RADICAL BOTANICAL – 1-31 July 2022
Opening Event Saturday 2 July 2-4pm - all welcome
Humans have represented plants for as long as they have been creating art. Flora were embraced for their decorative properties thousands of years ago, while the scientific approach of botanical art, used to identify plants, was first seen in Greece around 50 AD. When plants are in the frame in much Western art, they have historically been approached as passive, fixed, and silent; used for their aesthetic qualities alone or to symbolise very human concerns. However, at this current point of ecological and existential crises, a growing body of artists are relating to plants as coagents and seeking to convey important messages sent from the vegetal world itself.
In Radical Botanical the plants are active, sometimes provocative. The artists of this group exhibition all explore critical, playful, and challenging new ways of engaging with plants. Novel creative methods generate new perspectives on flora that adorn, perfume, cure, invade, or struggle for survival. Sensitive engagements with vegetation propagate ecological and cultural exchanges, while past botanical traditions are reimagined or critiqued, breaking down hierarchies of artistic practice, gender, and species.
Radical Botanical’s theme echoes the growth of the arts practice of Margaret Stoddart, born in this building. After initially making accurate botanical drawings of native flora, Stoddart moved on to the decorative flower paintings deemed “an appropriate subject for young lady painters”. When she ultimately developed an impressionistic style, she was considered too radical by local critics of her day.
The exhibiting artists are: Sarah Amazinnia, Sarah Anderson, Sharnaé Beardsley, Jo Burzynska, Justyna Burzynska, Marisa Cappetta, Tim Cheesebrough, Karen Colyer, Jo Ernsten, Jo Ewing, Masako Fisher, Evelyn Keeley, Graeme Keeley, Prue Kennard, Soon-Lee Spicer, Ilze Jansen van Rensburg, Cherei Richan, Innocenza Toritto, and Giselle Weir.