2016 Program pt 1

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Bryden Williams

Opening 04.05.16 6-8pm
Artist Talks 26.05.16 6-7pm

Hydro-Wilderness deals with the aesthetic and environmental implications of hydro-electric and water management infrastructures. Sydney based artist Bryden Williams questions the cultural and aesthetic integrities of both ecological and technological forces at play within the Australian environment through a new series of photographic, video and installation works centred around the infrastructural aspects of water management and hydro-electric facilities.

Various locations are interrogated through a documentarian photographic approach, featuring sites such as Sydney’s Warragamba catchment, the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme and Victoria’s Kiewa Hydro-electric Scheme. The featured catchment areas are treated as site-specific studies of the natural and organic aesthetic attributes of water and the peripheral structures of containment – canals, dams and pipelines. Collectively, alongside video and installation elements, the work questions the integrities of both the functional and aesthetic properties of water-related systems. The hydro-dam becomes a site composed of elements in a compromised state – a ruptured natural space whereby concrete, steel and mechanical elements convert unaltered river flow into a managed commodity. Whilst each location retains a unique assembly of materials that allude by design to particular aspects of Australian engineering history, concrete, the building block of the dam, becomes a material pretense for Australia’s cultural identity.

Williams questions the potential of various man-made elements that are interacting with and manipulating our river systems whilst the exhibition represents a culmination of personal inquiries into water. The audience are encouraged to consider the aesthetic implications of local engineered spaces and to question the practicalities of water use.


Bryden Williams (b. 1990) is a conceptual artist working across the fields of sculpture, video, photography and installation art. He lives and works in Sydney and is currently an MFA candidate at Sydney College of the Arts.

Williams’ work is concerned with themes of decay and preservation, organic and artificial duality, the sublime in nature and technology and the containment of space, objects and time within man-made and natural environments. Williams is a recipient of the Australian Postgraduate Award and in 2016 he received a Fauvette Memorial Artists Exchange Scholarship. Williams has exhibited in Australia and abroad, most recently with the solo exhibition Site Specifics at Interlude Gallery, Sydney in February 2016. Previously Williams was also included in the 2013 John Fries Award with the work Techno Fire, and received the inaugural Chippendale New World Art Prize in 2013, spending three months abroad making and exhibiting work as resident at Red Gate Gallery, Beijing. Throughout the residency Williams furthered his ongoing interest in the aesthetic and environmental implications of hydro-electricity, creating a screen work based on the Three Gorges Dam and a body of found object sculptures.

In 2015 Williams received a NSW Artists Grant for the project Hydro-Wilderness, which involved undertaking a two-week residency at The Bogong Centre for Sound Culture in Victoria’s Bogong National Park. Following this focussed output on rivers, Hydro-Wilderness is a culmination of Williams’ artistic inquiry into water.

This project is supported by Arts NSW’s NSW Artists’ Grant Scheme, a devolved funding program administered by the National Association of the Visual Arts on behalf of the NSW GovernmentThanks also go to Madelynne Cornish and Philip Samartzis from the Bogong Centre of Sound Culture.