Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In the Studio this March

This blurred close up above of the work "Sophora Tomentosa" below accidently conveys  a feeling of movement and a certain lushness of form and colour. Often one deletes such images but it was hard to not enjoy the effect of this one. I had been reworking this last week having started it last year and decided to feature the one seed pod form for its seductive visual appeal. Sophora Tomentosa is also known as Silver Bush and Sea Coast Laburnum. Each bean contains 2 to 10 brown seeds - its found in litoral rainforest, beachfronts, mangrove edges from Torres Strait Islands to Port Maquarie in NSW.
Typically what occurs when doing concentrated sessions in the studio is to have various works around the room on the go -small and large. Never one to conceive of an idea and work it through to completion in a straight line - its much more productive and preferable I find to be ready to invite in the unexpected, the new thought or intuition of a way to take something further. This involves risk as it is not about replicating what one sees or holding to well worn formulas and practiced results. To see more of what is evolving visit the Studio Archives weblog.

Below is an image created from a 20 cm x 20 cm work repeated 4 times with slight colour variation. The focus on seed pods and capsules viewed in cross sections led to a rather abstract result that doesn't seem at all pod like a first glance - but is actually a different viewpoint, reduced to its simplest outline. Borrowing from and spending time in the Botanic Gardens Library, devouring many approaches to botanical subjects has led me to be completely awed by the magnificence of skill and beauty in the work of scientific botanical artists over past centuries. 
My aim is in an entirely different direction - to give the hidden, easily most neglected part of the botanical world a new appraisal in ways that 'shake the eyes awake' if thats at all possible and engage an audience to reflect a little longer than usual on this remarkable realm that in the past was revered for its critical link in the survival of humans and today is commonly overlooked, if not plain disregarded, as being of any value.
While we unfortunately collectively weren't looking the Transnational companies reached out and disrupted seed heritages going back hundreds, even thousands of years. Can a seed be copyrighted? Yes ... indeed it can be and the figures on this are startling. Is it illegal to save one's own seeds? Yes indeed - in certain places. Its timely we look at and think far more about this. We are fortunate to have local and global intiatives doing something on our behalf ... however ... it is our awareness and involvement,  plus our  u n d e r s t a n d i n g  a n d       v a l u i n g  of  the  s e e d  that ensure the reach and effectiveness of these concerned citizens and initiatives.


Bettina said...

Sophie, I hardly need to read anything else - your blog is so comprehensive and always beautifully illustrated with your work, I do love the way you have embraced the great stories seeds have to tell and a great way of incorporating life- science, history and art to engage a wide audience through your own discoveries - it all sounds such an adventure! Congratulations

sophie munns said...

Dear Bettina,

Thankyou for posting this thoughtful comment tonight!
It interesting that most days when I encounter someone at the moment - and not just during time spent in the Gardens - there is a story that emerges around seeds. I could be posting on the blog fairly constantly in order to document half the interesting discoveries!

The past 2 weeks further time in the Seed lab getting seeds ready for Kew Gardens MSB project has further saturated me in story and background knowledge!

Ancient cultures were gathering seeds and learning about cultivating them....and here we still are today working with this same life-giving matter.

Your warm message is much appreciated!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...