under + foot suggests engaged walking – participating in and feeling textures, terrain and topography, using our energy, our bodies to negotiate Earth’s varied skins. Underfoot, like burrs, agitates against the grain, against complacency, stock answers and received truths. 

Underfoot encapsulates entangled stories: steamed, plied, fired, pigmented, stitched, filmed, walked, written, printed, narrated, recorded and performed. Individually we exhibit and publish widely. We make unique, lively, and as Jane Bennett would say “vibrant things” in our contribution to the complex fabric of contemporary making. 

Empirical knowledge, interdisciplinary research and our individual experiences working in WA’s mineral resource sector underpin sTrAtA’s making practices. Through textiles, prints and small sculpture, we explore WA stratigraphy, deep time and biota. 

More detail on the exhbition here.


Annette NykielPerdita PhillipsNien Schwarz

sTrAtA is an exhibition featuring Annette Nykiel, Perdita Phillips and Nien Schwarz, a long-standing trio forming part of a larger circle of seven Western Australian artists titled Underfoot. sTrAtA follow on from Field Working Slow Making (ECU, Spectrum 2016) which expanded into We Must Get Together Some Time (IOTA21). We practice slow making through long-term engagement with non-urban places and non-human worlds, contributing to the discourse of Western Australian field-based creative research.


Annette Nykiel PhD (ECU 2018) is a slow-maker and fibre/textile artist, a settler woman living and working on unceded Noongar boodjar. Her geoscientist background informs her slow-making as she notices, gathers, and wanders in the bush. She wonders about the precarity of soils, the interdependence of ecological systems and her complicity in resource extraction. As a fibre/textile artist she creates natural bush-dyed and hand-stitched textiles and vessels from repurposed cloth, earth and windfall. 

She works in urban, regional and remote areas as an arts worker and share skills as workshop facilitator, art project manager and casual academic. She continues to develop her practice through solo and group shows, residencies, and the artist group We Must Get Together Some Time. Her work is held in the John Curtin Gallery, Artspace Mackay, The Overwintering Project Print Portfolio and private collections in Australia and overseas. Her solo show, meeting place, won the FRINGEWORLD Visual Art Award, 2018 and she has an upcoming solo exhibition at Rockingham Arts Centre. www. https://annette-nykiel-artist.com/  Instagram @slow_maker

Nien Schwarz

Nien lives on unceded Noongar land near Walyalup, WA. She taught environmental art at ECU for 18 years. For 40 years she’s cooked for geoscience mapping and sampling expeditions across the Canadian arctic and Australian outback. Combined with her interdisciplinary interests and migrant background, geoscience informs the making of her objects, installations, videos, and wearables that prompt questions about where we are, who we are, and what sustains us. Exhibitions include In Situ (Holmes à Court Gallery) and We must get together some time as part of the Indian Ocean Triennial 2021, Earth Matters (2008 solo, Turner Galleries), Over My Shoulder (2006 solo, PCA) and Promised Land (2001 solo, Perth Festival, touring regional WA 2003-4 with Art on the Move). Public art commissions include the Canberra Museum & Gallery elevator, a glass building façade inspired by a copper ore deposit, and site-specific works at Perth Core Library. Nien holds a BFA, University of Victoria, Canada, and a PhD (visual arts) from The Australian National University    https://www.nienschwarz.com/

Perdita Phillips

Born on unceded Whajuk Noongar land in Perth, Western Australia, Australian artist Dr Perdita Phillips has an expansive practice working in installation, environmental projects, walking, sound, video, publishing and object making. Beginning in 1992, her commitment to ‘ecosystemic thinking’ has led her to work with material and conceptual networks as diverse as drains, minerals, termites and bowerbirds at the intersection of the human and non-human worlds. Originally training in environmental science, she has exhibited widely including Unique States (2022, Holmes à Court gallery at Vasse Felix), We Must Get Together Some Time (CASM/MPAC, Mandurah and touring, 2021-2022), Dealing with the runoff, a walk with a historian and an engineer for the Vancouver Arts Festival (2019), Make Known: The Exquisite Order of Infinite Variation (2018, UNSW Galleries), Here&Now2018: Besides, it is always the others who die (Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery). Her work is often seen outside the gallery context, finding spaces and places where change can/is manifest. https://www.perditaphillips.com/