Fence Tracker

FENCE TRACKER in the distance. 12.2013.

Fence Tracker is a substantial land art work running the full distance south to north of the Land Art Farm property.  I began work on Fence Tracker in September 2013, encouraged to start by a mix of influences and fortunate circumstances.

Fence Tracker has the contrasting, curving, drama and relative scale of a mini Christo project – although clearly not in the same orbit in terms of audacity, size and construction cost. Recent work by Jonathon Jones using antique fence posts from the Gippsland area has also inspired.

Running near 1,000 metres in spaced length, Fence Tracker was built, by hand over four months, using more than 850 posts, 2000 small rocks, and 40 litres of white paint.

Fence Tracker Michael James 3.2016 web

Fence Tracker, photographer Michael James 3.2016

A practical decision to renew the faded wood and wire front fence, 100 years old in parts, opened the opportunity and provided the materials for this major Land Art work. The ancient fence (gallery picture 1) from early New England grazing days gave up its weathered hardwood posts and poles to enable a unique site-specific land art piece.

Fence Tracker traces the new front fence (the Sugar Fence, made possible by my work with the Australian Sugar Industry over 2011-2013) and also the classic bush dirt road running east of LandArtFarm. Native bushland and the southern fence frames a first sighting of Fence Tracker for drivers rounding a bend from the passing bush road.

Approaching the front gate, Fence Tracker runs through the paddock Lookout then Triangle and into Long Run . It curves on north through Long Run tracking the terrain, the fence and the road. Only the south-north direction is highlighted with white paint. Viewed north to south the Fence Tracker look is natural – old wood greys and subtle red-gold-green lichen stains. Parts of Long Run are stark and rocky but with an amazing diversity of life is to be seen when you are face to the ground working closely on the art.

Finally, Fence Tracker gathers visual energy on the flat as it readies to scale the last 250 metres, climbing sharply to slow and stop at the LandArtFarm north fence nearly a kilometre in all.

Seven months in the making, I am now satisfied with this major piece and its earthy, dramatic impact. That Fence Tracker is a key LandArtFarm structure within its Australian bush-farm context is being confirmed positively by visitors, viewers and photographers. Sandra Welsman

Art and Time … update 7.2014. The slideshow shows the old fence and glimpses of Fence Tracker from south to north fencelines. These pictures were taken during the January 2014 summer drought, the white Fence Tracker contrasting with the dry and the brown. With little rain since, grass and natives shrubs have grown little and the local mob of kangaroos is keeping the vegetation short so far. The work is checked regularly for posts are bumped off their rocks by wildlife. A second coat of white paint is underway.

… update 1.2015. With rain this summer, grasses and shrubs have grown at points around the Fence Tracker pieces softening the view from afar. The larger, painted posts are withstanding the warmth, humidity and vegetation growth quite well.  … update 6.2017. Last summer was so wet, in places, Fence Tracker disappeared from sight amid long grasses and tree regrowth. Even with the need for regular maintenance it is still LandArtFarm’s flagship work.

Inspirations, Variations 

Christo and Jeanne Claude — Running FenceYellow Umbrellas

Jonathon Jones — posts and light 2013

For Richard Long by Pete Woodhead — on a beach

Book way to Heaven