Adrienne Richards: The Way We Live Now

8 October – 27 November

Adrienne Richards’ exhibition The Way We Live Now uses drawing and ceramics to explore the concept of ‘Bio history’ – the study of human situations, past and present, against the backdrop of life on Earth.

Inspired by Stephen Boyden’s book The Bionarrative – the story of life and hope for the future Adrienne has created an imaginary archaeological dig where the fragments and shards of humans’ material culture are juxtaposed with those of the rest of our living planet.

Adrienne’s Bionarrative dig is an installation of wall-mounted ceramics evoking artefacts and fossil-like remains from the natural world. It represents the four ecological phases of human history: from hunter-gatherers, early farming, early urbanisation to the ‘Exponential’ phase. The installation spans the length of the south wall of the gallery, forming a line that becomes denser and culminates in an exponential curve.

Displayed on plinths or walls nearby are a series of ceramic plates and sculptural forms – the whole or complete examples of the fragments found in the archaeological dig. These ceramics explore the concept of ‘Biorenaissance’ where there is a reawakening of the world’s prevailing cultures to the reality that humans are a part of nature and dependent on the processes of life for their survival.

There are blue and white scenes from everyday life from the past and present, where humans, plants and animals exist and sometimes interact: a wooden boat being restored on scaffolding amongst the living trees from which the boat was made; a bush view with a child’s cubby made of fallen branches propped against a tree; a human-made island where turtles lay their eggs away from the shore of a lagoon where foxes wait.

Adrienne’s hand-built ceramic forms, with applied drawings, surface decoration and glazing techniques come together to highlight environmental issues, humans’ place on Earth and to question ‘the way we live now’.

A Blue Mountains Cultural Centre Exposé Program exhibition

Image: ADRIENNE RICHARDS Bionarrative Shards (horizontal) 2022, glazed stoneware and porcelain, dimensions variable. Image courtesy the artist