Robyn Bauer
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2009 Homecoming

An exhibition of ceramic sculpture by
Robyn Bauer

What is a “Homecoming”?
The experience of leaving and then returning…Are you the same person or are you a completely different person? Do you somehow revert to the person you were in that first place? Both the leaving and returning are voyages and this is what interests me.

These are questions I have explored on a personal level but on a much larger scale, I have been reading and researching for the past few years about the voyages of discovery made in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The experience of Cook, Flinders and the Frenchman Baudin, was that of leaving their homeland and then returning and the discoveries that they made in between. With their European sensibility and classical education they actively sought the new and exotic and attempted to take it back with them to their “home”.

We here in Australia are a nation with a European heritage, so culturally where do we belong? We have been trained in the conventions of western thought and experience. We have responded to and been enthralled by the collections of exotica and the analytical descriptions of the botanical artists who travelled on these voyages. Sometimes the evidence of our eyes can be overwhelming and we need the filter that science and geography provide. These artists looked at Australia with such filters.

Even as a young child born and raised in Dalby in country Queensland I felt the “foreignness” of the Australian landscape and animals. The books we read then were all about somewhere else and not here. Things native to Australia still hadn’t been filtered enough for us to feel truly at home here.

As an artist I needed to decide where I wanted to place myself spiritually. I have always been so influenced by my passion for the history of art, the way symbols have developed, particularly those of animals and birds. And how such images become icons?
This has led me to explore the use of animal and bird imagery in heraldry and in chess sets. The honesty and integrity of the medieval artist is of particular influence.

The subtext of my “Homecoming” work is about some “too big issues”, such as the extinction of species, and displaced people and animals, the imposition of a particular culture on a landscape; an animal on a landscape; or removing an animal or a person from their natural habitat.

These are not all negative things. I have explored the idea of family trees in which the idea of belonging is central. My “Hand-leaf-safe-people” also present a very positive state of being and feeling.
My sculptures are just meditations on these things. My ideas flow so quickly. I can make them in a solid form and this hopefully is a form of communication that can reach other people. I have no answers only observations about the relationships between all these things that prompt further questions.
I feel a sense of the circle being completed by showing my new work in the town I was born in.

Image of several of the pieces from this show Family Tree 1- Out of the Blue Family Tree 2 - Flying Lessons (Pink) Family Tree 3 - Siblings (Green) Family Tree 4 - When Plants Dream (Blue) Family Tree 5 - Ancestor (Orange) Family Tree 6 - Shoulder Ride (pink) Hand-leaf Safe People