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Blue Dot: Exhibition Opening

I’m excited to invite you to the opening of my exhibition

Blue Dot
5:30pm, Thurs 28 Jun
at the School House Gallery at Rosny Farm, Tasmania

Look up – or should we say out. We inhabit a thin slice. Beneath us are layers of soil, sand, rock and magma; and above us, layers less visible radiate out from our sphere of heavier, terrestrial elements.

The nestled spheres of our atmosphere are home to the clouds.

The mobiles hanging in the School House Gallery are an invitation to cloud-gaze. The circles of sky drift gently, stirred by a breeze from an open window.

These “cloud portraits” belong to Hobart. Clouds are the movement of air and water made visible, and Hobart’s cloudscapes are distinctly shaped by its geography: the mountain, the river, the sea, the city. Nothing operates in isolation.

Beyond the clouds the sky looks blue, and if you get far enough out and look back, the planet looks blue too. A pale blue dot, precious and extraordinary, suspended in space.

At the Bottom of an Ocean of Air

I’m excited to invite you to a new installation in Contemporary Art Tasmania’s project space.

“Noi viviamo sommersi nel fondo d’un pelago d’aria”
“We live submerged at the bottom of an ocean of air”

– Evangelista Torricelli (inventor of the barometer), 1634

At the Bottom of an Ocean of Air is an installation of home-made barometers. Made from simple materials, they respond to changes in atmospheric pressure. As the air pressure changes, the little lights flicker on and off like bioluminescing creatures of the deep atmosphere.

The installation will be open during Contemporary Art Tasmania’s next exhibition opening 6pm, Friday 27 April, and will be on showing throughout May.

Contemporary Art Tasmania
27 Tasma Street, North Hobart, Tasmania
Open Wed to Sun, 12 – 5pm

Image: Claire Pendrigh, At the Bottom of an Ocean of Air, 2018, home-made barometers (jars, latex, water, plastic), LED’s and batteries.

imagine

I’m very excited to be part of this amazing exhibition at the new Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale, VIC, Australia.

‘imagine’ encompasses 134 works from 81 local, national, and international artists, to take visitors on a journey through five centuries of art making.

The exhibition includes two of my works, the installation of RCB Star Clouds, and Álfasteinn.

Read more about the exhibition at: www.gippslandartgallery.com

In the clouds

Jupiter and Io (Alpine Landscape), Claire Pendrigh, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 100 x 300cm

Clouds of a Chaotic Sky is now open at Salamanca Arts Centre, and runs until 22 Jan 2018.

Thank you to everyone who made it to the opening night – it was lovely to see you all! I’ll be minding the gallery on and off throughout the show, so if you’re in Hobart pop in and visit.

You can see all the artworks on my website at www.clairependrigh.com

Feel free to send me an email if you’d like to find out more about any of the artworks.

Clouds of a Chaotic Sky – Exhibition at Salamanca Arts Centre

OFFICIAL OPENING: 6pm Friday 5 January 2018
EXHIBITION DATES: Saturday 6 – Monday 22 January 2018, open 10am – 4pm daily
SIDE SPACE GALLERY Salamanca Arts Centre

Lie on your back and observe the shapes drifting through the sky. Imagine the weight of the billions of droplets of water suspended – a blanket, saturated and heavy, slipping between forms, amorphous and ever changing. Claire Pendrigh’s exhibition Clouds of a Chaotic Sky is an exploration of the sublime, ephemeral beauty of clouds.

Join us for the exhibition opening, with opening remarks from Simon McCulloch – ABC’s 7pm weather presenter in Tasmania and senior forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology.

Read more at: www.salarts.org.au/event/clouds-of-a-chaotic-sky

This exhibition is supported by Salamanca Arts Centre.

Telescope

Claire Pendrigh, Telescope, 2017, felted wool and various materials

I decided that I wanted to take a pencil, and trace my path through space. The line would follow me around the earth as it rotates on its axis, around the sun over the course of a year, around the galaxy as it rotates around the black hole at its core. And it would never meet its starting point, because by the time I had completed the 250 million year rotation of the galaxy, the whole thing would have shifted, continuing its trajectory through space.

Then I would take a telescope and look back behind me at this looping, arcing, whirling line that never revisits the same point twice, and I would be able to understand my own trajectory through space.

In school we learn that the Earth orbits the Sun, and we often draw its path as a circle. This was the form I imagined my line would take – a series of circular loops and spirals. In reality, our path is elliptical. Well, actually, it’s still not that simple. As the earth travels around the sun its path is influenced by the gravitational pull of the moon as it orbits us, and by the gravitational pull of all the other planets in our solar system as they travel on their paths around the sun.

The more intricate I discovered this path to be, the less confident I became in my mental picture of my path through space.

I came up against a problem of scale. I wanted my line to reflect all the variations and intricacies of real orbits, but the variations are so small compared to the scale of the solar system, that to represent them accurately my drawing would not fit on a piece of paper. Conversely, compared to the scale of me, these variations are substantial. However, to draw them at that scale you would have to lose sight of the bigger picture.

In the end, what you actually see when you look through my telescope, is a moving diagram that traces the path of one of my hanging mobiles from Some Stars Wobble. The circles each indicate the potential path of one weight. Their slow movement within each other (I think they look a bit like organisms in a petri dish) maps the potential configurations of that mobile.

I didn’t want to lose sight of my line, documenting the path of the Earth, so I also included some Earth measurements around the mobile map. The numbers cycle through 0 – 365.2422 for the days of a year, the moon experiences 12 phases, and the tilt of the Earth’s axis completes one full cycle. You can see a video of this work, along with pictures of other works from this exhibition, at clairependrigh.com.

Some Stars Wobble

Claire Pendrigh, Some Stars Wobble, 2017, rocks and wire

This mobile is part of an exhibition of the same name, currently on show at Sawtooth ARI in Launceston. You can see all the artworks in the show here.

Some stars really do wobble. It’s one of the ways we can tell if a star has a planet orbiting it. Anything that is locked in an orbit with anything else, wobbles.

It’s easier to see If you look at two objects of similar mass that are orbiting each other, for instance, Pluto and its inner most moon Charon. With half the diameter and one-eighth the mass of Pluto, Charon is a very large moon. Its gravitational influence is big enough that both bodies spin around a point in space between them.

All orbital systems have this balance point; it’s called the “barycentre”. When a tiny planet orbits a massive star, the barycentre exists within the body of the star, so instead of making a discernable orbit, the star just appears to wobble.

The barycentre is nicely modelled in a mobile, as each side of each arm needs to be equally weighted. In Some Stars Wobble each mobile starts with two rocks on either end of a wire. I find the balance point, and add a loop and a swivel. Then I add another wire with a rock on the end. This time, the balance point has one rock on one side, and two on the other. To make the mobile hang flat, the balance point needs to be in the centre of mass between the two starting rocks, and the one new rock. The next level balances one rock against three rocks and the pattern continues.

In this mobile, I wanted to see just how complicated a balancing act between rocks in space might be. Imagine how many paths each rock could travel on its journey around this cluster – how many variations are possible.

Claire Pendrigh, Some Stars Wobble (detail), 2017, rocks and wire