Within the social context of the pandemic, which created an increased collective focus on the home and garden as an expression of identity, this exhibition looks at our desire to feel kinship with the natural world.
Artists in the exhibition address how plants are owned, displayed, cultivated, and related to by contemporary culture. They examine our personal relationships with plants and how these pursuits serve aesthetic and symbolic functions beyond their ecological value. This includes the use of plants as artistic material, their objectification and commercialisation, their use as an experiential encounter with ‘nature’, and their cultivation as a form of cultural resilience.
Jordan Azcune is a contemporary artist who explores spiritual representations in patterns of abstraction. Azcune uses beeswax and pigment to create multi-layered and non-rectangular works that draw from specific interests in Sogetsu Ikebana and Christian Imagery. In the studio, Azcune continues to investigate the process of casting beeswax and the transformation of the material in reaction to temperature and liquids. These signature works of his practice have been exhibited across Australia in exhibitions and prizes. He has completed residencies in Miami (USA), Gold Coast (AUS) and has recently been awarded the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Young and Emerging Artist Fellowship to conduct research across India. Azcune is represented by N.Smith Gallery, Sydney
Christopher Bassi is an artist of Meriam, Yupungathi and British descent. Working with archetypal models of representational painting, his work engages with the medium as sociological and historical text and as a means to address issues surrounding cultural identity, alternative genealogies, and colonial legacies in Australia and the South Pacific. Through critical re-imagining, his paintings become a space for a type of speculative storytelling that considers questions of history and place and the entangling of personal and collective experience. Bassi graduated from the Queensland College of Art in 2017 with a Bachelor of Fine Art. He has participated in numerous exhibitions across Queensland, Australia, and was recently a finalist in the Churchie Emerging Art Prize 2021, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia. His work is held in a number of institutional collections in Australia including: The Museum of Brisbane, Queensland Museum, Moreton Bay Regional Galleries, and Griffith University Art Museum.
Merinda Davies is an artist using performance, installation, sound and conversation to ask how we might reorient ourselves towards deeper care and intimacy. Her work is inspired by the environment, human and more-than-human social and ecological structures and the possibilities available to us in future imaginings. She grew up in Bundjalung Country, Northern NSW, and is currently living and creating on the land of the Yugambeh language group, in SE QLD. Merinda has most recently exhibited at galleries and festivals; The Walls Artspace, Institute of Modern Art Brisbane, HOTA Underground Festival, Outer Space and Placemakers* GC. She is currently working on living, growing project ‘Conversations with the Forest’ with the City of Gold Coast and Situate Art in Festivals.
Jo Grant completed a Bachelor of Arts (Photography) at RMIT in 1993 and holds a Master of Visual Art from Griffith University, Queensland (2004). Her practice as an artist began with photography and her work has been exhibited widely in galleries and institutions across Australia. Her photographic work is represented in collections such as State Library Victoria, Griffith University and Art Bank. She is represented by M.33 in Melbourne and in 2012 published a photographic monograph titled, All Prize Winners Paraded. In the last few years she has transitioned to other mediums, working project to project, juggling an artistic practice and her role at Regional Arts Victoria as the Manager of the South West region. Jo lives on the Victorian coast in the small town of Port Fairy.
Sophie Penkethman-Young is an artist and digital producer living on unceded Gadigal Land. Sophie is interested in if experiences can be translated digitally, how humanness could be described and uploaded to the cloud? Sophie currently works as a Producer in Digital Programming for the Sydney Opera House. She has Bachelor of Visual Arts from the Australian National University, with Honours from the University of Sydney. She recently completed a Master of Art Curating at the University of Sydney focusing on digital museum culture and internet-based practice. Sophie held the 2019-2020 board position of Digital Manager of Runway Journal. Sophie is a curator and digital producer on Collective: Trace, Ghost and Frenzy where she collaborated with fourteen artists to create time specific digital exhibitions for PAcT, Firstdraft, Art Month and Outerspace ARI. Sophie has had solo exhibitions at Airspace Projects (2019), Sydney, Seventh Gallery (2019), Melbourne and Verge Gallery (2021), Sydney.
Kai Wasikowski is an Australian multi-disciplinary artist. As a child of photographers/environmentalists, his practice is primarily concerned with the experience of growing up with a reverence for the natural environment, while living adjacent to ecological degradation and rapid technological development. With Australian settler and Polish heritage, Wasikowski uses image-making to better understand his own positionality in relation to the impacts of colonialism and late-capitalism, and the inseparability of environmental justice from their ongoing effects. Wasikowski’s projects have engaged with western traditions of landscape/nature photography, with a particular interest in the instrumentality of the camera—how it and various optical technologies prescribe ways of seeing whilst simultaneously constructing an unseen. Employing visual devices of trompe-l’oei, various imaging technologies and 3D techniques, Wasikowski is interested in revealing the camera, his hand, and the spectators own presence in the act of viewing.