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Nien Schwarz
photo of Nien

For more than twenty years I have been working alongside geo-scientists in arctic and desert regions as bush cook, navigator, field assistant, and radio operator. I travel to remote regions because I delight exploring the Earth’s diversity, which in urban areas is frequently destroyed through ubiquitous land clearing practices and development. I explore the Earth through my art because I revere the Earth.

Geology, a nomadic field camp existence, the physical labour of travelling extensively, and the organising activities of ritually assembling and collapsing space-saving gear is evident in my sculptural assemblages and installations. Hundreds of vertically stacked, treated bricks allude to cross-sections of ore. Brightly coloured stacked steel units make reference to geological map legends, aluminium saucepans and hundreds of topographic and geological maps folded into fancy paper shopping bags provoke viewers to reflect on the origins of consumer goods. More recently my work has included bread, salt, wheat, water, rock samples and air photos to provoke reflection of our day-to-day impact on worsening salinity problems in the breadbaskets of Australia and chronic drought conditions across most of Australia.
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