In Our Nature

March 9, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE | 0 Comments |

Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide Botanic Gardens, March 2018

With the mosquito-like turbines of ‘Supercars‘ ringing in our ears, The Varnished Culture sought solace in the Gardens, and found this temple of unguents and ointments, a showcase for the interaction twixt people and plants, open for once.

This was to exhibit a series of highly-stylised photographs by Tamara Dean, but first, we took-in the rather Belle Époque interior of the Museum, with its wonderful ceiling and the busts of several of the great botanists (Banks, Humboldt) lit atop various display cabinets.

It was worth a visit for the magic mushrooms alone…

It’s an apothecary’s paradise, with oils and tonics and toxins and bits and bobs collected from all over Australia’s brown, unpleasant land:

Norwegian wood was about the only thing missing…

Tamara Dean was born in Sydney in 1976.  Her series of photos, ‘In Our Nature’, portray unclad humans cavorting in the open, but captured with taste and discretion – see main image, and below:

We quote from the high-falutin programme, in case it is of interest:

I delve into the informal rites of passage that young people seek out in nature and create symbolic images and experiences which aim to bridge the separateness that we as humans create between us and nature.” (This from the Artist), and “With this series, Dean reveals the relationship between the human form and nature – symbiotic and sometimes ‘phytomorphic’.” (The Curator).  And there we were, believing the human form a part of nature – Sorry Rubens!  Too bad, Michelangelo.  Never mind, Alexandros

We particularly liked this work – it insinuated itself, vaguely at first, and then with reverberations, as a companion landscape to the Dead Marshes in The Lord of the Rings – one resisted the temptation to stare for too long.  Breath well-held, fellas.

It’s the type of environment where one would expect to see Gollum, sorry we mean Frog Man…

‘Frog Man’ by Jean Joseph Carrieres 1892, Art Institute, Chicago


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