Christine McMillan


Christine McMillan, Breath 2007

Christine McMillan observes and documents changes in the vegetation around her studio home in Kandos, near the Blue Mountains. Grass seeds of many varieties have sprouted since recent rain. She tracks their motion in the wind, and their changing shapes as they absorb and release moisture from the air. Dense growth areas of grass are animated to reveal the changes through varying distances. By setting the camera’s focal point from close to distant over time, we see the foliage from an insect’s perspective. The changing light, colours and forms envelop you. “Grass” becomes un-nameable experience.


Christine McMillan’s work is part of a current of contemporary practice that reveals a new way of seeing the Australian landscape, one that draws from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous art practice and is based on strong environmental and ethical philosophies…Her choice of material, whether it is the leaves and resin of the grass trees, carp scales, echidna quills, muslin or gold laced quartz from Hill End, is selected for its inherent connection to a landscape.

Alexandrw Torrens
Bathurst Regional Art Gallery





I animate the shadows changing over a sliver dress dummy, and the grass flattening with my treading.

The silver dress dummy can be an object of Antarctica’s Mechanical era (1950’s).


2 Replies to “Christine McMillan”

  1. Hello Lisa,
    It’s Sunday evening and I have, just an hour ago returned from 4 nights in the Sydney. Today I saw ‘the knitting in the sky clouds’ over Sydney. Driving over the Blue Mountains and coming down the western side is like taking a big deep breath. Passing Wentworth Falls Dam (don’t know if that’s it’s name but it is the place) I caught a glimpse of the reflection of the forest on the water of the dam, all tinged by the sunset. After Lithgow the trees lining the hills were stark against the darking sky, those trees make the link between the earth and the sky. By the time I got home the sky had darkened and the moon had not yet risen and I could see the stars. Not 5 or 6 as Haydn and I saw on Wednesday evening at Circular Quay but so many that even thinking about counting them driven from the mind before it was a conscious thought.
    Ah at last Lisa I am responding on your log.
    I spent a wonderful evening on Friday, reveling in our art dialogue, live ( as in ‘live wire’) with Lisa. Now to think about that discussion and extend that discussion so it can take place on the ‘log’ too, working from a distance.
    I have been learning about the roadside vegetation just out of Kandos, a couple of hundreds metres from home. After ‘the time of no rain’ the changes are stunning. Now tall grasses and the short, that you find when you walk amongst the grasses, line the roadside and fill the paddocks beside the roads that have not been grazed. The kangaroo grass turns golden, the windmill grass stems turn brittle and snap. The seeds roll across the ground attached to their windmill arms, capable of travelling in all directions. The stipa seeds, which I have become most friendly with corkscrew into the flesh and move with the humidity becoming very uncomfortable when they are lodged in the clothing. I have been photographing for animation many aspects of the roadside vegetation and the occasional pan to get an idea of where i am.
    I began an animation of the stipa seed that was inspired by Lisa’s
    work. The animation where small marks increase in number. I began the photographs sprinkling small amounts of seed in to the frame and photographing the growing pile. Then as the grass seed dried it amazingly began to more of it’s own accord, wow.

    The grasses and seeds are the most recent materials I am gathering. I would love to have a reverse garbage in town where I could get stainless steel rods and L sections to make a frame for my camera and I am absolutely sure I would find materials for a body of work at reverse garbage. But I live and work in Kandos and understanding the surrounding country side is essential to life and my arts practice.
    Will continue this soon and write in in word first.

  2. After your visit, I animated the shadows changing over a sliver dress dummy, and the grass flattening with my treading.

    The silver dress dummy can be an object of Antarctica’s Mechanical era (1950’s).

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Posted on Saturday, June 2nd, 2007