Jill Chism


As an artist, whose involvement with creating art in public spaces now spans 19 years, one of the key issues I have is with how to link public art (mostly incorporated in new public infrastructures) with the natural environments and prior histories that the artwork and infrastructure have displaced. My aim is always to address the importance of the balance between nature and culture. The way in which our relationship to nature and the prior histories of a ‘site’ are translated, depends foremost on the nature of the commission and its location.


How to Cite
Chism, J. (2020) “Falling through Space: The gap between public art /new infrastructure and the displaced natural environments”, The Journal of Public Space, 5(2), pp. 147–154. doi: 10.32891/jps.v5i2.1289.
Author Biography

Jill Chism

Jill Chism sees herself as a custodian of the natural environment. She recognizes the significance of place and our connections as individuals to both our local environment and the larger cosmos. Her personal experiences have led to an appreciation for the great mystery of life, the preciousness of the present moment and the understanding that we are just a small expression of a greater consciousness. She is strongly influenced by metaphysical enquiry, which has evolved since her theology degree in 1979. Her deeply spiritual experiences inform her art practice which spans over four decades, evoking the liminal zones where questions are asked, objects appear and disappear, edges blur between realities, always inviting reflection on who we are and our purpose. Chism’s eclectic approach to materials and processes, are determined, by the art project at hand. She understands that each art project has a unique voice and if we listen the creative process will unfold. Her artworks include ephemeral sculptures, assemblage, glass works that are imbued with ethereal qualities often juxtaposed with more permanent metal and wood structures. Her selected 27 solo exhibitions, spanning 4 decades, demonstrate her versatility, command of mixed materials and understanding of many and various geographical site-specific locations across Australia. Motivated to elevate and inspire, Chism's 24 commissioned public artworks also span diverse geographical site-specific locations in Australia. Engaging with local communities, Chism masterfully translates their voice into refined work that unites people with place. Chism has a command of materials, which ensures both a personal and meaningful aesthetic. She lives and works in Far North Queensland. A recipient of a Creative Fellowship from Arts Queensland, in 2007 Chism launched ‘Waters' edge, creating environments’. This 3 year Environmental Art Project entailed Chism and invited artists responding to various sites at the waters edge across Queensland. Along with her vast history as artist, Chism has established educational art programs in a number of Institutes and lectured in the Bachelor of Creative Arts at James Cook University in Cairns. In 2018 Chism instigated Call of the Running Tide, a biennial ephemeral sculpture event to be held from 2019 in the Douglas shire in Far North Queensland where she lives. The inaugural event focuses on local and global environmental issues and involves the work of local and invited artists from within.


Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (2006). Habitus Habitat: Art and Environment in the Great Walks of Queensland. Brisbane, Australia: Environmental Protection Agency.