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Inspired by Trees art exhibition at Burnside Civic Centre, September 29 to October 22, 2021 artists Dan Monceaux and Emma Monceaux have two artworks showing in the group art exhibition Inspired by Trees, which opened on September 29 in the Burnside Atrium at the Burnside Civic Centre. The exhibition is part of South Australia’s 2021 Nature Festival. Curated by the staff of Pepper Street Arts Centre in Magill, the exhibition features work from over 50 South Australian artists who were invited to respond to the following statement:

“The natural world is a vital component of the human experience, providing food, water, air, relaxation and inspiration. Trees are conspicuous ambassadors of the natural world, their lives entwined within the cycles of resources on which we depend. Trees are also conspicuous in our community, bringing beauty, peace, shelter, wildlife and wellbeing. Trees are fundamental to the landscape of Burnside.”

Funeral for a Tree – Emma Monceaux (2017)

Emma’s work Funeral for a Tree is a starkly-lit nocturnal portrait of a tree that is no longer standing. It was cut down during the redevelopment of Glenside, a former mental health precinct which lies within the City of Burnside. Many trees there were felled to accommodate residential construction. Emma staged the photograph in 2017, casting intense red light onto the tree from below and shooting on film with a long-exposure technique to give the image an ethereal, other-worldly quality. Her artist statement reads:

“This mature Eucalyptus tree was photographed at the Glenside Hospital site where hundreds of trees were felled to make way for a housing development in 2017. Before the chainsaws and bulldozers moved in, the land contained large areas of green space, including many mature trees deemed Regulated and Significant for their size and age. Despite community opposition, the housing development proceeded, removing habitat and food for native wildlife, including protected species like the Brushtail possum. Green spaces are proven to be beneficial to people’s mental and physical health, and provide invaluable cooling in our increasingly warming climate. Sadly, our green spaces are shrinking with increasing urban development and high density living. By creating concrete jungles that will be too hot to live in during Summer in some areas, we’re reducing the space needed for natural environments to flourish and provide benefits to ourselves and to native flora and fauna.”

This Tree is Our Home – Dan Monceaux (2021)

Dan’s new work This tree is our home is thematically-related. Loss of habitat due to the felling of mature trees has long been a concern of the artist, who also personally lobbied for the erection of possum boxes as some compensation for the loss of large trees in parks in Unley and Adelaide. The artwork was drawn, then machine-cut from coloured paper and assembled by hand with tape and glue.

The other works in the show are mostly two-dimensional- a range of drawings, paintings, textiles, a mosaic, some mixed media and digital prints on paper or canvas. They demonstrate a diverse range of approaches to the theme and will fill the walls of the Burnside Atrium at the Burnside Civic Centre until October 22, 2021. The Burnside Atrium is open Monday to Friday, from 8.30am until 5pm.

Also on display are a collection of award-winning tree-inspired poetry by high school students and an artwork made by children from Kensington Gardens Kindergarten. Visitors to the exhibition can also cast a vote for a People’s Choice award by filling out a form at the service desk.

  • Burnside Civic Centre
  • Corner of Greenhill Rd & Portrush Rd, Burnside, South Australia
  • Open hours – Monday to Friday, 8.30 am – 5 pm
  • Last day: October 22, 2021
  • Wheelchair accessible. Onsite parking available.
  • Free entry.
Inspired by Trees art exhibition in the Burnside Atrium
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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 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