Lyric Theatre at Merri Creek (2003) comes from Siri Hayes’ Lyric Theatre series (2002-2004). This large digital photographic print is of a scene on the Merri Creek trail. Three people are placed near the creek, one watching the creek babbling by as two others near the large branch of a tree appear to be in deep conversation. The Lyric Theatre series examines human relationships and presence in an urban environment and this work, while being reminiscent of a film still or theatrical production, is open to speculation and interpretation. It invites the viewer into the drama from a position of familiarity with the local surrounds of the City of Darebin.
Crossing the Merri(2003) comes from Siri Hayes’ Lyric Theatre series (2002-2004). This large digital photographic print depicts a scene of still beauty as the couple contemplate the Merri Creek and surrounds. The image by Hayes is of Merri Creek in winter with the bare deciduous trees, ragged in nature but not indigenous to the local area. These trees were later removed to make way for indigenous planting so this photograph also documents the changing values we have in relation to our environment.
Katherine Hattam’s exuberant work, Powerlines Merri Creek equalises the natural environment with man-made constructions as she explores the hybrid landscape of local waterways and their locations.
Hattam’s art practice comprises drawing, collage, printmaking and sculpture. She employs a contemplative process in revealing the relationships and tensions between objects, space and placement. Hattam has exhibited widely as a solo artist as well as in group shows for over five decades. She has won the Robert Jacks Drawing Prize (2006), Banyule Works on Paper Art Award (2005) and has been short-listed in the Dobell Drawing Prize, the National Works on Paper Prize and the Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize. Her work is represented in public, corporate, educational and private collections such as the National Gallery of Australia, state and regional art galleries, The Darling Foundation, Smorgen Collection, Artbank, Queen Victoria Hospital, National Australia Bank and La Trobe University Museum of Art.
Powerlines Merri Creek © Katherine Hattam
Michael Camilleri evokes a medieval-like atmosphere in Monk in Landscape – Merri Creek as the lone figure of a crusading monk travails the banks of the Merri Creek. Sword in hand, his mission is to keep the urban space of the creek safe much like other costumed, modern day, superheroes. Bringing us firmly back to the present is the depiction of a walking path to Rushall train station and, behind that, one of Northcote’s large public housing estates.
Monk in Landscape – Merri Creek is inspired by Camilleri’s illustrations from the Fighting Monk series originally published in the literary journal ‘Going Down Swinging’ No. 30.
Monk in Landscape – Merri Creek © Michael Camilleri
The painting Summer Storm features the Merri Creek. It illustrates this iconic waterway in this area detailing the native vegetation and the intrusion of the power lines and skyscrapers. The painting also makes reference to Giorgione’s painting The Tempest paying tribute to the power of nature as the lightning bolt on the horizon seems to have carved out the creek. The site of this painting is from Yarra Bend Park where NMIT is located. It was all once part of City of Northcote. The new boundaries put all of the open space south of Heidelberg Road into the City of Yarra. So it is very near Darebin's border. The area is easy to walk to from nearby car parks. It shows the view of the city that we have from the City of Darebin.