This exhibition is called 'Castings and Gleanings' and is an overview of my work from 1988 to the present day.
Gleanings refers to my use of found objects such as feathers, insects, beach glass, driftwood, stones and shells in my work.
Some of the works are coloured with pigments ground from ochre stones. There are paintings, pastels, sculptures and wall hangings in the exhibition.
The castings referred to are bronzes and slip cast ceramics based on three molds; a mask, a nude figure, and a take on the suburban icon of three flying ducks - a group of three flying 'dicks'.
I think the phallus is a taboo icon in our society yet in other cultures, for example Japanese and Bhutanese society, it is a revered and respected image for its evocation of the procreative spirit. I have given my penii wings, a kind of angelic interpretation of the image, and have since been interested to discover similar winged phalluses are to be found on the walls of ancient Greek frescoes and Egyptian tombs thousands of years old. The image clearly is an archtypal one, alluded to as such in the writings of Carl Jung.
In this varied and fascinating exhibition, I meld the psychoanalytic with the suburban in humorous homage to the ceramic wall hangings of the nineteen fifties, but there is a philosophy, or should I say phallosophy, behind my subversive interpretations.
November 12-17, 2002
Michael Commerford Gallery
16 McLachlan Ave.
Rushcutters Bay NSW Australia
Sometime builder's labourer, musican and writer but always artist, Irene Walls derives her constant inspiration from found objects in nature. Gathering a history cast before her by wind, sea and time, she constructs an uncompromising world of loss, whose gain is in the philosophical and intellectual realm. In the detritus of the past she finds keys to decisions about the future of a world we need reason to treasure.
Born in Amsterdam during the Holocaust, Irene came to Australia at the age of fifteen as one of the great influx of post World War 2 boat people that began the multicultural redevelopment of Australia .
In her long and varied artistic journey since sculpture has always been her passion. Even during her early career as BBC trained make-up artist working on such classics as the TV series Dr Who, the Hollywood production 'Blue Lagoon' with Brooke Shields and the seminal Australian film 'Newsfront', Irene's on-location collection of found objects became a source of much fascination for cast and crew.
By the mid 1980's she had moved full time into sculpture and painting, teaching at the EORA Aboriginal College for the Visual and Performing Arts. In the bi-centennial year of 1988, she sculpted 'The Muses' in consultation with the cartoonist Bruce Petty, painted a section of the Pitt Street Sydney Mural and brought to life with colour a giant animatronic flying watermelon in the 'First State '88 Exhibition'.
The works in her latest exhibition are gleaned from examples of her output over the past decade or more and cover a wide range of materials and techniques. The artisan attention to technical discipline in the work powers the pieces with impeccable surface and the dramatic subtlety for which she is renowned.
In celebration of nature, Irene finds delight in the power and mischief of the reproductive instincts, promoting the harmonious possibilities of human existence, whilst alluding to the tensions beneath.
This exhibition explores the yin-yang, light-heaviness of being. It resonates with the vibrant warmth and unique intelligence of the artist's life view.