Outskirts of Flame by Fiona Fell
Broken Hill residents were treated to a unique performance art piece masterminded by Southern Cross University sculpture lecturer, Fiona Fell. Five life sized sculptures were created from wire sourced at the local tip, swathed in hessian and clay, then painted by well known Sydney artist, Rex Turnbull. A fire was lit in the pit underneath each piece, and wood was added to create a small furnace within each structure, with flames leaping out like appendages, as more wood was added. Such ephemeral art events are created for the purpose of audience experience and, true to form, the Broken Hill weather blew up a dust storm at a critical moment, to make it a dramatic, surreal and unforgettable hour. Due to the extraordinary heat of the fire and the thin layer of clay used, most of the pieces collapsed, folding slowly in upon themselves. The actual sculptures were never designed to be permanent, but part of a fleeting art performance installation, creating a surreal moment of excitement for the audience as they engaged with each piece.
During the making of Outskirts of Flame Fiona also conducted clay workshops and guest lectured at the Broken Hill Western Institute of TAFE and for The Potters Society Broken Hill. The Art Exchange would like to thank all the residents of Broken Hill who attended the spectacular firing event held at St Peters and St Pauls site, the old infants school in Murton St. The organization would especially like to thank Fiona Fell for organising such a unique happening, Sydney artist Rex Turnbull for his painting prowess and energy, Susan Thomas and Peter Pippen at the Broken Hill Art Exchange for facilitating the event, Arts NSW for funding, Craig Freeman for his beautiful musical contiribution, The Potters Society for their enthusiasm and help, Glen Ravo for his fabulous photos, Steve Florence for video footage and the Broken Hill fire brigade for allowing the firing to take place and last but certainly not least, Steve Ross for the use of his home, land, energy and clay, without which the event would not have been possible.