Shirley Ploog is a Melbourne based Visual Artist who is passionate about the environment.
Her work is a response to the beauty of nature as well as the impact mankind is having on our environment. Through her objectifying nature’s elements, often larger than life, forms are given a sense of reverence, an intimate portrait, an opportunity for the viewer to see elements of nature as if for the very first time as well as connecting on a metaphorical level to the demise of our planet. She is part of the rotating gallery of Colour Space and this is her story:
Years ago I was on a trip to the Grampians which had just had a huge bushfire around the Mount Zero area caused by an arsonist. I was able to walk through the terrain which was filled with blackened trees, destroyed bushes and farmland and there were numerous bones, a scene of mass destruction. This place was desolate but walking through there was a stillness, an emptiness that I had not experienced before. The more I looked the more I saw, the blackened trees had bright reds and oranges inside the cracks of the black limbs of the trees, the burnt gum nuts had burst into beautiful colours of oranges, reds and browns, the burnt trees all blackened were shades of blues, purples and greys.
This experience set me on my path of finding my visual voice. Using my artistic expression to not only show the beauty of nature but it’s vulnerability, fragility, strength and resilience to withstand mankind’s ongoing destruction of this beautiful wonderland which we live in. Nature is a gift, we are its carers but do we stop and look at nature closely? Are we listening to the messages and cries for help Nature is giving us?
Through my selected substrate of drafting film which I combine with drawing and painting I wish to convey quiet, stillness, fragility and yet a resilience. My current series which will be exhibited at my solo show held at Tacit Gallery in November this year is of fading roses selected from my garden. I have selected these dying roses as I find them such a great metaphor for our life cycle as well as the demise of our environment.
The attraction of the perfect structures when just formed is not what appeals to me, it is when nature ages, when the crinkles form, the colours fade, blemishes appear, wrinkles soft and hard appear and beautiful shapes change and evolve. This is what gives natures forms it’s beauty, it tells a life story.
My wish as an artist is that through my creative expression my work will evoke a response, a sense of curiosity to stop and take a closer look and ultimately a sense of responsibility to respond with thought and ideally action to become actively involved in nurturing and protecting our environment.