If you are anything like me, at this time of year when days are shorter but the sun still shines strong, you see-saw wildly between the urge to prepare for winter hibernation and squeezing in another cup of tea with kin folk out there. Take Sunday. I caught the train to the country in good company and did not draw breath for 12 hours. About the only moment I wasn't in conversation was when I spied three solitary kangaroos on a distant hilltop. I watched them chew lazily on grass. But even at a safe distance I couldn't help size up their muscular thighs, their fearsome tails. The scene was punctuated by bird sounds, more screech than song actually: the bush really seems to come alive at dusk.
On Monday I took a vow of silence in order to recalibrate my inner world and to give some time and space over to reflection. That's another way of saying I stayed in and cleaned house.
This present frame of mind brought to mind, Siri Hayes exhibition, Back to Nature, currently on at Heide Museum of Art in Bulleen. Her photographs, often of natural environments, take into account human beings their presence, activities and artefacts, but never in a heavy-handed way. If anything they bring to mind stories of undomesticated animals making their way into habited environments in reverse. I see people like myself, city slickers, tentatively relating to nature.
It's a small show – just a handful of photographs – and a short film, but it displays a keen sensitivity to its environment: the gallery space and the Heide grounds that inspired the work. I liked its sense of refinement, its assured understatement. It is perfect for a Sunday.
Siri Hayes: Back to Nature
23 March – 28 July
Heide Museum of Modern Art
7 Templestowe Road,