In July, Dorothy and I stopped at a dried out salt lake near Wentworth. Beach-like, the lake left a tidal line along a curving shore. The vegetation looked like ocean flora; there was the glimmering saltiness of everything, and saltbush everywhere. It reminded me of Sturt’s hankering for an inland sea, and his wishful voyage along the Murray, that led him out, not in. This work puts these observations together: a drawing, made from the sanded emboss of saltbush leaves, runs, river-like, across the space. A looped film of clouds reflected in a shallow salt lake recalls the dream of an inland sea, supported by the sound of ocean.
For the past two and a half decades, Sharon Jewell has been involved in developing her visual art practice through a vast range of media and contexts, exhibiting regularly and pursuing a particular creative voice through a number of overseas and more local artist residencies. Most recently this inquiry has seen her through the greater part of a PhD candidature, in which she has identified and explored the ways in which care can function as a key mode of approach in a visual art practice. Highlights of Jewell’s artistic working life have included overseas residencies through the Australia Council’s residency programme, first in 1994, in the north of Italy, and in 2011, in Helsinki. It was here that she developed a way of drawing that touched on a kind of shamanic connection with landscape and climate, and talismanic forms of drawing. Other key moments have included her involvement in art and environment projects, both on north Stradbroke Island, through the Lines in the Sand Festivals, as part of art and environment projects in Korea and Japan.