The Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide South Australia, April 9, 2017 - July 9, 2017
The Glasshouse Regional Gallery, Port Macquarie, March 11, 2016 - April 24, 2016
Drawn to a cabinet of curiosities
Curious people have always fathomed the intricacies and workings of the natural world. The culture of collecting, classifying and drawing natural specimens predates the naming of disciplines such as biology, science or art. During the Renaissance collected specimens were assembled into rooms that were designed to evoke the spectacle and marvel of the natural world. These designated spaces were called wonder-rooms (Wunderkammer) or cabinets of curiosities.
Drawing natural forms has been one of my preoccupations since 1999, when I first created a large cloud drawing that was chosen as a finalist for the Dobell prize for drawing at AGNSW. Since then I have drawn natural objects and recently created my own cabinet of curiosities. It is a two dimensional cabinet consisting of more than a hundred charcoal drawings of natural specimens. These drawings seek to capture the distinct characteristics and details of a range of organic forms, yet also imbue them with a sense of intrigue.
These drawings are created using the sparest of materials: black willow charcoal on textured French paper.
Beauty and mystery are repeated themes which are intertwined in my artistic practice. Creating and exhibiting drawings of organic forms not only documents and celebrates them as part of our natural world but also inherently brings awareness to their fragility and vulnerability in a climate of threat and change.
Jennifer Keeler-Milne, 2016