The exhibition Capturing Flora: 300 Years of Australian Botanical Art will take visitors through a historical journey of how Australia’s amazing and diverse flora have been recorded, interpreted and popularized by botanical artists from William Dampier and the early explorers to the present day.
Gordon Morrison, Director of the Art Gallery of Ballarat who is curating the exhibition, says Capturing Flora will be the most comprehensive exhibition of Australian botanical art ever held in Australia.
He goes on to say:
This is a much-needed tribute to the tradition and practice of botanic art in Australia which has been enjoying a renaissance over the last few decades. We are bringing together works from the Gallery’s collection, many of which have been bought in preparation for this exhibition, with key works from some major institutions.
The 350 original drawings and prints range from colourful works which celebrate Australia’s vibrant and flamboyant wildflowers to black and white drawings which are incredibly detailed and meticulously observed. It’s a show that will appeal to anyone who has ever looked at a flower.
A diverse selection of merchandise and a lavishly produced catalog will be produced for the exhibition. Morrison says the catalog will “be a significant contribution to the field as it will contain a series of scholarly essays and will be the first comprehensive monograph to cover botanical art for over ten years.”
The exhibition will include rare 18th century prints of plants that buccaneer William Dampier found on his visit to the Kimberleys in 1699 and images from Cook’s exploration of the east coast of the continent. It will also address the growing popularity of Australian plants in Australia and the growing interest in Australian plants by European gardeners.
Ferdinand von Mueller, the first director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and the instigator of botanical gardens and collections throughout Victoria and elsewhere in Australia, gets a special billing in a section that highlights the link between research and art.
A section of the exhibition will focus on women artists, both amateur and professional, who have made significant contributions to the recording and popularization of Australian plants. Some, like Louisa Meredith and Ellis Rowan have been celebrated for their work, while others like Eliza Blyth and Fannie de Mole are still relatively obscure.
The exhibition concludes with the revival of Australian botanical art that occurred after World War II. This section will highlight the careers of Margaret Stones and Celia Rosser, and will feature a selection of work of some of the best botanical art in Australia, including that by Jenny Phillips, Anita Barley and Mali Moir.
Tourism packages and special workshops will be offered in conjunction with the three-month exhibition. Visitors to the gallery will also have the opportunity to meet with curators.
The Art Gallery of Ballarat is located at 40 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat. Gallery hours are 9 AM – 5 PM daily. Admission is $12 adults, Concession $8, children and gallery members are free. Questions about this special event should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Capturing Flora” Opens a the Art Gallery of Ballarat