The Yarra meanders its way through the suburbs of the inner east, a green serpentine in the landscape dividing the terracotta roofs that make up the surrounding suburbia. The call of birds echo through the parkland, only drowned by the washing of water over the stones that line the banks of the ancient river. The valley to the south rises up and away from the snaking watercourse and opens up to glimpses of green pasture, bearing the roots of century old gums that rise out of the hillside exhibiting the marks of the lands ancestral inhabitants the Wurrundjeri.
Through the trees, the black unnaturally shaped void of Andrew Burns’ Crescent House pulls the eye, leading pause for consideration and intrigues a change of direction, the persuasion to continue further thrusted by the earthen toned blur of Neil Taylor’s Theoretical Matter, almost appearing an uncomfortable sight in the landscape, like a rendering that hasn’t correctly loaded. Larger objects emerge from the greenery, irregularly placed and seemingly dropped into the scene at random points, the combination of overgrown shrub, grass clearings and formal borders give way to the idea that the works have forever been in situ, well established in their place.
The bright shimmering and almost blinding reflection of Inge King’s Rings of Saturn makes itself very known rounding the front side of the main gallery spaces, these areas are a little more formal with sculptures being placed it seems with full intention and thought to their locale. Further up the hillside the recently reinvigorated sensory garden adorned with beautiful limestone seating; the stone of which was left over from the construction of John and Sunday Reed’s former home, the McGlashan Everist designed Heide II in 1963. The path leads you through a garden wall and into the orchard of the original circa 1890 Heide I. Originally a dairy farm, Heide was transformed by John and Sunday into not only their home but a studio space and the birthplace of many notable works, including Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly series, and was also the place of origin for the Heide circle (of artists) which included Albert Tucker and Joy Hester amongst others.
The Reed’s were responsible for Heide’s establishment and now permanent fixture in the Melbourne art scene. Quite something to leave behind for John Reed who once stated in a letter draft for his memoir “I feel like everything I’ve done has failed and if it weren’t for Sunday, I feel like my life would be nothing”.