The Collections Project is a collaboration between Guildhouse and Flinders Art Museum.
My artwork typically explores human behavior and interaction, more recently focusing on motherhood and domesticity. In this project I have explored my current ‘tabletop process’ in new ways. A process where what lands on a surface over a period of time is recorded in layers of mark making - recording everyday moments in a suggested narrative. Increasingly my interest in native plants, their uses, functions, and the role they can play in our lives, winds its way among these marks of daily life. During this Collections Project I’ve researched botanical and scientific artists from the Flinders University Art Museum’s permanent collection. In moving drawing surfaces between my home and Flinders Campus, indoors and outdoors (including burying them beneath ‘gum trees’ for weeks at a time, and laying canvases for collaborative drawing at Flinders Tavern), a drawing ‘palimpsest’ developed. I have explored elements of the traditions, processes and techniques of botanical illustration. Intrigued by Ferdinand Bauer’s use of an elaborate ‘paint by numbers’ colour code, and his carefully considered compositions, I used these as a basis to begin each canvas, starting with strict rules and eventually breaking them. The early Renaissance technique of ‘pouncing’ (used by Leonardo Da Vinci in transferring botanical drawings), is a process I have explored in works on paper. These are based on my daughter's creation – a ‘giant pipe cleaner squid’, made after a visit to the SA Museum.
Thankyou to Kaurna Warra Karrapanthi for help, advice, and permission for using Kaurna words for some of the native plants I have drawn. They are embedded amongst my canvases near the appropriate plants. Thankyou, also, to The Living Kaurna Cultural Centre for advice and education about local plants represented in the artwork.
Fran Callen 2017