Exhibition: Tracey Deep Shadow Poem

Tracey Deep Moon river

Tracey Deep
Moon river

The opening of this exhibition last weekend at Sturt Gallery was warm, friendly, beautiful. Sunshine on spring gardens, the large light gallery space full of texture and movement, a particularly relaxed and friendly crowd, works inviting, intriguing, rewarding our attention and thought.

Tracey Deep and Slavica Zivkovic (gallery manager) in front of Shadow song

Tracey Deep and Slavica Zivkovic (gallery manager) in front of Shadow song

Tracey Deep’s background is in floral sculpture and installation. That sensibility is still seen in her eye and the shapes she creates as well as some of her materials, but here she has created less ephemeral but still organic, lively and often visually, if not physically, fragile pieces.

Tracey Deep Exhibition view

Tracey Deep
Exhibition view

The exhibition was opened by Robin Powell, garden columnist. I particularly appreciated her talk as she really did introduce the artist and her work – both new to me. Robin spoke of the way Tracey is able to show us the world, the garden, with new eyes. There is a sense of surprise, of discovery.

Tracey Deep Wind spirit

Tracey Deep
Wind spirit

Tracey Deep Wind spirit (detail)

Tracey Deep Wind spirit (detail)

Tracey gives new life, a double life, to what has outlived its first. Before the opening formalities I had looked carefully at Wind Spirit, admired the liveliness of the lines, what looked like barbed wire but was actually a mass of very carefully wound and finished ends, rusty metal tendrils in a wreath.

How could I have missed the (not so) unmistakeable coils of bed springs?

Tracey Deep Wisdom

Tracey Deep
Wisdom

Not all the materials were so hard to identify – Wisdom, here on a plinth but with potential for wall display, undulates over its base of bra underwires. Other raw materials included an outdoor chair, beaded seat rest, frayed ghost net. Tracey was very friendly, happy to chat with us (I was with Claire of Tactual Textiles), and she confirmed she is always looking, alert to found materials with potential.

Tracey Deep Moonscape

Tracey Deep
Moonscape

As the exhibition title suggests, shadow is a significant concern of the artist. Light falls on and through the works, layered, like shadows in nature. Robin Powell suggested shadows are the spirit of Tracey’s work. The ample light in the gallery, both natural and artificial, made the most of this feature.

Tracey Deep Shadow spirit

Tracey Deep
Shadow spirit

There was a real sense of unity and yet diversity in the works on display. I particularly like the way Tracey revisited ideas in different materials and scales. For example Shadow Spirit used quite a wide wire mesh, formed into a shape, in this case an open-topped box or vessel, and then interlaced with a feathery string. Those light laces created movement, defined the space contained without hiding it, gave an air of fragility.

Tracey Deep Sacred Spirit

Tracey Deep
Sacred Spirit

Visually similar materials at a smaller scale were used to create a series of pouches or bags, Sacred Spirit. That pouch shape was also seen in Bush Spirit, back in a mid-scale and in wooden beads.

Tracey Deep Moon shadow (detail)

Tracey Deep
Moon shadow (detail)

The idea of open metal frame interlaced with feathery yarn was used again at large scale in Moon shadow (seen in the background of the exhibition view photograph above). This work formed a deep relief on the wall, with complex layers and once again those ever-present, ephemeral, shadows.

I found so much to admire, to learn from, in this artist and her work. With my upcoming (in a few months) welded sculpture workshop I am very excited about the possibilities in combining metal forms and textile elements. Many of the pieces used textile techniques, particularly weaving (one example among many Tree Spirit) and wrapping – Woodwind II would make a great case study for one of the Mixed Media for Textiles assignments.

However I think more important is the approach – Tracey Deep’s work displays great care and attention to detail, thoughtfulness laced through with humour and joy.


The exhibition is on until 13 November, a rewarding destination for a springtime drive.

3 Responses to “Exhibition: Tracey Deep Shadow Poem”


  1. 1 Jane Bodnaruk September 30, 2016 at 5:55 am

    Her work is lovely – I was introduced to her work recently – maybe she was featured on gardening Australia. i’ll stop in there next time I go to canberra

  2. 3 Claire B December 9, 2016 at 7:25 am

    I’ve just seen a lovely piece by Tracey Deep at Emirates Wolgan Valley. Very recognisable as her work. She used columns of twigs (each around 60cm in length) stitched together in an undulating line to represent the ebb and flow of the terrain and the slanted building roofs as each individual room works its way up the hillside. The whole piece would stretch perhaps 3 metres.


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Fabulous figure sculpting workshop with Kassandra Bossell!

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