Patricia Piccinini: The Gardener’s Eye
Time Out says
The superstar artist asks us to think more closely about our often toxic relationship with the natural world
Art lovers rejoice. You can once more view the world through the weird and wonderful lens of acclaimed artist Patricia Piccinini. The Gardener’s Eye is a brand new solo show at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery delving deeper into the natural world through her trademark surreal, strangely beautiful and occasionally totally unnerving sculptures.
Combining her signature life-sized hyper-realistic oddities, panel works, drawings and smaller, mechanical pieces, Piccinini asks us to take another look at our relationship with our dear green environment and probe exactly what ‘natural’ might mean in our hyper-industrialised, climate crisis times. “The more I learn of the beauty and intricacy of this system, the more I am overwhelmed both by how amazing it is and by how little we are doing to protect it,” she says. “However, when I hear about people getting together to stand up for a gum tree in Bulleen, I think that maybe there is room for hope.”
Alongside the recognisable hairy creatures for which she is renowned, like ‘The Dreamer’ (pictured above), there are also an abundance of plant-like forms, including ‘Shoeform (Angiosperm)’, a resin work that seems to undulate in its pink and blue automotive painted form. “I am fascinated by their vegetal resilience, by their strangeness but also by the many things we have in common,” Piccinini says of the things that grow in our gardens. “In plants we see the same basic approach to sexual reproduction that we have, and we also see a way of living that involves intricate networks of communication and interaction with the organisms around us.”
At the centre of it all is ‘Sapling’, depicting a man in a blue T-shirt and jeans holding aloft one of Piccinini’s wonderful wrinkled, hairy creatures that looks like a tree’s root system brought to anthropomorphic life. The idea grew from her sister’s involvement in a protest led by Wurundjeri people in Melbourne to save an ancient tree growing in the forecourt of a suburban petrol station.
“To me, this tree is the most perfect manifestation of the sort of tensions between the natural and artificial that is at the core of all of my work,” she says. “I wanted to create a kind of plant chimera, to make it more clear that this relationship could be really intimate and familial. I wanted to see the person as a nurturer of the plants rather than just seeing trees and plants as resources to be exploited for our benefit.”
It’s going to be a hugely popular one, so time your visit to Roslyn Oxley9 well. Open now, it runs to September 19.