One Foot on the Ground, One Foot in the Water

Event status:

One Foot grave Catherine Bell, Timothy Cook, French & Mottershead, Mabel Juli, Richard Lewer, Sara Morawetz, Michael Needham, Nell, Patrick Freddy Puruntatameri, Nawurapu Wunuŋmurra.

Tuesday 03 November 2020 10:00 am until Sunday 17 January 2021 05:00 pm (Add to calendar)
La Trobe Art Institute
5444 7272;
Presented by:
La Trobe Art Institute
Type of Event:
Attached documents:
One_Foot_On_The_Ground.pdf [PDF, 9.7 MB]

At a time when many are experiencing complex feelings about the frailty of life and future uncertainty, this exhibition explores the subject of mortality and the inseparable link between life and death.

One foot on the ground, one foot in the water explores mortality as a state of transition, presenting processes of art making as a means of facing death collectively and individually.

Eleven contemporary artists present paintings, sculptures, installations and sound works, that challenges us to reckon with death and dying as an inherent part of life, invoking experiences of loss, impermanence, transience, remembrance, memorialisation and their own expressions of grief.

One foot on the ground, one foot in the water presents over 25 works of art, with scale ranging from a massive 3.3m cast-iron and steel monument by Kyneton based artist Michael Needham to 100 intricate handmade vessels crafted out of biodegradable florist foam by participants in Catherine Bell's Facing Death Creatively workshops.

The contrast between vast and minute scales is echoed in the contrast between singular and repeated forms, and ephemeral and permanent materials, referencing the relationship between the universal and the individual, the eternal, the finite and states in between.

Each artist offers insight into the way we let go of the dead, or hold them close, as a continuing living presence in the world. Artworks and other objects can reflect these kinds of present–absences, allowing the departed to continue to resonate in our memory, and in objects that outlive them.

One Foot on the Ground, One Foot in the Water is accompanied by a fully illustrated e-catalogue  featuring six newly commissioned texts by Yinimala Gumana, Mabel Juli, Wukun Wanambi and Pedro Wonaeamirri.

Exhbition publication 

Extended Labels: Artist information,  (word document)

Free public program

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, French & Mottershead’s Grey Granular Fist  (2017) is available online for the duration of the exhibition.  The artists request listeners are seated in a quiet location when experiencing this work.

Artwork: French & Mottershead, Grey Granular Fist, 2017, chair, sensor, audio player, directional speaker, sound, sound: 24 mins, installation dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artists.

Image: Nell, ‘Mother of the Dry Tree’ (detail), 2017, acrylic paint and mixed media on linen, wood, 296.5 x 223 cm. Courtesy of the artist and STATION, Sydney and Melbourne.

This exhibition has received assistance from NETS Victoria’s Exhibition Development Fund 2020 supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.

Nets Vic


121 View Street, Bendigo

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