Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Homage to the Seed residency show at Herbarium, Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha

The Herbarium at Mt Coot-tha was the setting for the December exhibition of the residency artwork in 'homage to the seed'.

book published for final residency show

The book contained material from across the year ... covering the role of the seed lab and the collaboration with Jason Halford from the lab.... as well as touching on various other aspects of public engagement carried out during the project. There was an overview on the ideas and passion behind the project going back many years and material was also included on the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity that  'homage to the seed' did in part respond to.  Journal pages as well as artworks were included in this book along with an essay written by Kevin Wilson, director of Artworkers Alliance (see end of post for essay).

The following piece is an overview of painting in 2010 during the residency written for the book.

'fossil seeds'  70 x 80 cm  acrylic and pigmented ink on canvas

fossil seeds  25 x 25 cm,  pigmented ink on muslin on linen

'eucalyptus seed capsules'  40 x 40 cm - acrylic and ink on linen

seedpod of the Leopard tree - Caeslalpinia ferrea
40 x 40 cm  - acrylic, pigmented ink and iron oxide on linen

'And the world became fruitful'  90 x 120 cm, pigmented ink and acrylic paint on linen

'And the world became bright'    90 x 120 cm  - acrylic on linen

correction - 90 cm x 90 cm 

'continuum'  90 x 90 cm  - acrylic, iron oxide and pastel grounds

'infinite'  70 x 80 cm - acrylic, pigmented ink and iron oxide on linen

'archaic, yet reverberating still'   1 m sq, acrylic and pigmented ink on linen

archaic, yet reverberating still'  1m sq, acrylic and pigmented ink on linen

'from the nothing the abundance'  90 x 120 cm - acrylic and pigmented ink on canvas

Essay written by Kevin Wilson on the exhibition.

Friday, November 12, 2010


The current focus at my studio is on preparations for the upcoming show to be held at the Herbarium on the grounds of Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha.

Visit the website to read more on this and also the Homage to the seed blog will contain posts closer to the event. Click on image below to read larger version. Email if you have enquiries... and if you can make it please do come along and say hello!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

what's happening in the studio this month....

Its been a particularly focused time in the studio of late. Ideas are being worked with for the final exhibition of the residency year at Brisbane Botanic Gardens.  There are 2 strands to this work - small mostly representational works from the interactions with the Garden's Seed Lab and research..... and a series of larger works that are poetically inspired abstract ruminations on the importance of our global seed inheritance.

new postcard

in the home studio

recent work: untitled - 45 cm x 45 cm, acrylic and ink
on linen and canvas (collaged)

new work: as yet 'untitled'...working with the concept of seeds across Millennnia,
ink and acrylic on canvas

working with iron oxide pigment, ink and acrylic on canvas

read more here!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Early September I launched a new website after finding a suitable template that allows for updates to be made with great ease. This website has an excellent slideshow viewing facility and uploads quickly and efficiently. I will continue to add material here at this weblog as well as at the easily navigated website.

Click here: Welcome to the website!

Recent images:

          from the Homage to the Seed journal...

recent journal entry - drawing of nasturtium seeds from the garden

from the studio

Illawarra flame tree seedpod - acrylic and ink on canvas

from a trip to Melbourne...

At recent Victoria University Alumni exhibition - 2 works in background

Saturday, August 28, 2010

MID 2010: Open Studio Week at Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha

A whole month in June/July was taken up with planning and conducting a key artist-in-residence undertaking at Mt Coot-tha. The Richard Randall studio was the venue for a 7 day event that has been documented at both my artist weblog and residency blog in numerous posts.
The week showcased artwork produced for the year to date, with a collection of seeds and pods, a blogosphere mail-art show designed to promote the event and topic of seed conservation,  workshops,  information and promotion of materials related to seed conservation and awareness and 2 days of public dialogue events. 

The Randall Studio


A communal table (pictured above) with mini cafe was set up as a meeting place to promote engagement with the residency material. Visitors to the Botanic Gardens came from both interstate and overseas as well as the local region.  Much promotion brought many participants - particularly for the dialogue events. The Mail-Art show also drew quite a number who had read about it via the global blogosphere which had most fortunately picked up the project and further promoted it on my behalf.

The 'Homage to the Seed' proposal undertaken this year has involved several strands of activity and interaction which were successfully demonstrated during this week of public engagement.

