Forsaken and dissembled cars in thick bushland wouldn’t ordinarily present themselves as points of interest - but these abandoned and forgotten vehicles are given a second chance to tell their story in Catherine Large’s recent exhibition, Unintended Consequences.
Walking regularly amongst the dry eucalypt bushland of Mt. Coot-tha, near her home in Brisbane, Catherine Large has for many years enjoyed the colours, textures, light and “bush silence” of the mountain through the changing seasons.
"Many of these trails have their origins from 1 August 1942, when the Brisbane City Council lent Mt Coot-tha to the US Navy for use as an ordnance depot; these trails were roads that the 55th Naval Construction Battalion of the US Navy built to access the munitions storage scattered over the mountain."1 - Catherine Large
It’s this sense of place which she initially envisaged translating into more traditional forms of enamel; using sterling silver and translucent colours. However, on one of her regular walks, Large took an interest in the wreck of a 1973 Toyota Corolla E20 - one of the many car wrecks scattered throughout the mountain. Transfixed by the bits of rusted metal embedded into the earth, she began to accumulate steel from the wreck.
"The flat intense colour of the enamel I have used reflects the colours of car duco of the 1970’s but is itself a result of unintended consequences; in 2019 I purchased these colours because they were half price and I wanted to practice the technique of enamelling on steel. These colours, serendipitously, reflect the Toyota duco colours of the time of the car’s manufacture."
These series of events, or unintended consequences, are what spikes Catherine Large’s curiosity. Not only because the idea of a steel car body ending up as a piece of wearable art2 is so wonderfully absurd, but because these disparate events that led the car to the site appear to come full circle. What once was a car that represented such independence and reliability for Australian society, could be defined as a work of art in its own right, and it only seems fitting that one day its remains should end up in an artist’s studio.
"Working with the rusty steel with minimal preparation allows the material and process to dictate the outcome. The result is revealed layers of colour, rusty spots peeping through, rough edges and a variety of finishes."
 Queensland World War II Historic Places https://www.ww2places.qld.gov.au/place?id=964
 It has been done before most notably by Ted Noten @droog. He converted a Mercedes Benz into 100 brooches https://www.droog.com/projects/100-brooches-by-ted-noten/
This project is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.