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Dan Monceaux and Emma Monceaux’s new art reflects climate change, polar melt and the gaze of the Surveillance State

Shows Dan Monceaux's iceberg sculpture suspended from the ceiling in Gallery 1855

Dan Monceaux and Emma Monceaux’s latest artworks reflect their attention to existential threats, the environment and the surveillance state. The creative husband and wife team have two new works currently showing at Gallery 1855 in Tea Tree Gully, South Australia in the group exhibition “I see you, you see me”. Dan also recently delivered a spoken word piece at Truth to Power Cafe, a special one-off theatrical event held at the Adelaide Festival Centre on September 17, 2021.

Suspended from the ceiling in one of Gallery 1855’s three main rooms is “Icy, I sea, I see” by Dan Monceaux. The sculpture is made from recycled polystyrene foam packaging, which has been reshaped using glue and hot wire into a semblance of an iceberg. The iceberg is “split” by a large, round perspex disc, which evokes the surface of the ocean while acting as a mirror in which a curious observer can see their own reflection. The work is suspended from the ceiling by fishing line and chain. Dan’s artist statement reads:

“Since 1990, Australia has consistently ranked among the top 8 per-capita greenhouse gas-emitting nations. Pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans are on track to outnumber fish by 2050. Ice is melting, seas are rising, mass extinction is occurring. Humanity needs to reflect on its past and rapidly shape a survivable future.

Emma Monceaux’s untitled artwork at Gallery 1855 is an arrangement of two fused glass circles, placed on a recycled mirror. The piece evokes an unblinking eye, and is a response to the unwanted attention of the Surveillance State that this husband and wife pair have endured for over five consecutive years.

Dan Monceaux recently addressed this same subject more directly with spoken word piece, as a guest participant in Truth to Power Cafe. Conceived and directed by Jeremy Goldstein, the Truth to Power Cafe invites participants to answer the question: “Who has power over you and what would you say to them?” The pair has experienced the combined chronic and acute stresses of being held against their will under total surveillance for over five years. In his speech, Monceaux declared the Surveillance State “an abomination… a rogue force… reckless, cruel, unaccountable” after listing some of the many ways its apparatus and personnel have interfered with his life. The performance was well-attended and received by the audience and Dan is considering developing his piece further for presentation in another format.

Both Dan and Emma are developing a reputation for stretching the boundaries of group exhibitions between occasional dedicated ForceofNature.eco exhibitions. In the case of “I see you, you see me” at Gallery 1855, the pair responded to a call for portraiture. Both artists remain attentive to social and environmental justice issues and often reflect these in their artwork which vary in media and form, and range from representational to abstract.

Dan and Emma Monceaux’s next public exhibition will be as contributing artists in “Inspired by Trees”; a group exhibition curated for the Burnside Civic Centre by Pepper Street Art Centre.

The group art exhibition “I see you, you see me” is on at Gallery 1855 until October 2, 2021. The gallery is free to enter, wheelchair accessible and is open from 12 noon until 5pm, Wednesday to Sunday. The gallery is set among the gum trees at 2 Haines Road, Tea Tree Gully, South Australia.

Gallery 1855, 2 Haines Rd, Tea Tree Gully, South Australia
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Dan & Emma Monceaux make and exhibit art promoting social justice

In addition to their commitment to promoting nature and its conservation and restoration, Dan Monceaux and Emma Monceaux’s artworks often promote social justice. Emma’s most recent artwork “Freedom from Fear” is the latest manifestation of this, though the theme has been present in their work for many years.

“Freedom from Fear” is currently showing in Stitch & Resist, a group art exhibition curated by the Centre of Democracy in Adelaide, and presented at The Mill. Emma’s new work is typographical, hand-stitched onto a wire fly-screen background using long black glass beads and evocative red silk thread.

Freedom from Fear – Emma Monceaux

Emma’s artist statement for “Freedom from Fear” follows:

Everyone deserves to feel safe and live without fear. To live a life free from physical
and psychological abuse, free from slavery, torture, exploitation, racism, oppression,
discrimination, intimidation, harassment, interference and gaslighting. The trauma response
to such experiences can have long-term and devastating impacts on an individual, not all of
which are visible to others. Fear is fuelled when an individual’s freedom is taken away by the
cruel intentions of another.

Dan Monceaux’s prior artworks with social justice themes include his works on surveillance, policing, Julian Assange and Wikileaks, racism, freedom and national security. These themes have emerged in his animated LED badge designs (in production), designs for shirts and other apparel available to buy on Redbubble and Zazzle, and most recently his Intelligence Ltd cartoon series (in production). Some of those design feature in the gallery below.

Dan Monceaux and Emma Monceaux will continue to make artwork that supports a more peaceful, just and equitable world for people and the biosphere. You can support them by purchasing work from this website.

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Call for artists and artworks inspired by or depicting temperate Australian marine life

Totally Immersed - Call for entry 2021

Are you a visual artist? Is your work inspired by the temperate marine environment? Does it reflect the plants or animals that live there? If the answer is “yes” then we want to see it!

