I am deeply fascinated by Tasmania’s native orchid species. Often described by environmentalists as the canary in the coalmine, the orchid’s symbiotic relationship with both fungi and the pollinators they attract, can be the first indication of the health of the environment where they grow.
Orchids have long been associated with femininity and themes of beauty and opulence. However, part of their allure is their alien and bizarre nature and appearances. Orchids are some of the oldest flowering plants on the planet, during this time they have developed some of the most complex and curious methods to attract pollinators. Orchids of the genus Bulbophyllum produce a smell which resembles rotting meat in order to attract flies and wasps. Other genus resemble the anatomy of female insects to attract male pollinators.
There are over 190 species in Tasmania, 60 of which are endemic. Many are endangered and incredibly hard to find.
Whilst observing and drawing various orchids I have found them to be incredibly figurative in many ways. Much of their structure, colours and textures are reminiscent of the body. This has urged me to consider the distinction that exists between the figure and the landscape. Most of my practice has been rooted in depicting the figure and exploring the body however, my fascination with orchids in Tasmania has encouraged me to explore how landscape and the body are so incredibly intertwined; we consume the environment, and the environment consumes us. ‘The Hunt’ is a love letter to this intriguing plant, it’s spellbinding capabilities and the ongoing hunt to find them.
Water colour, gouache and archival pen on paper (framed)