Presented by Salamanca Arts Centre.
Launceston-based emerging artist Samantha Dennis presents a new series of sculptural works as a ‘cabinet of curiosities’;
examining the bizarre and innate beauty of both the natural world and western traditions of taxonomy.
“The term ‘Naturalia’ is used to describe the collecting and presentation of wonders from the natural world, as housed in a ‘wunderkammer’ or cabinet of curiosities.
As an artist I am equally fascinated by the living world around us, and how western society has sought to interpret and classify nature. I am attracted to archaic methods of taxonomy, and am particularly drawn to the elaborate 18th century practices of naturalists; whose scientific illustrations would magnify the decorative qualities of botanical and biological forms with a surreal perfection. Morphology and taxonomy have remained central themes throughout my artistic process, and I often draw reference to the biophilia hypothesis in both my individual works and approach to display; aiming to recreate the visceral human desire to affiliate with or understand other forms of life. By appropriating these themes, I draw on the shared experience of awe and wonder found in old-world museums; where the models, illustrations and taxidermy allow one to experience the natural world in a dislocated, uncanny intimacy.
I have been privileged to have been granted access to the archives and collections of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery whilst developing this new body of work, and with the support of Arts Tasmania this has resulted in new and experimental approaches being taken in my studio. Whilst my practice remains anchored in the materials and processes of the jeweller and ceramicist, this body of work blurs the borders of what was a defined dualistic practice; adopting a far more conceptual and sculptural format. These works, presented as intimate and unique collections, aim to draw attention to the peculiarities and splendour of natural history; questioning the organic and the artificial alongside the innate and the implied, and highlighting the beautiful but bizarre way we are instinctually compelled to classify and organise the world around us.”
– Samantha Dennis
Friday 5 – Sunday 28 April 2019
Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm / Saturdays 10:00am – 2:00pm / Sundays CLOSED
Friday 5 April 2019 @ 6:00pm
Saturday 27 April 2019 @ 11:30am