Tuesday, September 19, 2017

'Networked....' is a text-based artwork that simultaneously explores notions of loss and discovery...

'Networked' by donna davis will be installed @ Noosa Woods during Floating Land from 23 September - 2 October 2017.
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Species loss is a reality; we are living in an age when large numbers of plants and animals are at risk of becoming extinct, with human intervention being the leading cause.
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We are globally networked into the virtual ecology of instant connections and information; however we often feel overwhelmed by ecological issues and feel disconnected or somehow separate from the environment. 
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The work creates a series of text which lists all the documented extinct flora, fungi and fauna species from Queensland.  The text appears to grow out from the base of the tree to form a root-like structure on the ground beneath the canopy.
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Whilst the text acts to form a sense of loss and remembrance of 'what once was'; the aesthetic of the root structure reminds us of the living networks beneath the surface that sustain life above ground.  With many species within these groups yet to be described or even discovered.....
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We often forget that we are intrinsically connected ..... networked into the living ecological system known as Planet Earth!  And we all play a role in its collective well-being.

This work is accompanied by an audio track.
video
Click the link above to listen to the audio whilst viewing '
Networked' at Floating Lands @ Noosa Woods.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

'Floating Land' ephemeral installation @ Noosa Woods: 23 Sept - 2 Oct 2017


 I feel very honoured to have been selected as one of this year's 'Floating Land' festival artists to create my ephemeral work entitled 'Networked', see Floating Land 2017 Program for more information.
Concept image, courtesy of the artist.

Artwork statement: Networked by donna davis

Species loss is a reality; we are living in an age when large numbers of plants and animals are at risk of becoming extinct, with human intervention being the leading cause. Over consumption of natural resources, pollution, excess waste, habitat clearing and disregard for our footprint on the planet seems to be the legacy that humans will leave.

One estimate states that between 50 and 100 species around the world are going extinct each day’ (Edward O. Wilson, 1992).

Today we are living in a world of instant connections with information and virtual networks at our fingertips.   We are immersed in a realm of digital text and images to keep us globally connected and informed.  Statistics of climate change and extinction events is one which can make us feel overwhelmed; and whilst virtual connections are all around us, we often feel disconnected and overwhelmed with ecological issues.

We can sometimes forget that we are intrinsically connected to another network, the Biosphere: a dynamic living entity. For instance, whilst you are reading this statement, beneath you there are complex living networks of interconnected microorganisms, hyphae, roots, minerals and invertebrates all working together to create an ecological balance for life above the surface; in fact many species within these groups have yet to be described or even discovered.

'Networked' focuses on these two juxtaposed ideas; loss and discovery, mourning and hope. The installation features hand formed white clay to create text; taking ‘text’ off the screen and into the environment.  The text lists all the documented extinct flora, fungi and fauna species in Queensland and appears to grow out from the base of a tree to form a root like structure on the ground beneath the canopy.  Whilst the text acts to form a sense of loss and remembrance of ‘what once was’; the aesthetic of the root-like structure references the living networks beneath the surface that sustain life above ground, in order to evoke notions of hope and optimism.

By highlighting intricate and beautiful living ecological systems using loss and memory as a catalyst I hope to reveal a new sense of connectedness and understanding of our role within the biosphere; empowering the viewers to believe that they ‘can’ make a positive difference through both thought and action.

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How work responds to the theme: Lost & Found


The work plays with the context of ‘text/ing’; here I am taking the ‘text’ out of the virtual realm (off screen) and placing it directly into the environment.  The ‘text’ acts as a familiar conduit to allow viewers to reconnect and engage both visually and intellectually with the environment and ecological issues; through duality of meaning. 

The work simultanelously references loss and discovery; mourning and hope.

Whilst a sense of loss is felt once the extinct species are revealed, the viewer is also made aware of the life beneath them and in front of them as a fluid and dynamic ecology of life – much of which is still to be discovered; which, inturn gives hope and optimism for the future.  Changing our own negative interventions into positive ones is something we can all do to nurture our environment into the future. 
 

The current Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation 2006, Queensland, 12 May 2017, includes listings of extinct and endangered flora and fauna for Queensland.  The report lists 33 extinct species for our state, these include: 22 plant species, 3 amphibian species, 1 bird species, and 7 mammal species.  The report also identifies 296 species as having endangered status, these include: 221 plant species, 13 amphibian species, 25 bird species, 6 invertebrate species, 4 fish species, 15 mammal species, and 12 reptile species.

