2015 is the the international Year of Soils – so we thought we’d get into the spirit and hang out with artist Natalie Maras over the last few months to film some of her beloved soil crust organisms and the art that they have inspired. With Natalie’s Interface exhibition now kicking off we put together a little piece about her art and biological soil crusts to help promote the show.
For a bit more background on Natalie and her work with biological soil crusts there is an article currently on the CSIRO blog about her work – and this exhibition.
Update | Just popped into the Interface exhibition at the Australian National Botanic Gardens Gallery (next to the bookshop) – looking great and lots of interest already. If you want one of these unique pieces then might be a good idea get down there sooner rather than later – plenty of red dots up already!
Interface | Exhibition on biological soil crusts
Australian National Botanic Gardens Gallery
11 November- 6 December 2015
Natalie Maras, 2015 Artist in Residence at the CSIRO National Research Collections Australia, will be exhibiting sketches and sculpture inspired by biological soil crusts at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. The exhibition, which is Natalie’s first solo exhibition, is a timely and significant contribution in 2015, the International Year of Soils. It also coincides with the annual conference of the Australasian Systematic Botany Society ‘Building Our Botanical Capital’.
Whilst soil is not a usual subject for art, Natalie employs her characteristic combination of artistic and scientific literacy to illustrate the vital function that biological soil crusts perform for all life on earth. Natalie’s long-term dedication to the public interface of art and science will again be on display, buoyed by a recent Peoples Choice award in this year’s Queanbeyan City Council Regional Art Award.
The Interface exhibition will present 40 works, comprising a variety of 2D and 3D works. Visitors will discover shadow boxes filled with miniature sculptural scenes apparently lifted from the earth’s surface. Juxtaposed natural wood and detailed polymer clay work on glass will leave visitors guessing what is real and what is handmade.
Natalie will also present limited edition prints of her detailed drawings that capture highlights from her residency. The stories alone are worth a visit to this exhibition. Some stories are amusing, many are troubling and some remain mysterious.
Large original drawings that reference other famous artworks (‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch, ‘L’Origine Du Monde’ by Gustave Courbet, and ‘Found’ by Frank MCubbin) suggest a new paradigm in which scientific activities form culture directly.
Natalie’s sculptures, particularly ‘Time of the Essence’ comprised of interactive sand timers, invite visitors to participate in the same transformational journey that Natalie has travelled with soil crusts throughout the year.
The Gallery at the Australian National Botanic Gardens is open 7 days a week between 9.30am and 4.30pm. Natalie will be present in the gallery most days.