Voyagers' Tales: Labillardière
Beaver Galleries 2017
This exhibition was an outcome of a period of fieldwork I undertook in January 2016 supported by ArtsACT Project funding. Guided by research in the National Library, I re-traced the steps of the naturalist Jacques Julien Houtou Labillardière and spent three weeks investigating the Labillardière peninsula, Recherche Bay and Bruny Island in south-eastern Tasmania.
The paintings aimed to convey my experience of this locality, informed by both the present and my knowledge of some past events. Some paintings re-present historical drawings, topographic maps or engravings while others are derived from my photographs. These were taken of areas that Labillardière visited and of endemic birds and animals now preserved in local natural history museum displays. To allude to my experience of imagining myself in the past at these places, I have utilised some of the decorative conventions that were used to depict landscape in the late 18th century. These include the flat shallow spaces of Chinoiserie Chinese wallpapers and the landscape vignettes of Sevres porcelain. Representing different locations such a non-conventional but recognisable manner where space, form and colour are altered has enabled me to refer to the combined role of observation and imagination in the sense of place I experienced.