Relatively little is known or understood about fungi, algae, insects and invertebrate animals; in fact many species within these groups have yet to be described or even discovered.  Interestingly, ‘These least understood minions are the foundation of the living world’ says Edward O. Wilson.[1]


[1] The Global Solution to Extinction’, The New York Times, online, 12 March 2016.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Where Art & Science Collide 23 August 2017

Upcoming Event:  Where Art & Science Collide is set to be an evening of art, science and drinks at the Ecosciences Precinct!

Hosted by the Australian Science Communicators, SEQ Branch, "The evening begins with drinks and canapes and time to view the sixth Art meets Science Exhibition. Then you can kick back, relax and listen to our panel of artists and scientists discuss where art and science collide." 

'UnEarthed (Boletus)', 2017, donna davis, pigment print onto fine art rag. Image courtesy of the artist.

 

'Art Meets Science' exhibition currently on at Ecosciences Precinct until 8 September 2017

'Untitled (Purga Study 1)', 2017, donna davis, digital print onto transparent acrylic. Image courtesy of the artist.
The annual 'Art Meets Science' exhibition is once again on the Ecosciences precinct, Dutton Park.  The exhibition was officially opened Monday 14 August and will run until 8 September, see Art Meets Science - Exhibition information

This work explores the ecological narrative of the Purga Nature Reserve; home to an isolated population of the endangered Melaleuca irbyana species.  This unique ecological system is home to diverse range of interconnecting networks to maintain and create balance.  This creative representation highlights just some of the diverse and sublime natural elements of the site.  The work references a stained glass window to reinforce the idea of constructing a narrative through the act of looking. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Residency at SLQ 'The Edge'


Image of first trial laser cutting my design into 3mm Plywood. Image courtesy of the artist.

Winning the ‘The Edge Digital Art Award’ as part of the Queensland Regional Art Awards meant that I could undertake a one-week residency at ‘The Edge’ State Library of Queensland.  I had previously undertaken some short courses at ‘The Edge’ so knew that this residency would present some valuable opportunities and skill development for me as an artist.  Once the residency dates were set I began researching equipment, programs and projects that ‘The Edge’ had to offer.  I was spoilt for choice, however as a multi-discipline artist decided that working in the Lab and learning how to use the Laser Cutter and the 3D printers was of most interest to my arts practice.

I am intrigued with the idea of connection, and work across a range of media including sculpture, installation and digital media to explore networks and relationships within the natural world. My most recent body of work, ‘Unseen’, explores symbiotic connections between plants and fungi, so I used this project as a muse for creating and trialling new works during my residency at ‘The Edge’. 

My first day in the Lab involved inductions on the Laser Cuter and 3D printer, and also a tour of the facility.  Then, thanks to the wonderful team at ‘The Edge’, began to learn new skills in Adobe Illustrator, and Corel Draw in order to design works that could be processed by the laser cutter.  Whilst I am quite familiar with Adobe Photoshop, I found Adobe Illustrator quite challenging, but persisted and was able to create a few designs, based on fungal root systems, which were then etched and cut using the laser cutter. 

I also trialled a number of materials in the laser cutter to explore creative possibilities; these materials included acrylic, cardboard, plywood and vinyl.  All produced very different results, however, the works that were most successful for my practice was the acrylic etchings and the intricate plywood design cut-outs.   I spent many hours cutting and etching to create a series of multiples that could then be incorporated into new works once back in the studio, these are still in development.

Overall, the residency provided me with valuable skill and professional development, allowing me to understand the capabilities and limitations of this type of equipment and opportunities available to do further work at ‘The Edge’ through their public Lab program.

For more information about my work visit: www.donnadavisartist.weebly.com

ABOVE & BELOW: Images of smaller plywood cutouts (multiples) and etched acrylic. Images courtesy of the artist.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Exhibition Installation Images






Installation images from the recent showing of my new 'Unseen' exhibition at the Richard Randall Studio, Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens.  Thank you to Andrea Higgins for taking these wonderful photographs of the exhibition.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

'Unseen' exhibition to be launched at Richard Randall Studio



I have been busily working away in the studio creating artworks for this upcoming exhibition, designed as a touring exhibition and to be launched at the Richard Randall Studio, Mt Coot-tha.  Exhibition will open 22 March and run until 26 March 2016.

Public Programs will include:

1. Artist Talks daily @ 11am
2. Scientist Talk (Nigel Fechner, QH) @ 3pm Sunday 26 March
3. Opens days at the Queensland Herbarium to view specimens from the collection, that form part of the research side of the 'Unseen' project :  10am -2pm on Saturday 25 + Sunday 26 March.