Ian Tully: Future Farming the Mars Project

Ian Tully – Trial 2 Narcurrie Road, digital print

Ian Tully is an artist who lives in Moulamein in the border region between New South Wales and Victoria.

This exhibition stems from his upbringing on the family farm and includes sculptures, photographs and video works.

The exhibition explores farming, conflicts and issues in environmental degradation and the all-consuming climate change we are experiencing.

The resourcefulness and creativity of the farmer is a pervasive theme in this work. Could the next farming frontier be Mars?

Wagga Wagga Art Gallery is acknowledged for the funding provided to the artist in the development of this work.

 


  

Ian Tully Interview video thumbnail

 

Interview with Ian Tully

April 2020

Video, Helen Kaptein interviews Ian Tully about his work and this exhibition.

 


 

 

 

Mark Tully, FirstPost on Nalakram, Keith Robson Tully 1949

 

Mark Tully

First post on Nalakram
Keith Robson Tully
1949

Photograph (6.5cm W x 9cm H)

 


 

 

Ian Tully - Trial1-4 Narcurrie Rd
 

 

Ian Tully

Trial 1–4 Narcurrie Road
2019

Digital prints x 4 (each 80cm W x 50cm H)

 

 

Trial 1

 

Ian Tully

Trial 1 Narcurrie Road
2019

Digital print (80cm W x 50cm H)

 

 

Trial 2

 

Ian Tully

Trial 2 Narcurrie Road
2019

Digital print (80cm W x 50cm H)

 

 

Trial 3

 

Ian Tully

Trial 3 Narcurrie Road
2019

Digital print (80cm W x 50cm H)

 

 

Trial 4

 

Ian Tully

Trial 4 Narcurrie Road
2019

Digital print (80cm W x 50cm H)

 


 

 


Ian Tully – Vessel Marker

 

Ian Tully

Vessel/Marker
2019

Wood, aluminium, plastic, (65cm W x 21cm H x 21cm D approx)

 


 

 

Ian Tully – Universal backpack
 

Ian Tully

Universal backpack
2018

Wood, steel, webbing (45cm W x 73cm H x 4.5–14cm D approx)

 


 


First Post at Nalakram Thumbnail for video

Video 1: First Post on Mars

Producer and Director: Ian Tully
Cinematography, Sound and Post Production: Ian Redfearn

First Post on Mars
2019

Video 

 


 

 

Ian Tully – Shrine 2019

 

Ian Tully

Shrine
2019

Wood, steel, fabric, glass (68cm W x 108 cm L x 138cm H approx)

 

 

Ian Tully – Shrine Upper Detail

 

Ian Tully

Shrine (upper detail)
2019

Wood, steel, fabric, glass (68cm W x 108 cm L x 138cm H approx)

 

 

Ian Tully – Shrine Lower Detail

 

Ian Tully

Shrine (lower detail)
2019

Wood, steel, fabric, glass (68cm W x 108 cm L x 138cm H approx)

 


 

 

Ian Tully – Cultivator

 

Ian Tully

Cultivator
2019

Wood, steel, wire, plastic (25cm W x 69cm L x 6cm D approx)

 
 
 

 

Ian Tully – Outfitters are us, 2017

 

Ian Tully

Outfitters are us
2017

Digital Print (50cm W x 80cm H)

 


 

 

 

Longer Shadows

 

Longer shadows

touch this river land
soil lighter than

a curlew's heart.
To Mars,
on shoeless feet

topsoil without water,
voices so muted 
they dissolve in

the salt scrub
one by one, the ghosts
of aliens all around us.

               John Britten

 

 


 

 

Ian_Tully, The Diviner

 

Ian Tully

The Diviner
2018

Wood and aluminium (28cm W x 28cm H x 47 cm L approx)

 

 

Ian Tully – The Diviner, Above View

 

Ian Tully

The Diviner (view form above)
2018

Wood and aluminium (28cm W x 28cm H x 47 cm L approx)

 

 

Ian Tully – The Diviner, Side Detail

 

Ian Tully

The Diviner (detail)
2018

Wood and aluminium (28cm W x 28cm H x 47 cm L approx)

 


 

 

Trial Satellite Dish - Farnley

 

Ian Tully

Trial – satellite dish "Farnley"
2017

Digital print (50cm W x 34cm H)

 


   

 

Ian Tulley – Bluegate

 

Ian Tully

Bluegate
2016

Digital print (50cm W x 34cm H)

 


 

 

Ian Tully – Vessel/Diviner
 

 

