BY Jean Kearney

Rachel Anne Buch is a Sydney based artist and graduate of the National Art School. Originally working in ceramics, her practice has developed to focus on soft sculpture and textiles. Her current exhibition entitled ‘Goodnight Wombalicorn’ is an exploration of an imagined fantasy Australian landscape, populated by colourful and characterful wombalicorns (half wombats – half alicorns). 

The inspiration for the exhibition came from Buch’s interest in children’s literature and storytelling. In particular, she was attracted to the (untapped) magic of Australia and its creatures. Buch has attempted to include children as an important audience for her works, and as such, aims to make her exhibition as tactile, soft, comforting and playful as possible.

Buch is interested in exploring the depth and possibility to be found in the imagination (particularly of children), and as a result has created a rare exhibition that involves rather then alienates viewers; that encourages you to let your mind wonder, and explore, dreamlike, through the hall of nests.

As you enter the exhibition space you are greeted by an assortment of variously coloured hanging nests, ranging in size from dainty miniatures, to large overflowing pieces. The diverse range of colours – moulding soft pinks and blues with more vibrant greens and deep, intriguing blue-blacks – creates an irresistible environment, inviting you into the magical world surrounding you. As you look closer, the countless layers of the nests reveal themselves – woven wools, plaited fabrics, sewn buttons and interlaced string, all creeping in and out of the overlapping folds. Each nest has a unique range of adornments, from doll’s brushes, to glittering jewellery, to colourful sticks. These embellishments draw you in with their detail and quirky contrasts, until you are almost pressed up against the soft wool of the sculptures. You truly feel as if magical creatures have been scuttling around, bringing together their treasures in strange and wonderful ways.

Overall, the exhibition is a beautiful and enjoyable exploration, that will likely leave you wishing that you could have curled up in one of the nests and fallen asleep next to a dozing wombalicorn.

Goodnight Wombalicorn opens TUE 19 JUN at ESD Gallery. Find out more here.

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