Naturally inspired

• Jo Darvall and Bethwyn Porter with some of their prints. Photo by Jenny D’Anger.

SEA Sings, Black Sands and Wings Realm is a new print exhibition paying homage to the natural beauty of Heathcote Reserve.

Jo Darvall and Bethwyn Porter are exhibiting individually, but collaborated on the huge black-and-white prints of the trees and bushland in the Melville reserve.

Heathcote Museum and Gallery used to be a psychiatric hospital, but it’s the environment that takes centre stage in this tranquil and relaxing exhibition.

“There’s a mythical sense to the site. You can view it in so many ways,” Darvall says.

Black sands is a reference to the once black sands of the peninsula below the reserve.

It’s the first time the prints have been shown in WA, but they were previously exhibited in Beijing where Darvall sold a number to an appreciative Chinese audience.

Melbourne artist Martin King is also part of the exhibition.

Each of the artists drew on childhood memories of the natural world for their works.

King’s video animation has huge black crows swooping and wheeling above the Swan River.

Monotype prints of Heathcote’s soaring lemon scented gum trees were influenced by Porter’s ancestor Alfred Hill, a Perth surveyor and 1800s explorer.

The prints are done in the style of paintings by early settlers, which often represented the Australian bush as English parkland.

There’s also a collection of books created by Porter from prints of detritus found on Woodman Point beach, including the rubbish left by fishermen, plastic toys, tags bearing government logos, toothbrushes and thongs.

“And a USB stick from Curtin University.”

Elegant copperplate script details each object and the date they were found.

Sea Sings, Black Sands and Wings Realm is at Heathcote Museum and Gallery until October 13.

by JENNY D’ANGER

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