Old Fence #1, 2014

Fences divide. They bring order to an otherwise unruly place where land is cleared of trees and then this wood is often re-purposed into the new fences that act to contain these spaces. The country fence plays a pivotal role in demarcating the private and public spaces of civilisations, past and present, and is evidence of an ongoing need to control the landscape. The fence represents a rupture of the natural passageways within the rural environment. Fences establish a demarcated and specialized use of the hillsides, plains and valleys; marking a new combination of materials, both organic and inorganic, to serve a regulated purpose, the management of worthwhile farming property. The fence controls the otherwise free-flowing nature of the landscape.

However, within the semi-domestic realm of the pastoral landscape, the humble fence is not a permanent solution to space management. It is subject to periods of sustained use, abuse and subsequent decay. Old fences become rusted and begin to sag. As a result of this eventual degradation, fences no longer serve a utilitarian purpose; thus, the transient nature of man-made boundaries becomes evident. It is here, at this point of decay, that we may observe the breaking apart of the signifying elements of the fence. A crafted tool becomes useless and through losing it’s structural reliability; steel wire, star-pickets and logged fence-posts now become technological detritus – fed through a process of organic and technological adaptations and finally, a natural reclamation occurs.

 

Old Fence #1, archival inkjet on photo rag, exclusive singular edition, 2014

Bryden Williams, Old Fence #1, 2014. Archival inkjet on photo rag, single edition