Making nature: extinct Tasmanian plants

Glade-Wright, Robyn (2006) Making nature: extinct Tasmanian plants. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The capacity of art to communicate my concern regarding the extinction of plant life in Tasmania is the subject of my investigation. Extinct plants distil and foreshadow my broader concerns for the future of all living entities. The plants that are lost due to extinction are often the silent victims of our land use practices.

Making nature: Extinct Tasmanian plants, is an installation of art works that commemorate the extinction of twenty two Tasmanian plants. The art works take the form of embroidered wreaths, funeral urns and a memorial board.

My aim in creating the art work is to encourage reflection regarding the role that members of our society have played in the loss of these plants. We may unwittingly be contributing to extinction and thereby 'making nature' in the process.

Research Statement

Research Background The extensive change in land use from native forests to single species plantations in Tasmania was sufficiently perturbing to elicit a response that culminated in this artwork. The disregard for complex natural ecosystems and the portrayal of monocultures as being equal to age-old native forests, in my view, required action to provoke consideration of what was lost. Extinct plants are the silent victims of changes in land use and habitat destruction due to climate change and introduced pests. To create a piece of art that might generate contemplation of what was lost, I aimed to make beautiful renditions of plants. I used symbolic forms such as wreaths and funeral urns to link plant death with human death. This strategy aimed to generate contemplation about the loss of possible relationships between living entities when a plant is lost to extinction.
Research Contribution This artwork made a contribution to the field of visual art because it created a new vehicle for communication. Concern about the loss of Tasmanian plant species had not been rendered in this way before. The artwork used symbolic means and techniques which had not been tested previously.
Research Significance The work makes an original contribution to the climate change debate. The significance of the work is evidenced by the way in which interstate institutions selected to exhibit and tour the work.
Item ID: 19167
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

This thesis is openly accessible from the link to the University of Tasmania's institutional repository, UTAS ePrints.

Links to the related exhibition and the included artworks can be found at the links in the Related URLs field.

Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2011 01:23
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190502 Fine Arts (incl Sculpture and Painting) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950104 The Creative Arts (incl. Graphics and Craft) @ 100%
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