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Tané Andrews' The Collector

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Perth artist Tané Andrews has been collaborating with nature in his latest exhibition, ‘The Collector’.

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The solo work is an investigation of the relationship between humans and nature in what Margaret Moore explained as a form of inter-species art. Andrews’ worked with eight White Zebra Finch birds, providing them with materials  including silk, fox fur, horse hair, butterfly wings, pearls, twigs, gold leaf and shredded pieces of his past drawings to build nests in a sort of co-collaborative approach to a constructed natural habitat. Over a time, the birds used the selected materials, creating a unique artistic collaboration between man and nature.

The exhibition includes a sculptural installation including the birds in a custom built birdcage as well as a series of their completed nests. These works are accompanied by Andrews’ own drawings and die-cut paper works. ‘The Collector’ seeks to explore the creative processes inherent in nature and how they can interact with human activity.

Speaking with Tané he shed some light on his process and experiences working on ‘The Collector’…

What inspired you to work with finches?The Collector Tane Andrews
I’ve always had birds; budgies, cockatiels, finches, really every bird you can think of growing up. (My poor parents, our house was like a zoo).

I had actually developed the concept for this project in my final year at Curtin and wanted to revisit it but for various reasons; time/living circumstances, it meant that I couldn’t until now. I knew when I started this project that I needed a bird with a fast reproductive cycle and the ability to make durable nests. Finches have both of those qualities. I was also drawn towards the birds ability to collect many different elements within the one nest, I wanted to see what they would use and reject and why. I wanted to start a conversation about what materials I found beautiful/special and if the birds felt the same way.

What’s been the most challenging task in creating your latest pieces in ‘The Collector’?
To be totally honest, funding and time. I never have enough of either! The drawn works each take around a month and the nest take about two months for the birds to fully develop, so even with over a year to create this body of work, I was still pressed for time. It was also a very expensive production, as I had an army of people assisting me and helping to build the cage.

How would you describe your artistic relationship with the birds?
I study and draw the birds, then shred the drawings and give them back to the birds to use in their nests as one of the materials for them to choose from. So for me our artistic relationship is engaging but I think is quite one sided, the birds don’t really care for me. They only like me because I bring them food, other than that they want to be left alone to build their nests and groom each other.

Do you have any further intentions to explore this relationship between nature and man and has your approach to producing art changed now that you have closely worked with various elements of nature?
I think I will always work with nature in some way. I don’t want to be an environmental artist but I do want to continue to create works based around and within nature. I don’t believe my approach has changed; I always want to invest a lot of time and energy into every piece I create.

Despite there being many, what would you say is the most unique aspect about the work you produce?
That’s a hard question because I don’t really know what makes my work unique. It seems as soon as I can think of an idea, I can already think of three other artists that have done something almost exactly the same or very similar. In 2014 it’s almost impossible to have a completely original idea. I feel like I’m exposed to so much, that I just end up absorbing it and reproducing it in some way or another. It would be foolish of me to think I’m original or unique in any way because there have been so many other artists that have come before me and I often feel like a hybrid of many of them.

‘The Collector’ run from 22nd May to the 27th June 2014 at Venn Gallery, 16 Queen Street, Perth WA 6000.

OUTinPerth Staff

Photo by OK White Lane, ‘Tané Andrews in his studio, 2014.’

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