A move to historic Larundel Station at Elaine has provided artist Catherine Ratcliffe with the inspiration for her latest exhibition, which she is sharing with local silversmith Rachael Grose at the Art Gallery of Ballarat's Backspace.
Rachel Grose: Silver garden and Catherine Ratcliffe: The Narmbool Run opens on Friday. Each artist has created responses to their local environment through the medium they work in: Grose in embracing the lost wax process of silversmithing and Ratcliffe through works on canvas and paper.
"I have close to about 10 months of work here; created since the time I moved out to Larundel," says Catherine Ratcliffe. She and her partner are caretakers of the sprawling 2500-acre property adjoining Narmbool Station south of Ballarat.
Larundel's nine-bedroom, six-bathroom homestead was constructed in the 1870s. It was built by A.A. Austin, famous grazier and philanthropist and son of Thomas Austin, who introduced the rabbit to Victoria and had the massive Narmbool run.
That introduction is part of Ratcliffe's exploration in her work, as the devastation wrought by the rabbit is evident on the property and on the environment in Australia generally.
"It's interesting to see the relationship between the pastoralists and the land, and how the land has coped with that," says Ms Ratcliffe.
"The more I go around the property, the more it creates a picture of its past and present history, and our relationship with it. Narmbool has had so much conservation done."
It's interesting to see how much we can keep taking from the land before it doesn't give us anything back.Catherine Ratcliffe, artist
Ballarat silversmith Rachel Grose has been doing a mentorship with fellow artist Stephen Walsh, learning the skill of lost wax casting.
She has created a collection of silver jewellery featuring foraged little pieces of nature. Nuts and seeds have been cast in silver and framed to create wearable, one-of-a-kind, botanical structures.
"We worked out we can cast succulents, leaves, flowers, little berries," Ms Grose says.
"Basically you attach a wax sprue to these little things and you can shoot silver into them. It burns them out and makes exact replicas of the object. It's very much a miniature scale, which I love. I've been able to apply all the techniques I've learned over the years."
Rachel Grose: Silver garden and Catherine Ratcliffe: The Narmbool Run runsOctober 10 to 27 in the Backspace of the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Admission is free.