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Art + Design Store – Friday Feature – Casuarina

June 24, 2011

Today’s instalment in the Art + Design Store – Friday Feature column, where I look more closely at one of the artworks in my Art + Design Store, is about the limited edition giclée print Casuarina, which, as you know, featured in my recent solo exhibition: Collected Patterns: The botany of Walter Hill. Part of a series of six giclée prints, printed on 100% cotton rag Hahnemühle fine art paper using long-life pigment inks, this white on black work was inspired by the dedicated research of Walter Hill, the Brisbane Botanic Gardens’ first and most significant curator (1855-1881).

Casuarina’, also known as Sheoak due to the similarity of their timber to that of European Oak trees, makes up about 1% of Australia’s forested area with over 60 different species. No Queensland beach would be complete without its backdrop of graceful Casuarinas, nor would they probably exist without their tenacious hold on the fragile foreshore dunes, protecting against the cyclones and storms that lash our coastline. Their roots produce nitrogen through nodules that contain special bacteria, allowing Casuarinas to grow on nutrient-poor soils and other marginal environments. Indigenous groups often used the wood to make boomerangs, shields and clubs.

Whilst Walter Hill didn’t speak at length in his Annual Reports on the Brisbane Botanic Garden about the Casuarina, he noted them in his many lists of plants cultivated in the Gardens and propagated throughout the region.

I couldn’t resist working with the fine, wispy lines of this graceful plant to develop a balanced, yet asymmetrical motif. It was the first design I created within the series and became the signature work for the exhibition. My aim was to represent the fine and detailed work that Hill undertook during his service, through delicate linework and striking focal point. 

Hope you enjoy the work, it’s facts and history as much as I did researching and making it. The prints are part of an edition of 10 and there are still some available in the Store.

There are lots more facts and artwork details to come in this column, so keep following on Fridays for the next artwork featured in the Art + Design Store!




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