as part of F.INC = (f)route Frouteville Float Foundry Exhibition until 13 May 2017
Last year artist Cameron Robbins opened his solo show at MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania. He was the first Australian artist to have the honour of the entire space being dedicated to his uniquely captivating elemental work. Last week the East Gippsland Art Gallery in Bairnsdale felt privileged to host Robbins’ Small Electrical Storm drawing machine, as part of F.INC = (f)route Frouteville Float Foundry Exhibition until 13 May 2017.
This compact mechanical work has been installed in the Gallery’s new Side Show Space to provide a glimpse of the work that Robbins is creating in his role as FLOAT artist in residence. FLOAT – part of the ‘Small Town Transformation’ program, is based at Lake Tyers Beach, where the community is building an artist-made floating studio. This floating residency for artists and researchers, to live and work, will provide a unique opportunity to observe the local estuarine environment, to gather data and stories, and to make art on Lake Tyers with the support of the local community. Cameron is currently a key member of the FLOAT vessel design team, and has built a full scale wind powered drawing machine to be installed on the solar powered vessel. (Keep an eye on FLOAT @ Lake Tyers Beach at float3909.com as the project gathers steam.)
Cameron’s contribution to the FLOAT project has been immense. With a career full of large scale, adventurous, interactive works installed all over the world – often in remote and harsh environments, Robbins’ signature drawing machines never fail to engage and inspire. His often wild and seemingly chaotic sculptures, harness the randomness of natural forces and interaction with the elements. Over the years he has created a stunning portfolio of structural devices, wind and ocean-powered mechanical systems, site-specific installations, wind drawings, photographs and sound compositions. Cameron has devised many ways of producing a kind of collaboration between artist and nature. This is evident in the series of Wind Drawing Machines. These mechanical devices are set up in different locations to collect random wind energy and translate it into a strangely readable format of ink drawings on paper, which themselves take on the form of the storm. This work has led to an exploration of the forms of the vortex, the focus of natural energy. Cameron has designed and built a series of Vortex Chambers, in order to study, exhibit, and film this phenomenon.
Further research into the elemental, combined with his musical career on clarinet and saxophone, has lead to the production of the Steam Organ, a self-determining musical device which is built into a large furnace structure. The Organ is allowed to play freely in the fire, expressing the heat, wind and ambient acoustic. Other sound works include The Sea Wailing – a tide-powered organ on the cliffs of South Australia .
Since 1990 he has produced exhibitions, residencies and commissions in Australia, Europe and Asia. These include shows at Museum of Old and New Art MONA (Hobart), National Gallery of Victoria (International), Setouchi Festival of Art Japan, Artspace, (Sydney), Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, (Melbourne), Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Latrobe Regional Gallery, (Morwell) , Gallery Barry Keldoulis (Sydney), East China Normal University (Shanghai), Hong Kong and Korean International Art Fairs. Cameron was Artist in Residence at NKD – Nordic Arts Centre in 2013.
Cameron also regularly plays jazz and experimental music on clarinet and bass clarinet, and is a guest lecturer at RMIT Visual Arts and Communication