Combining art, life, and bio-manipulation, Harrison Riekie's work accentuates the resilience and ontology of The Farm. Riekie explains how during the residency he, "catalogued what was available on the property through walks and observation and was intrigued by the clay and sand deposits. From here, I explored natural building practices, trialling various methods, such as Rammed Earth, Waddle and Daub, Cob and Adobe. The Adobe [mud-bricks] I made were of particular interest. They were robust, tactile, earthy and organic...Then began [the] patient manual labour. Progress was slow, making around forty bricks a day for three weeks...It was therapeutic, working in a loosely rhythmic sort of way, repeating the same process and the same motions. Slowly, they accumulated, and I made roughly 350 bricks."
Riekie goes on, "My routine became dictated by the sun's path, maximising the hours of sunlight to cure the bricks. They needed nurturing and time. In some, you can see roots and mycelium developing and life forming. With the bricks made, I then worked out the proportions and height of the structure. I wanted to make an internal space that would harbour ongoing life, be protected from the elements, and be able to maintain itself. The idea behind the microclimate is to create an autonomous ecosystem that provides optimal conditions for life to thrive. An energy source that feeds the substance and material of the work."
The forces of nature played a large part in my productivity throughout the residency, inspiring moments of joy, beauty, and catharsis, when the weather was pleasant. On the contrary, the exposure to wet periods hindered the curing process, and storms during the construction phase could have been problematic. What I feel forms this appreciation, is its total unpredictability and variation. Shedding light on the good times until it is necessary to brace and heal from the bad.
Harrison Riekie is a land artist based in Walyalup/Fremantle. He primarily works in evolving landscapes and places of transition, making temporary marks on the landscape through the delicate removal or subtle integration of site-based, live and natural materials. Motivated by the sensitivity and sentience of nature, he aims to call on human endeavours that compromise its wellbeing.