Join us as we explore Austrialian ceramist Julie Bartholomew’s sobering works through an exhibition photo essay. In her work, Bartholomew draws upon various flora on Australian threatened species lists for her Subversive Botanica series, recording her anguish while simultaneously making a plea for greater awareness, Craftact writes.
Above image: Julie Bartholomew, Subversive Botanica Shy Eyebright, 2015. Porcelain, celedon glaze, silver decals
Bartholomew’s exhibition gathers together two groups of work, the first a series of container forms, A Natural Experiment; and the second, Rarely Seen, an installation of ceramic weaponry and floor-based containers.
In A Natural Experiment and the plinth-based works of Rarely Seen, ambiguity around protection/destruction is engaged with but here it is the common household or commercial spray or pump action bottle on which ideas turn. Each container houses a small collection of endangered plants protected within its confines. This sheltering is suggestive of the way endangered plants are housed under artificial conditions in the laboratory to ensure their survival, but, because of the container shape, it’s hard to ignore the reference also to chemicals, whether being used for good or not.
The installation Rarely Seen, consists of 120 porcelain ‘petri dishes’, each filled with luscious copper red glaze out of which an endangered species, modeled in porcelain, emerges ghost-like, seemingly drained of blood, almost gone. The rendering of such a large number of individual flora from clay in this work is a tour de force, with each botanically accurate to the finest detail. Rarely Seen is well thought out and beautifully made and in reiterating the conclusions of the other works, that from science springs both hope and despair, it acts as a coda to the exhibition as a whole.
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