Simone Douglas creates art in slow time

Simone Douglas uses installation, photography, sculpture, and video to create durational, and often site-specific, art in ‘slow time’. Her works are formed over months, using light drawings and alchemical processes to create something like a landscape, attending to what she describes as “the sublimity of light, water, and immensity in dynamic intensity”. Her solo exhibition at Artereal features works from four different ongoing series: An Ocean in Your Hand, Sanctuary, Another Ocean, and Parallel Infinities.

Douglas currently resides in New York but uses her homeland, Australia, as a major source of inspiration, with locality playing an important role. This can be seen in Ice Boat, a forthcoming sculpture made entirely of ice which she has been testing in New York. Douglas describes how in the city, “the ice responded to the heat of bodies nearby, frosting up when people were close and returning to clear when they moved away”. But Ice Boat will find its final form on-site in the Australian desert, this time, “responding to the arc of the sun”.

Simone Douglas, Another Ocean II, 2022, Dye Sublimation Print on brushed aluminum.

Douglas describes her intention, explaining, “[Ice Boat] will be formed sustainably in situ and then melted back into the earth ground—thus ‘returning’ water to a mostly dry desert location in Australia. Literally and metaphorically connecting land to sky during the dry winter months, yet in sync with local rain cycles, it will then leave a “footprint” of wildflowers in its wake. The work’s remote location, its complex imbrication in contested and unresolved histories, and its multiple states of… existence, all exemplify the problem of art’s whereness.”

Depictions of the project will be included in the exhibition, along with Douglas’s durational photographs, all contributing to this question of whereness—questioning where an artwork takes place or exists. It adds to Douglas’s ongoing conversation on time and place.

Simone Douglas
Artereal Gallery
6 July—29 July

This article was originally published in the July/August 2023 print edition of Art Guide Australia.

Preview Words by Sally Gearon