Since the early days spacecraft studio has held Australian botany close to our hearts. It’s probably the neat parallel between those of us native, and those of us introduced. Not finding a moral point for these, but instead a soft and silvery observation on the aesthetics of weeds and perhaps a reverence for the resilience of species.
An image of this limited edition Fennel painting was sent to us recently , this photo has managed to finally glimpse the movement of the light in these pieces. ( I’ll get you the name of the photographer when I find it. )
The Fennel is a native from the Apiaceae family, introduced to Australia from Southern Europe. The plant is now considered an invasive, perennial herb and can grow up to three meters high. Fennel is considered a weed in Australia and is often found growing along railway tracks, industrial wastelands and unkempt coastal sites. The plant we used to create this one was found during autumn in an overgrown site at the edge of Williamstown.
Above is our Peppercorn Tree story : Schinus Molle. According to arborist story teller Andrew, Scottish Presbyterian ministers introduced this tree to Australia. As missionaries in Peru the Scots learnt the peppercorn tree was useful as it omitted a pheromone, which repelled flying insects. The branches hung low to the ground creating a protective curtain. So the Scots, maddened by flying insects in the Australia, planted the Peruvian trees to create a sanctuary to read and relax.
Architects and planners obviously used to know about this, as witnessed by mature peppercorn trees planted where people are forced to stay put, exposed railway platforms, school playgrounds etc.
Kelly’s last stand tree, leaves of the Apple Box gum taken from Glenrowen, the artwork was created in the studio in Nt Melbourne (140x 140cm).
Above is the Flax Lilly : Dianal’la, an Australian native that grows throughout Tasmania and South-Eastern Australia. Indigenous stories show the plant had significance for local communities who used the leaves for weaving and it’s ripe blue berry was beneficial to wellbeing. In colonial settlement of Melbourne the Flax Lilly was deemed a poisonous weed, with very little further description or analysis. After that the species was systematically removed from habitable areas.
Only in recent years has the Flax Lily been recognised by Melbourne councils as an important and hardy species and replanting is currently being encouraged throughout Victoria.
This is one of my very favourite Charcoal Fennel botanicals, (140x 140cm) made recently for Ollie and Ari, in Brighton. It’s the storminess of this piece, or some kind of night walk through the paddock.