Jess Leitmanis

Excavations of the Deep

March 23 - April 18 2018


To what degree does our internal world influence our external world?
To what degree does our environment influence our thoughts?

Using archaeology as a framework, Jessica Leitmanis looks to the objects of our acquaintance for insights into contemporary society. She creates dialogue surrounding our constructs and design principles, in order to reflect on the values and beliefs of the modern world.

A contemporary archaeological dig that invites the viewer to question current modes of thinking, being, feeling, cultivating, creating, consuming, and discarding...

This excavation looks for clues in the disconnect between that which is, and that which is assumed. The seen and the unseen; the surface and the submerged; the conscious and the sub-conscious...

Jessica Leitmanis is a sculpture artist with a strong connection to the ocean. Her primary medium, marine debris rope, has been salvaged from extremely remote coastlines across Australia.

To acquire this material, she has travelled around the rugged South West of Tasmania by boat with South West Marine Debris Cleanup (twice), and to salty crocodile country, Cape York, with Clean Coast Collective and Tangaroa Blue.

On these expeditions marine debris was hand collected, sorted, counted and data logged. Leitmanis returned home greedily with as much rope as her transport would accommodate. Her personal collection weighs in at over 700kg.

The trials of a castaway life have imparted incredible battle scars on the rope. Leitmanis was drawn to her medium for its character, and the dissonance it represents.

Stories of a life at sea, tales of the earth and Earth's man, are hidden in the twists and turns. Often perished and degraded from the sun and prolonged exposure to the elements; frayed, faded, tangled, stained, and brittle; this fibre is anything but predictable.

Leitmanis thinks of her creative process akin to a strange tango, an intricate wrestle, between the will of the maker and the will of the rope. The quirks of the rope ultimately dictating its finished form.

Through her work Leitmanis explores ideas that encompass the environment, design, consumer culture, sustainability, sociology and philosophy. Leitmanis is interested in our connection to the space around us – how we sculpt our environment, and how it sculpts us. She considers our approach to design; the things we construct and the things we discard; to gain insights into our society and its values.

Leitmanis continues to cultivate her social inquiry, conceptual development and critical thinking. She graduated with a Bachelor of Design (Communication Design) from RMIT in 2004. She has practised as a design professional for 14 years.

In both 2016 and 2015, Leitmanis held a solo exhibition in Melbourne as part of Sustainable Living Festival, titled ‘Tomorrow’s Nest’ and ‘Future Sands’ respectively. She has exhibited work in group shows across Australia and New Zealand over the past 8 years.

Hailing from the Surf Coast of Victoria, Leitmanis is currently based in Byron Bay, NSW and creates sculptures from her home studio.

Excavations of the Deep from Jessica Leitmanis on Vimeo.

A peek into the opening night of 'Excavations of the Deep'. A solo exhibition by Jessica Leitmanis at Lone Goat Gallery in Byron Bay, Australia, March 2018. Filmed and produced by Ashley Beer.