The Upside-down River
Rituals of Embodied Knowing, 2023

cbOne Gallery
Chapman & Bailey
1C Marine Parade, Abbotsford

The work Upside Down River is drawn from the experience of walking along and swimming in the Birrarung (Yarra) river during the Victorian lockdowns of 2021.  The fresco skins are made on a purpose-built wall and then waxed to reveal the sedimentary like crazing that emerges in the curing process when the lime-based render re-sequesters the carbon that was driven off during slaking.  In this sense the stone skin evokes the idea of breathing, along with the continual movement of moisture through the wall.  Swathes of umber dyed muslin evoke the suspended clay of the upside-down river, and the accretion of grit on the linen circle beneath references both the history of landscape painting and the continual movement of silt in the formation and disintegration of land and water.  When the grit is collected and reground into the body of the new fresco skin, the cycle will begin again. The hexagonal form of the installation recalls the radial basalt columns that typify the geological formation local to the area. The work will continue to shed and change each time it is moved, just as the river swells and subsides in response to the season. 

– Sarah Tomasetti, 2023