Solitaire: Artists in Conversation, Tarrawarra Museum of Art. Words and photos -  Belinda Rogers


With a few flip-pity flops, I clamor through the first yellows of Autumn to sit in a conversation on Solitude at the beautiful Tarrawarra Art Gallery. I enter the beloved glass doors with a reverence drunk in expectation.

There are the usual folk, an assemblage of towers. Towers with bridges falling from the mind of myriad ideals. Solitudinarians and Social contextualists, motioning to each other in a most fragile sense, we are swept into a murmur of whispers which bounce from painting to painting.

The room is quietly breathing.

In out. In out. In.



Assumedly and admittedly, our vulnerability is a practicing hypocrisy. A fragmented question which avoids the whole so it can survive the question.

What is Solitude?

The works are breathtaking. Violent. Afraid. An assortment of strokes upon ideas which shelter us from the brutality of the image. They remind me of why I slept with the light on when I was a child.


These are the works of artists who bear into the question simply because they must return with secret colors for those who do not dare to plunge, only linger in the afterglow.

I did not see at first, the man who stands so bravely in Euan Macleods ʻOcean/Fishingʼ painting. I did not see the line which fought the waves, I simply fell into the water, felt the waves over my head. Clawed my fingers into the rocks and gasped for air.

My question remains. Did I let go?

A line of red drifts across the room. She is Heather B Swann, and so she should be. Her very name denotes the line of music which seems authentic to her soul. Her works, so quietly and humbly placed on the floor of the gallery, bear down on my own artistic fire and quenches itʼs thirst from somewhere unknown. I sit and watch this deeply honest woman and am intrigued that she would first contemplate how her sculptures could hold the negative space surrounding them. It is as though, as refined and deliberate each sculpture is, they have the ability to disappear. It is true, the figures belong to each other but they do not speak to each other. They are created in equal care, but bend in different ways. Falling from the emptiness surrounding them they do not finish their journey nor do they fight their decline.

They feel foreign, close, benign. Potent.

I feel suddenly very large. Clumsy.

Messy as though the bridge is falling.

They are holding something. And I, am standing in itʼs secret.

My thoughts race. Do they know me? In my awkwardness, they reach for me, sympathizing with the depths of my memory. My feet scuffle, my thought turns silver.

A tear falls from my eye.

Cradled in the nothingness, it disappears.

But still exists.

What are we but this?

Answers unlearning questions.

An autumn awaiting a spring, already born.