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Merran Esson

Keith Maxwell
Keith Maxwell

Tracks and Traces, 2018

Place as subject matter has always informed my work. Whether it is sites from my native Upper Murray childhood, or the scarring of the inner city landscape when the Eastern Distributor was constructed on my doorstep in Surry Hills, I try to make sense of how we as humans leave our marks. 

Scenic World and the Scenic Railway fascinate me. In reading the history of this site, I am interested in why and how early settlers searched for coal and shale in such an uninhabitable terrain. The building of the railway as a means to transport the coal to the top of the cliff, and to use this railway for tourism on the weekends to make extra money, is enterprising.

In exploring this history, I am responding to the tracks and traces of human intervention. The mine has closed, but detritus, including rusting metal pipes and coal trucks, remain scattered in the landscape. I work with clay, which is mined, as is coal and shale, so we both leave scars of intervention on site.