The Scribbly Gum timber installation floats along the side of a suspended ceiling in the new ACT Law Courts building and can be viewed from the street, reception level and mezzanine.
The installation is a reference to the local landscape and an artistic response to the curvaceous wall. The combination of white washed timber and light, as well as the immense scale give it a sense of refinement and gravitas appropriate for its setting. LED lighting strips are used to create a visually dynamic artwork, as bright points of light appear to slowly weave their way through the curvaceous maze of scribbles. The gradual, glowing movement creates a sense of time passing and a feeling of calm, like watching a fire or shadows passing over the landscape.
“As an artist I am struck by the use of the Scribbly Gum in civic planting as you enter Canberra,” says Jade Oakley, who designed the installation.
“The patterns themselves are beautiful graphics and unmistakably those of the Scribbly Gum, even when appropriated, enlarged and reproduced. Bringing these patterns into the interior of the court creates a sense of place, a link to the local landscape. The Scribbly Gum also lends the artwork a light touch as it reminds us of the wonder of nature, and nature’s ‘sense of humour.’
“The whimsical patterns on the scribbly bark bring to mind childhood, and time spent in the bush. It is a reminder of our native land, the place that grounds us and links us together. It is a symbol of the culture and landscape to which we belong.”
Scribbly Gum was a 14-month process from concept and design development, through to installation. AAP Art projects, the art division of Axolotl, worked closely with Oakley to ensure suitability for construction, installation and engineering.
The unique canvas with no straight lines provided the first challenge. To overcome this the installation team Stratti Build were brought into the project early on. The wall was surveyed on site via cherry picker and drawn on CAD. Over twenty templates were then produced from a datum point on the wall to allow for the successful mapping and installation of the artwork.
Scribbly Gum is made up of over 100 individual panels up to 3360 x 1560mm in size, and is split over three depths.
Each layer has been sanded and treated in the Axolotl factory with Axolotl Timber Wash Interior Roan paint with varying opacities.