2012. Recollected Patterns: The botany of Walter Hill
My solo exhibition, Recollected Patterns: The botany of Walter Hill is an extension of the original exhibition, Collected Patterns: The botany of Walter Hill, and explores plants cultivated in the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens during Walter Hill’s curatorship, through a series of paper and textile-based works.
Walter Hill was the first curator of the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens presiding from 1855-1881. In 1859, he was appointed Colonial Botanist and contributed extensively to the development of botany, agriculture, horticulture and forest conservation during the founding years of the colony.
Hill maintained regular communications with botanical institutions worldwide and endorsed Queensland as a desirable place to live, work and invest, and as a recognized centre of botanical and horticultural interest. His promotion of agricultural enterprises such as sugar cane, tropical fruits and vineyards are most notable.
The selection of plants explored in this body of work are by no means necessarily Hill’s favourite or the ones for which he is most renowned, but have been chosen for their form, their potential for patternmaking and their artistic merits in terms of botanical studies.
Patternmaking is used in the letterpress and digital prints, and embroidered textile works to create a new visual language based on these plants. The letterpress prints were created at Myrtle Street Studio using a Heidelberg ‘Windmill Letterpress” – a style of press that was used during Walter Hill’s time – and ultimately defined the highly graphic, precise quality of the works.
The works focus on pattern, form and precise detail. Walter Hill was a fastidious professional who recorded his work in painstaking detail through annual reports and collection documents. Researching these records was invaluable in determining the overall visual aesthetic for the exhibition. Hours of research and meticulous choices in medium, materials, technical expertise and designs have sought a timeless, refined aesthetic in the artwork that is reflective of Walter Hill’s dedication.
Recollected Patterns includes all the original black and white letterpress prints, giclée prints and machine-embroideries shown in the Collected Patterns exhibition, as well as new work in colour. The show demonstrates how both botanical designs and work full of history and stories can sit equally well within the context of art, the home and fashion.
Exhibition Title: Recollected Patterns: The botany of Walter Hill
Location: Redland Art Gallery, Capalaba
Photography: Troy Hansen