Julie Blyfield never tires of looking at the Australian nature. Often her looking is at botanical specimens in museums, fragile survivors from the past ranged in drawers, but she also relishes seeing new environments, seeking out fresh inspiration for making jewellery and objects.
Embrace is Blyfield’s response to visiting the Kimberley region in northeast Western Australia in May 2018, staying near the Bungle Bungles in the World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park, the home of the the Jaru and Gidja peoples, who are its Traditional Custodians. This new body of work comes from immersing herself in the country, driving, walking, taking hundreds of photographs, collecting plant samples, absorbing the rich colours and textures.
Blyfield is nationally and internationally known both for jewellery and vessels, which always take the exquisite structures of the natural world as inspiration. Here she brings the two forms of her practice together in a concerted tribute to the glory of that desert country in Western Australia. On one long plinth she is presenting a model landscape, the upturned copper vessels evoking the soft bulbous shapes and intense colours of the Bungle Bungles, the delicate painted flowers and foliage of the silver jewellery threading between them, fragile and ephemeral.
Tough pebbles, delicate blooms, stringy spinifex, seeds promising new life: Julie Blyfield evokes the extraordinary beauty of that remote northwestern desert, in tribute to its present beauty and enduring significance.