Marian Drew - Devonian Flesh: Swallowing the Cave


Devonian Flesh: Swallowing the Cave is an extraordinary body of new works inspired by Drew's visit to WA in 2009 when photographed some of the ancient rock foorms near Kalbarri.

In Brief

Dates: Aug 11 - Sep 08, 2018
Venue / Address:
Turner Galleries
470 William Street, Northridge

In Detail

This interest continued in 2017 with a visit to Arnhem Land and then to Chillagoe in 2018.  She noted that these rocks “are all over 350,000 million years old, when oceans were rich in sea life and animals were just crawling out of the ocean to inhabit the land. They are mostly of the very large scale of buildings or car sized.”  These photographs, through photographic processing, were then ‘locked’ onto another rock laid onto a domestic table, creating a mesmerising transmutation.

The domestic table, covered in a damask cloth, has been a staple backdrop for several series of works by Drew, creating a beautiful linear progression for her art practice.  She notes that, “Tables are traditional western sites for developing meaning as they are designed to congregate people for food and conversation. I am presenting the table and the rock as metaphoric propositions, a proposed dialogue between inside outside, micro and macro, human and other. In this work, I venture to propose that those attributes and mythologies that we assign to landscape can be found, through careful observation, in one piece of rock.”  Drew finishes with a profound Zen proverb; “if one finds a rock boring, it’s not the rock’s fault.”


Marian Drew, born in 1960, Bundaberg, is one of Australia's most significant contemporary photographic artists. Her practice, spanning more than thirty years, is characterised by innovation and exploration of photo-media.  She has held numerous solo shows across Australia, United States, France and Germany, and her work is held is many major public and private collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Art Gallery, Art Gallery of South Australia, Artbank and the J. Paul Getty Museum in the USA.