Ian Tully

Vessel/Diviner
2016

Wood, aluminium, steel, rubber (31cm W x 42cm H x 26cm D approx)

 


 

Ian Tully – Intercept Nalakram 2017  

Ian Tully 

Intercept
2017

Digital print (50cm W x 34cm H)

 


 

 

Objectiveb 1 Thumbnail to video

Video 2: Objective 1

Producer and Director: Ian Tully
Cinematography, Sound and Post Production: Ian Redfearn

Objective 1
2019

Video 

 


 

 

RESPLENDENT OPTIMISM AND HOCUS POCUS 


Claire Watson

April 2019

 

Reality stings. The climate is changing irrevocably and ecological disasters are commonplace. Fish are dying in the Murray-Darling and the earth is irrefutably burning.1 This new reality can feed into either a state of despair and inaction or a search for solutions. What are our chances for survival?

 

There are options for humanity. Ian Tully knows this. He is open, curious, resourceful. His creative investigations are beset with alluring idiosyncrasies, peculiar and curious; at their heart is the precarity and preciousness of human life and our relationship to the land. For Ian, caring for the land is an act of citizenship. He holds a great affinity with the land, along with its enormous value to community—beyond monetary—and its ability to enrich life through its bounty.

 

In his new body of work Future Farming: The Mars Project, the artist’s seemingly

irreverent responses to the environmental crisis are the product of years of reflection and an abiding respect for the land.

 

Ian has created a personal symbology of ceremony, discovery and pilgrimage. His sculptural works and performative enactments documented in video and photography, connect to ideas of communication and overcoming isolation in the Australian rural landscape. He achieves this with wry humour and an earnest perseverance. 

 

For decades, the idea that humans might one day colonise Mars seemed like an unrealistic pipe dream. But in recent years, with the advent of eccentric media-hungry billionaires, the concept has grown with increasing voracity.

 

The space race and its associated conglomeration of potential aliens and spaceships that might inhabit Mars, seems a far cry from the realities of Earth and issues surrounding climate change, yet there is a similar narrative to consider. Within this hunger to stake claim in space, are questions surrounding our own humanity and understanding of future sustainability. We must ask: how might we better care for planet Earth and its natural environment? And, what will be different in our approach should we be entrusted with the responsibility of caring for Mars? Will there be a similar plundering of resources?

 

These questions lie central to Ian’s new body of work. Despite his futuristic mindset, the roots of these artworks can be found in the annals of Ian’s familial history. 

 

It was Spring 1949, when Keith Robson Tully conducted a personal ceremony which his grandson Ian Tully would later recall as ‘christening the first fence post on Nalakram’.2 Nalakram was the name of Ian’s family farm, some 750 acres in the South-West region of New South Wales. Documented through black and white photography, Keith releases a canvas water bag on a fence post. In an unorthodox

ceremonious gesture, he upturns his hat. Balanced carefully on his head, the inversion creates a potential vessel perhaps to reflect a desire for the earth’s abundance and rain. For a farmer though, this humorous act, appears incredibly creative and beyond the usual expectations of someone working the land. This event would later be the lynchpin of an ongoing body of work by Ian. 

 

In his new video work First Post on Mars 2019, Ian embarks on a gruelling yet resplendent journey to lay down a wooden fence post in the desolate landscape. And just as his grandfather dressed his fence-post in water, so too does Ian. This simple act raises broader questions about what it means to mark the land, farming methods, land ownership, as well as traditional custodianship. Adorned in an upturned hat of sorts, Ian wears a colander—suggestive of a vessel and yet unable to hold water—a likely reference to the changing climate. 

 

Where strange activism and ritual imbues First Post on Mars, there is a more humorous undertone in the video Objective 1 2019. Through a probing conversation with an unseen commentator, Ian declares: ‘I’ve always wanted to go to Mars’. The artist ruminates on the ‘hocus pocus’ of water divining and its lack of scientific rigour. Yet the bizarre water divining apparatus visible during this exchange could be critiqued similarly. Is this the artist poking fun at himself and therefore in turn, the art world?

 

Within these futile acts and open-ended dialogues, we realise that the survival of humankind, whether on Mars or Earth, will likely be fuelled by the determination of the indefatigable farmer. And this one, we know is ‘always optimistic’3.

 

1     Lindsay Wright. ABC News. Why has the ground started burning on an outback cattle station?

       https://ab.co/2UQDv4Q 13 February 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.

2     The artist in conversation with the author: 31 January 2019.

3     Declared by the artist in Objective 1, video, 2019.

 

 


 

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