Mother v. Daughter.
Britain v. France:
A contemporary look at 19th Century explorations of Tasmania
“The idea for this exhibition was sparked during a conversation with my mother about two exhibitions I had seen in London, The Bauer Brothers: Masters of Scientific Illustration at the Natural History Museum and Artist and Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past at Tate Britain. I was drawn to these exhibitions because both held images of and from Australia and the artwork connected me to home. I began to think about the significance and legacy of the work displayed and why they were made. What was the significance of these images when they were executed? And what is their significance today?
The work I have made for this exhibition references fictions created in early 19th century European portrait painting and the scientific studies made during British and French expeditions to Tasmania of the same period. I have constructed and combined images to recreate new portraits that explore new sets of narratives.”
– Stephanie Theobald
“After talking to Stephanie about the exhibitions which had so inspired her in London, I saw the wonderful Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery 2017 exhibition celebrating the work of the artists who accompanied the French explorer Baudin during his 1800-1804 expedition to New Holland (now Australia). I was so fascinated by this exhibition that I bought Christine Cornell’s English translation of Baudin’s Journal.
In the journal Baudin talks about the swans, cockatoos, noisy miners, oyster catchers and the little fish now known as the Spotted Handfish which is the subject of current studies in Hobart. Many of these were drawn and painted by Lesueur and Petit, two expedition artists whose works were in the TMAG show.
I was engrossed by the story that was emerging about this expedition, and so the creatures described became the subject of linocuts, printed onto the clay of the dinnerware I made, and glazed with transparent ambers, blues and greens reminiscent of the sands, skies and sea that Baudin wrote about. I has been an exciting voyage.”
– Bronwyn Theobald