The foundation for the Botanic Gardens experience has been involvement in the Seed Lab at Mt Coot-tha so it was excellent to be able to include a presentation by Jason Halford on the work of the 'Seeds for life' Project which is running in conjunction with the Millennium Seed bank Project in the UK. Jason's excellent presentation spelt out the complex nature of the work being done, from the research of where in Queensland seeds are collected and why, to the methods of collecting and documenting as they go, to the work done at the lab on return  - cleaning seeds and preparing them to be sent to the Kew Garden's Seed Bank in the UK....whilst storing seeds locally as well.

Jason Halford presenting on Seeds for Life/MSB project

The final event - Dialogue on Seeds, Biodiversity and Sustainability - involved 2 key speakers and several brief presentations which broadened the Homage to the Seed discussion into a range of topics that included urban food growing, food security, loss of habitat for industry (mining) and development, land regeneration (esp after mining), and school gardening programs.

Sally McCreath, Nicki Laws (Darling Downs - Farms not Mines advocacy) and Chruschill Fellow (2009) Corinne Unger. (Regeneration of Mining sites -Soil and Land Regeneration)

The most rewarding outcome of the week was observing the keen public engagement ... seeing that the comprehensive range of seed related material being showcased did in fact allow people to find a way in to consider more fully the broad spectrum of issues and aspects of our global Seed Heritage.

Carolyn Nuttall - Founder in 1992 of Edible Gardens in Schools in Brisbane region. Her book is published in various languages and still widely used.

Read more here: You've got mail! and here at Hot off the press.

The Mail art show:

Seeds on display

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The new Studio Residency - August till January.

IN JUNE when taking part in a group show at Percolator Gallery in Paddington I was offered the opportunity to take up residency in a studio below the gallery from around August through to the end of the year. Helena Lloyd, the gallery owner, had heard an artist talk I presented previous to this and was interested in the work being carried out for the Homage to the Seed project... having already considered offering the 'studio residency' format for the purpose of fostering an artist's project that had a social/political/community dimension to it of value to her way of thinking. 

Being approached by Helena with this offer was indeed both timely and fortuitous as the work I was doing was only getting more complex, busy, and the space for working I had at home, 30 minutes form the gardens, was insufficient to say the least. In February when commencing as Artist-in-residence at the Botanic Gardens my information of the availability of a studio space had turned out to be incorrect. I was aware of the fact there was no funding for the residency but in contrast the studio situation had been omitted from the application material allowing me to assume that my source for knowing of a studio was correct.

Being very much a studio based artist for many years working with a variety of research material of all kinds is quite the foundation of my art practice. Undertaking a particular residency project that connects with the seed lab, library, stories, people as well as literally seeds and pods did strike me as a critical challenge when not able to access an actual studio on the grounds where not only space but the capacity to be on site in a regular way - rain, hail or shine was a given.

The images of the Percolator studio below were taken today after the intial phase of setting up some work areas - the agenda for today!

The white support column in the photos above block the view of the double doors which open out onto a wide verandah that looks over the garden and view of surrounding houses, streets and across the city a short way. The generous spaces and storage areas, the views, the deck and the fact a breeze will be accessible on the hot days make this the perfect studio for the 5 months remaining of the Botanic Gardens residency.

With the Gardens less than 10 minutes away its going to be quite a simple task to set up painting for the day - go across to the gardens to check in on any number of things there... and back again to keep painting. The studio and gallery is very well-located...a short bus-ride to the city and close to chops, bookstores and cafes. years ago I day dreamed of spending some time in this area... so today setting up and getting the paints out was a great event!

Seeds, pods and various things I like to have on hand are shelved near where I can set up a desk. I have made a point to put up a whole series of works on paper at the moment from several years ago mostly so that I can go back over these ideas and dwell with them for awhile...

Below: large paintings needing my contemplation

I shall no doubt be adding many photos to these few added here tonight.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Opening night of upcoming show: June 18 - 10 ARTISTS - 10 DAYS

This group show in the inaugural exhibition of Brisbane Artists Development Co-operative - hence the title B.A.D. Exposed. 10 artists will show work over 10 days in the eclectic hub of inner-Brisbane suburb Paddington. Percolator Gallery is a rental art gallery in the heart of the gallery precinct in Paddington and showcases contemporary art by emerging and established artists.

