Dam Works - Forms of Order 1

Duck dam dry 13

Forms of Order – Dam Art I. 1.2014 … Duck Dam

The New England region is known as an inland higher rainfall area, at least by Australian measures, but winter and spring of 2013 were unusually dry.

By November 2013, two smaller dams on LandArtFarm were empty, and long, hot, rainless summer months meant, for the first time, I was able to walk on the baked deep dam mud – opportunities for dam land art.

This uncommon weather circumstance offered a rare chance for constructing simple land art works in and near the dry dams – working at fast pace, hoping each day for heavy rain, encouraged by visions of art works hopefully soon to be surrounded and supported by lapping water – and then difficult to enhance or repair.

Forms of Order 1 – Duck Dam installation.

Forms of Order - Dam Art. 1.2014

Scale – a 15 year CD story – plus Contrast and Repetition.

The dry and deeply cracked mud of Duck Dam – devoid of ducks and pond life – offered a rare canvas for a land art installation using old fence wire panels and an even older and outmoded CD collection running back over 15 years.

Close up, these CDs are a snapshot of modern technology history used for internet connections and computer software all the way through to industry research and extension and to entertainment. The CD, a once shiny new invention already going the way of dinosaurs.

When at last the dam fills, water will gently lap the standing wire and CD discs. While waiting for rain, initially the shimmering and clacking in the wind offset the stillness of the empty dam.

In the later months of 2014, as light rain fell, reeds and long grass started to regrow, and tall, almost submerging the land art work in bright green vegetation, too much even for kangaroos to trim.

Art and Time … update 7.2014 and 1.2015. The big rain event has not yet come – although it will. Only light rain in the 2014-15 summer means the paddocks are green but the small dams are still empty.  Sandra Welsman

… update 6.2017. Last spring and summer were, wetter than ‘normal’ and the dams and art pieces are taking the form envisaged years back when work started in the dry. In Duck Dam the water is clearing and laps the art frame.

Inspirations, Variations

Andy Goldsworthy – Forked sticks in water 1979

Gerry Barry – Land Art Installations, Ireland

Floating balls in Japanese Pond

Behind Duck Dam, a by-the-way piece, Bubble Bauble. Five witches hovering over the highest point of our Deep Dark Gully. These natural constructs from Mistletoe now dead and hanging low on part dead gully tree branches facing off the dam wall viewing place.


Bubble Bauble. 3.2016

Just a slight accentuation needed to move from nature to a form of art.

Here, fine strings of silver baubles take the lines and shape of the Weird Sisters’ long and tangled hair.

In time the silver will fade to a tarnished grey intertwined with the fragile strands. In longer time, the piece will disintegrate, part by piece, wind gust or storm by storm

Until then, yes, ‘Double Double Toil and Trouble, Fire Burn, and Cauldron Bubble …’. William Shakespeare Macbeth