltwater lake. Clouds descend into its liquid mirror too. They sink down as deep as the banks of cotton wool pile up, one behind the other, overhead.

After an hour of exploring, we step up into the shade of her studio. Glinting transparent sheets clink together. Durant cascades powdered glass onto the flat surface, like the sand fell off our shoes at the door. She mindfully distills her inspiration from the endless undulations of her edge-of-the-desert backyard.

That night, in the kiln, the layered colours of warm glass meld together.  Melding layers of history on a landmark. Melding layers of seaweed on a beach.

The process itself is dictated by the solitude of Durant’s remote environment. As the kiln warms the glass, the same remoteness dictates the shimmering brilliance of the desert night sky.

As far out as our most powerful telescopes have reached outwards, past infinite layers of stars, is the same distance our microscopes have reached inwards through the universe of molecules and cells.

Zooming out… zooming in….

Going both ways – we haven’t found the end of the layers.

Durant’s work brings into profound focus the little things. Unveiling magic we might sometimes miss.  She reminds us that the universe is built from layer upon layer of little things. That can take our breath away. That bring us back to Earth.

It’s important to address our big picture issues; to hold high as an Olympic torch our dreams of repairing a broken world. But perhaps this can only happen if we are willing to zoom in as far as we zoom out. To embrace the layers inside of us.

Perhaps it can only happen if we are willing not to miss the beauty that is already here.