Thursday, October 3, 2013

QRAA - Living Change 2014 touring exhibition

I have just found out that my work Leaves of Change has been selected as part of the "Living Change" touring exhibition, curated by Tim Morrell.  

Leaves of Change (DETAIL), 2013, donna davis 
Mixed media: copper wire, reclaimed timber, Perspex, nails, circuit boards, 35x25x20cm
Photo by Greg Harm

Leaves of Change: Endangered SEQ flora
(G.gonoclada, M.irbyana, P.eerwah, N.ipsviciensis, P.habrophyllus)

Plants are the living life support system for our planet, however we are losing species at an alarming rate.

Leaves of Change represents five endangered plants, depicting the intricate leaf structure of each species through coiling copper wire around nails embedded into circuit boards; a technique to reference energy production. 

With the ability to gather and create their own energy for survival, plants play a vital role for the health of our planet and in turn, our daily lives; providing intrinsic elements such as water filtration, air quality, climate control, food production, medicinal needs and shelter.  

It is estimated, however, that one in every five plants are vulnerable to extinction, with human activities such as urbanisation, mining and logging threatening their survival.

Portraying plants as living powerhouses, this work invites the viewer to consider the ecological implication of species loss: a ‘living change’ happening in our lifetime, in our communities.

donna davis

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Battle of the species: Lantana vs Melaleuca irbyana

'Battle of the species', 2013, donna davis, digital stop frame animation. Image courtesy of the artist.

The invasive weed Lantana camara (Lantana) is an environmental issue, thriving in the Australian landscape growing, replicating and spreading with voracious fervor: engulfing and destroying our native flora in its path. 

Plants such as the Melaleuca irbyana (Swamp Tea-tree), currently listed as endangered, are vulnerable to many threats including, urbanization, mining and grazing, however weed invasion by Lantana camara is considered to be a major threat.

This work depicts the struggle that occurs beneath the surface: comparing the root growth of these two species.  The multiple thick and fast growing roots of the Lantana allows it to spread rapidy, quickly engulfing understory plants and young saplings such as the Melaleuca irbyana which lay in its path.

The digital animation was developed based on micropropagation trials by the artist (growing plants in test tubes) over a 12 week period, the images depicted show the comparison of root growth between the two species.

The work invites the viewer to reflect on the delicate balance of the natural world and the inherent ecological consequences when this balance is altered.  

Image courtesy of donna davis.

 DETAIL view of Lantana root. Photo: donna davis
DETAIL view of Melaleuca irbyana root. Photo: donna davis

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Microscopy Works

Photo credit: donna davis

As part of The Plant Room project I am exploring the microscopic world of each of the five endangered plants.  The image above is of a flower from the Notelaea ipsviciensis (Cooneana Olive) at x400 magnification.

I am in the process of creating a projection work - using microscopic images of each flower from the five species.  I hope to project the work onto the outside of the planetarium building in the gardens later in the year.  As you can see these micro worlds are reminiscent of the beautiful nebulas we see in space - such an awe inspiring view into the hidden life of plants. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Swamp Tea-Tree @ Purga Nature Reserve

As part of my Plant Room Project research, I went to visit the Purga Nature Refuge this morning - to read more about my visit click on the "PLANT ROOM PROJECT" tab to the left.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Visit to the Australian National Herbarium

Photo credit: donna davis

I recently visited the Australian National Herbarium in Canberra to search their collection for the five endangered species in my Plant Room project.  To see more from my visit click onto the "Plant Room Project" tab.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Work acquired by Ipswich Art Gallery

Photo credit: donna davis
One of the first works to come from my "Plant Room" project is this work Untitled (Plant study), a work based on  the Plectranthus habrophyllus species.  This work begins to explore the energy that plants create, functioning as living powerhouses for the planet.

The work recently won "Best of Show" at the Ipswich Art Awards, and was also acquired by the Ipswich Art Gallery, for the City of Ipswich Collection.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Plant Cloning

Photo credit: donna davis
One of the research components of the "Plant Room" project explores plant cloning: a method that can create many plants from the tissue of just one plant, producing exact copies of the host plant.  An accepted technique in the commercial world: this exploration considers the ecological implications of plant cloning in a world where many flora species are on the decline.

I have been conducting cloning trials (aka micropropagation) on one of the species which I am lucky enough to have growing in my back yard: Melaleuca irbyana (Swamp Tea-tree).   The images above show the progress of the Melaleuca irbyana it was very slow in getting started, however, is well on its way now!

As part of my residency - research aspect - I have arranged to spend a day with the horticultural staff in the gardens to learn more about propagation techniques, processes and protocols.

Residency Update: Learning how to prepare dry specimens at the Herbarium

Last Tuesday saw me working with staff at the Queensland Herbarium, learning the process of mounting dry specimens.  This was an invaluable experience learning about where the specimens come from, how they should be presented, what they are used for and how they are catalogued and stored.

Photo credit: donna davis
Being surrounded by such passionate herbarium staff was wonderful, sharing their knowledge on many botanical topics - which will be very helpful for my "Plant Room" project.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Plant Room update

Plant Room project update

This artistic research project explores the decline of flora of South East Queensland with a particular focus on the Ipswich area: examining five native plants to the area which are currently listed as Endangered.

In order to find out more about endangered plants I met with staff from the Queensland Herbarium who provided a list of endangered plants from South East Queensland region.

I then began research to establish which plants on the list were located in the Ipswich and surrounding areas.  I decided to select (5) five plant species to become the focus of my artworks for The Plant Room project.

The five endangered species I decided to select for the project are:

1.  Plectranthus habrophyllus
2.  Notelaea ipsviciensis (Cooneana Olive)
3.  Planchonella eerwah (Shiny leaved condoo, Black plum, Wild Apple)
4.  Gossia gonoclada (Angle-stemmed myrtle)
5.  Melaleuca irbyana (Swamp tea-tree)

I am now into my third month at the Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens artist in residence and have undertaken both research and conceptual trials to develop works for the Plant Room project.  For more information on the progression of the project please click on the "Plant Room" tab on the left side bar under the title "Artworks and Projects".

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Plant Room Project 2013

I have been selected as the Artist-in-Residence at the Mount Cootha Botanic Gardens for 2013.

My residency will allow me to research and conceptually develop a new body of work entitled The Plant Room: Nature's powerhouse.

Thanks to a Regional Arts Development Fund grant the body of work created during my residency will explore the unique, rare and endangered flora of South East Queensland (SEQ) with a particular focus on the Ipswich area; examining the decline of native flora species and exploring environmental and social conditions, which negatively impact our native ecosystems.

For more information on this project please click on the side tab "The Plant Room Project".