In preparation for the upcoming show I have been working on a series of oval paintings which I posted about here recently.

Rainforest fruits cross-sections

Tonight I put together the artist statement and revised the CV for the show. Artist Statements are a very useful means to review the current thinking and ideas surrounding the work. It takes time and even as I completed the statement I was still checking a word here and there.  Tomorrow it might be a sentence here and there. Sometimes one just has to stop and go directly to bed. Enough. I'm looking forward to this show as I have not fully met all the other artists even thought we are all associated with this local Brisbane Artist's group. There has been a group of 4 women who have done a fabulous job of pulling it all together. Its been a wonderfully well organised show and he momentum has been pleasant and indeed rewarding.  


‘Despite its primitive smallness, a seed is an energy centre charged to the highest degree. It comprises ineluctable 
impulses that will give rise to entirely different and highly characteristic forms. Each seed is a spin-off of a certain species 
and a talisman for the regeneration of that species’ 
        Paul Klee 
The animating life force present in all living things has always been a central focus in my artwork. 
Coinciding with the International Year of Biodiversity I am conducting a 12 month Artist-in-residence project 
titled “Homage to the Seed” at Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha which is highlighting the 
extraordinary diversity and vulnerability of the world’s seed heritage through celebrating what is on our 
doorstep in S.E.Qld and beyond. 
This current body of work for this show exposes cross-sections of seed capsules from Queensland rainforest 
fruits as well as other species, employing oval canvases which seemingly mimic the pod and seed forms. 
The subject matter correlates to and is contained by this shape: egg - seed...the biological connection is 
strong. Time spent in the Seed Lab at Mt Coot-tha - which operates in conjunction with the UK based 
Millennium Seed Bank Project - leads to rewarding opportunities for research, dialogue and drawing 
sessions that feed back into the art work I am creating this year. The variety of rainforest fruit capsules hint 
at the remarkable multiplicity of species to be found in these unique habitats - species that are often under 
threat despite the increasing knowledge of the importance, on so many fronts, of this heritage. 
A perennial interest in Micro-Macro worlds is present in these oval works. A seed may be tiny, but its life 
force is not! The intimation of worlds within worlds and the human place in that is something I am deeply 
concerned with...starting with the acknowledgment that we are but one part of a profoundly immense  
universe, the need to consider our humble place in the scheme of things and look carefully at what we bring 
to life, that which is our shared heritage, and what we leave when we go. 

about | the artist 
Growing up on the Clarence River at Grafton in the 60’s and 70’s sensitised me to the spirit of place that 
exists to be found ... and felt ... on the land, in natural environs, amongst the rock pools, by riverbanks 
and creek-beds, swimming, in the bush, wandering, observing, climbing, around tall trees, collecting seed 
pods, noticing wildlife. All this, plus a strong love of the ocean and other bodies of water, and the 
influence of an intense music education with immersion in a love of playing piano somehow seeped into 
my visual responses over time. Never long without a pencil or brush in hand its nevertheless been a slow 
and winding journey to discover the themes of greatest resonance for me as an artist over many years. 
This slow, circuitous track involved countless physical relocations, travel and new experiences, risks and 
opportunities that promoted rich learnings and led to a gradual opening to the essential meanings for 
myself in all this. 
This year’s project allows for a merging of multifarious threads of interest into something at once complex 
but singular in nature - with an evident feeling of wholeness to it. In celebrating biodiversity perhaps I am 
also celebrating that concept as a cultural and lived experience that runs parallel in a well-lived life. In the 
same way we are recognising global wealth is not sustainable in isolation from the whole...perhaps it 
could be argued that neither can personal or community enrichment and well-being exist without a level 
of engagement in a more complex and multi-dimensional understanding of our world as it is now. 
Contained within the oval is the hint of the multitudinousness of species....the seed is at once motif and 
metaphor and here is a glimpse into an aspect of the larger project - paying  ‘homage to the seed’! 

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About Me

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Blogging for me is an extension of keeping a journal which I have done in various forms over the decades. The difference being this is not a closed book! I like that it offers an opportunity to explore that which concerns me as an artist and as an individual about living and participating in this vastly complex, unquestionably exciting yet unnerving time in human history. Through the blog I hope to increase the possibilties for cross-pollination which I believe can strengthen the sense of being part of something both personal and universal that is vital, expansive and refreshing.