Force of Nature is thrilled to to be working with Experiencing Marine Sactuaries on two exciting projects in 2021. Both will help weave celebrations of creative expression into the not-for-profit organisation’s established marine environmental education program.

We’ll be hand-selecting artworks from anywhere in the world to present alongside online professional marine science presentations. The talks will be delivered via Zoom live, then republished on EMS’ Youtube channel. We’ll also be selecting some feature artists, and curating the “real life” return of Totally Immersed in mid-November 2021. Totally Immersed debuted in 2019 as an art, underwater photography and video exhibition, held in the City of Marion, South Australia. We’ll be building on the success of the first edition and bringing it to a new venue, TBC.

These projects present several opportunities for visual artists working in any medium. A selection of works will be integrated into each of the online marine science talks. Each artwork will be shown in the video, along with a 1-minute selfie video in which the artist can discuss their work. Some marine science talks may include a single “feature artist” which presents an additional speaking opportunity. The November event, Totally Immersed, will be a showcase event for South Australian marine-themed art, where artists’ work will remain on display for several weeks and be available for purchase at the artist’s discretion.

The 2019 exhibition included work in a range of media by Frances Allan, Carl Charter, Helen Crawford, Stephen Johnson, Zinia King, Dan Monceaux, Emma Monceaux, Barbary O’Brien, Daryll Rivett, Allan Sumner and Julia Wakefield. Some of the work exhibited appears below.

The opportunity

If your artwork is selected for inclusion in the marine science talks program, a small fee will be offered as a gratuity for its use, along with on-screen attribution. You are also encourage to provide a 1-minute selfie-video discussing your work to include in the presentation. Some talks may include a “feature artist” while others will include a collection of works from multiple artists. Artists are also welcome to decline the usage fee and instead donate their work for inclusion in the talk and publication to video platforms and social networks, if they like. All the available opportunities and options are set out on the entry form below.

The marine science talk program is currently in preparation. Examples of subjects include:

  • Little penguins
  • Sharks and rays
  • Cryptic creatures
  • Museum collections
  • Marine protected areas
  • Seal and sealions

How to enter

Works and collections will be considered as they are received, with selected artists notified by email. Entries received later than October 31 may not be considered for these 2021 events. Force of Nature will also be actively scouting for artists and artworks.

To enter, download the .PDF entry form below, and email it to: dan@danimations.com.au

Links to PDF download
Download 2021 Artist Expression of Interest Form

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Help needed: Catch a Giant Australian Cuttlefish in Gulf St Vincent for scientific study

Photo of Giant Australian Cuttlefish on deck of boat, grabbing a horsehoe leatherjacket

Have you ever caught a cuttlefish while fishing from shore or sea in Gulf St. Vincent, South Australia? Next time you catch one, you might like to consider donating it to science to help modern scientists complete a 172 year-old task that will enhance our understanding of Giant Australian cuttlefish, Australia-wide. Read on for background information, or skip to the end of the article for contact details if you catch one and are willing to donate it. This article will be updated once we have received roughly five male and five female cuttlefish specimens.

BACKGROUND

Since the late 1990s, the Giant Australian Cuttlefish aggregation that occurs each winter in South Australia’s upper Spencer Gulf has developed an international profile as a tourist attraction and bonafide natural wonder. But giant Australian cuttlefish occur right across temperate and sub-tropical Australia, and form numerous distinct populations- possibly even different species.

The northern Spencer Gulf cuttlefish population is the central subject of a forthcoming documentary film called Cuttlefish Country that we’ve been working on since 2011. In our research, we learned that many scientific questions about cuttlefish in Australia remain unanswered. There is a role to play for “citizen scientists” like you to help professional scientists fill these knowledge gaps and advance our understanding of life in the sea.

Understanding these populations, and determining whether they are distinct species or subspecies, begins with the art and science of taxonomy. For centuries, taxonomy has relied on naturalists collecting, observing, drawing and precisely noting the physical features of an animal or plant. Once published, this would then provide scientists worldwide with a visual and verbal “description” to compare other organisms with.

Taxonomy has allowed biologists worldwide to gradually figure out relationships within and between different groups of plants and animals. Once described, a species is given a unique scientific name, which may change in time as relationships between different animals are better understood. Advances in genetic analysis in recent decades have lead to many taxonomic “shuffles”, but a complete and detailed physical description of every organism is where the magic begins.

In the case of the Giant Australian Cuttlefish, Sepia apama, that work is incomplete. It was started in 1859 by the British zoologist, John Edward Gray, but the specimen he described was a cuttlebone only. This has complicated modern scientists’ efforts to compare the originally described population from Gulf St Vincent with populations elsewhere.

Before the Sepia apama record can be updated with a complete description of the animal, new specimens need to be collected from the same region where the original cuttlebone was collected: Gulf St Vincent. Those waters extend from Cape Jervis in the east to Port Wakefield in the north and Edithburgh in the west.

