What Remains: SALTWATER exhibition Manly Art Gallery

Suzanne Davey, What Remains, ceramic, salt, 50cm x 250cm x 100cm

What Remains features in SALTWATER, an exhibition currently on at Manly Art Gallery. The ceramic sculpture and salt installation responds to the ocean as a dystopic landscape. It explores the sea as a place where contemporary human dramas are played out as people seek sanctuary and safe harbour, and as a site of irreversible ecological and geographical loss in a climate changed future. The work is a fragile memorial relic that references our complex cultural, psychological and corporeal connections to the ocean through motifs of human and marine anatomy as well as maritime architecture. Despite human loss and environmental destruction ‘what remains’ is the chance to seek new responses and political solutions to human struggles.


SALTWATER celebrates the vibrant arts community of Sydney’s Northern Beaches at Manly Art Gallery and showcases new art works by 45 Northern Beaches artists.
The exhibiting artists have taken inspiration from a single theme – Saltwater. “The concept of ‘Saltwater’ has been a recurring area of interest for Manly Art Gallery & Museum throughout 2015 and was chosen to reflect the multiple possibilities and perspectives of saltwater as an idea, a metaphor, a possibility, a physical place and as a cultural presence,” said Senior Curator Katherine Roberts. Saltwater includes photography, painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, glass and ceramics.
Suzanne Davey, What Remains, ceramic, salt, 50cm x 250cm x 100cm
Suzanne Davey, What Remains, ceramic, salt, 50cm x 250cm x 100cm

A Thousand Steps: Keeping Company Manly Art Gallery and Museum

Suzanne Davey, A Thousand Steps, fabric, wood, bamboo, 350 x 120 x 400 cm


A Thousand Steps is an installation created for the Manly Art Gallery & Museum ‘Keeping Company’ exhibition. New works were made in response to a range of artworks held in the Manly Art Gallery & Museum collection. A broad range of art media was represented including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, printmaking, textiles and glass. A Thousand Steps responds to Paola Talberts photograph, Kairos (moment of truth), 2000.


Paola Talbert, Kairos (Moment of truth), 2000, Type C LED print, 47 x 74cm,
Manly Art Gallery & Museum collection purchased 2004

Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greekword meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). Signifies a time between, a moment of indeterminate time in which something special happens.

Artist Statement

I was immediately drawn to Paola Talberts work, Kairos. The sensuality of the image with its dreamy, floating figure catching her breath and her rich and moody use of light and transparency all had great appeal. I have responded to the work both materially, through the use of fabric and conceptually, by exploring journeys and transition points. Wings have long been metaphors for our desires to explore, take flight, and soar to new heights. A Thousand Steps marks our day to day hopes and struggles as we journey through life.


Suzanne Davey, A Thousand Steps, fabric, wood, bamboo, 350 x 120 x 400 cm

Suzanne Davey, A Thousand Steps, fabric, wood, bamboo, 350 x 120 x 400 cm

Concept proposal drawing

ADRIFT in Manly

ADRIFT, recycled polystyrene, fishing line, glow in the dark paint, bamboo
3.5 m x 4.5 m x  2 m

ADRIFT is an ephemeral public art installation created in response to Manly Esplanade; its physical qualities, and the way people interact with, and utilise the site. 

It was exhibited as part of ‘SEE: Manly Public Art Project’ along with the work of 23 artists. The project was the result of a collaboration between Eramboo Artist Environment, Manly Art Gallery and Museum and Kendal Henry, an innovative New York artist and public art curator. 

ADRIFT, recycled polystyrene, fishing line, glow in the dark paint, bamboo
3.5 m x 4.5 m x  2 m


About ADRIFT:
Manly Esplanade is a site where drifting occurs, both seen and unseen. The ebb and flow of tourists, weekenders, commuters, ferry’s and boats, wind and water is a constant. It provides escape from the day to day, respite for many socially disadvantaged people and is a site of rescue for some. Along with escapist play and respite comes the flotsam and jetsam of broken boogie boards, surfboards, fishing floats and line, esky’s and buoys drifting on ocean currents. 


These leave a dark aftermath: lethal litter for birds and sea creatures and toxic chemicals for our food chain. 

Threaded polystyrene shards (like ‘neptunes beads’ seaweed,  pearls, swimming lanes) respond gently to air currents. At night the installation glows, referencing the phosphorescence of the sea which carries the lethal drift ashore.


It started with a broken surfboard shard washed ashore and blowing around the Manly Esplanade.


Recycled polystyrene was collected and completely sealed to prevent further environmental damage.




 The coated shards were threaded on fishing line, arranged in an ‘ocean current’ pattern 
and painted with glow in the dark paint.
The final size of the installation was adjusted to the dimensions of the site.

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