Surreal sensations

Inside a hut, covered in the material of Churchill’s forest floor, Nilma North artist Leonie Ryan has created a contemplation space that triggers all of our senses.

Recline in one of the two timber chaises and you will sigh in the heady aroma of burnt peppermint gum leaves imbued in the white muslin cloth hanging from the roof.

“It’s kind of a surreal experience for them and there’s a tranquillity in the natural environment,” Ms Ryan said.

The hut also complements the Gippsland Centre for Art and Design Master of Art student’s installation of vertical pine tree logs in the Switchback Gallery.

Entitled ‘Site, Substance and Sensation’ the artist said she was particularly interested in how we draw meaning through a multi-sensory experience.

Rather than be a passive viewer to the art, the heightened sensory awareness invites a moment to contemplate the sensory stimuli offered.

“A visitor is a better than a viewer, it’s not just about viewing or even participating in the work,” Ms Ryan said.

“They’re experiencing through smell, touch, temperature in a natural environment.”

Gippsland School of Art and Design director Tony Hanning said the works were not just about visual aesthetics and were related to the outside environment.

Mr Hanning said the art school offered a unique outdoor environment compared to other art schools in Australia.

“That pine forest has been there since 1972 and it’s been an integral part of life at the art school,” he said.

The exhibition is open until 21 March at the Switchback Gallery.

The vertical pine tree log installation will be exhibited in the sculpture courtyard at Latrobe Regional Gallery from 9 April to June.