Scientists are ideally seeking a total of 5 male and 5 female specimens from these waters, which is where South Australia’s recreational fishers can help out. Our first specimen was supplied last week by Tony Bainbridge, who caught it offshore from Seaford (pictured above and below). Other fishers have caught them previously from jetties, kayaks and boats at locations like Rapid Bay, Second Valley, Moana, Port Noarlunga, Marino, Brighton and Outer Harbor.

HOW CAN I HELP?

If you catch a Giant Australian cuttlefish in Gulf St Vincent waters and are willing to donate it to science, please photograph it when you first catch it, then keep it refrigerated or frozen. Call or message me (Dan) on 0411039592 or send an email to dan@danimations.com.au . Please take note of the depth and location if you’re on a boat or kayak. I’ll arrange to collect it from you and deposit it at the South Australian Museum. The scientists there will take a tissue sample for genetic analysis and the body will be pickled and preserved for physical comparisons. You will be recorded as the collector.

Completing the taxonomic description of Sepia apama is a crucial step in understanding and classifying the Giant Australian cuttlefish populations of Australian waters and a great chance for fishos to help get this 172 year-old job done! I’ll be sure to keep all volunteers updated via Facebook as the project progresses. There is no deadline for providing specimens, so this call will remain open until we have a total of roughly five male and five female cuttlefish suitable for study.

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New environmental and political artworks by Dan Monceaux and Emma Monceaux on show at Adelaide Fringe 2021

Thumbnail of complete collage artwork (without frame)

Force of Nature artists Dan Monceaux and Emma Monceaux have new environmental and political artworks showing in two group art exhibitions during the 2021 Adelaide Fringe. Both exhibitions are now open and free to enter. Works are available for purchase at each of the galleries, and unsold works will be available to purchase from this website thereafter.

  • Studio photograph of completed artwork Coral 1
  • Thumbnail of complete artwork
  • Thumbnail of hanging artwork
  • Thumbnail of complete artwork
  • Thumbnail of complete collage artwork (without frame)
  • Cartoon depicting a father and son stargazing. They notice a drone flying above them and discuss it.

At Gallery 1855 in Tea Tree Gully, South Australia, Dan and Emma are among over fifty exhibiting artists who have responded to the exhibition name and theme: Remade. South Australian artists were encouraged to make new works using found, recovered, repurposed and up-cycled material from home, natural or industrial sources.

Emma’s new glass work Coral 1 is a shallow fused glass dish inspired by climate change and coral bleaching events. It was made from transparent glass off-cuts produced in her studio while working on other artworks. The medium itself has already been “remade” from silica (sand) into glass, before being cut, arranged, fused and slumped into its current form in a kiln.

Also showing in Remade is Dan Monceaux’s new hanging sculpture, Money Trap. The work was inspired by his work researching the fish farm aquaculture industry in Australia and its environmental consequences. The work is made from an abandoned crab net recovered while snorkelling under a jetty in Port Adelaide, fishing tackle, chain, and fish cut from a piece of discarded corrugated iron fencing.

Four more of Dan and Emma Monceaux’s artworks are showing in A Light in the Dark in the Auditorium Gallery at the City of West Torrens’ civic centre. Artists were invited to “explore what light they have found in complex social and political times” for the group exhibition. Emma’s interest in responding to the consequences of climate change in abstract illustrative work can be seen in her large-format work, Sea ice. The piece is a digital illustration printed on linen, previously exhibited at the Port Adelaide Artists Forum in 2017.

Emma and Dan each have new cut paper collage works hanging in A Light in the Dark. Emma’s piece, in stark contrast to the black, white and red palette of Sea ice is a jubilant explosion of colour. Made from paper, Neon sunset beams out brilliant neon hues from a carefully balanced, circular geometric composition. Dan’s cut paper piece Enslaved? is a minimal reflection on the abhorrent practice of slavery, which persists in the 21st century. It invites the viewer to ask themselves: am I enslaved? Saved? Or both?

Dan Monceaux’s other contribution to A Light in the Dark is a digital illustration printed and hung in A0 poster format. Entitled Stargazing, the artwork is the first in a forthcoming series of cartoons under the series name: Intelligence Ltd. These cartoons are a response to the expansion of the Surveillance State and its impact on civil society. Combining whimsy, pathos and humour, the series promises to enlighten and promote public discussion of liberty and human rights in the age of rampant and poorly regulated mass and targeted surveillance.

The artists are available for interview or comment on their works. They can be contacted via instagram at: @emma.monceaux and @dan.monceaux .

Gallery addresses and opening hours for the two exhibitions are included in the table below.

GalleryWest Torrens AuditoriumGallery 1855
Address1 Brooker Tce, Hilton, SA2 Haines Rd, Tea Tree Gully, SA
Sunday1pm-4pmClosed
Monday10am-6pmClosed
Tuesday12noon-6pmClosed
Wednesday8am-6pm12noon-5pm
Thursday12noon-8pm12noon-5pm
Friday10am-6pm12noon-5pm
Saturday10am-4pm12noon-5pm
Last day21/03/2124/04/21
Emma Monceaux & Dan Monceaux’s works (centre) in the group art exhibition A Light in the Dark at the West Torrens Auditorium Gallery