Vicki Mason and Alice Whish present new jewellery resulting from a joint Art Residency in Bundanon, NSW in 2018. Embedded in the works are ideas that interrogate how plants have the capacity to connect us to place to reveal something of the genius loci or the spirit of that place.
The isolated location of Arthur Boyd’s bushland property in Bundanon and the research the artists undertook into the area’s flora reveals much about the property itself and the surrounding landscape. Each artist pinpoints different perspectives that are explored to tell the stories about the plants, people and landscape. What is revealed are universal stories concerning how plants help us understand nature and the world.
Mason’s work investigates ideas about keeping plant knowledge alive at a time when plant literacy is declining. Through digging into the stories and connections people have with select plants of the property, plants are labelled and become known and loved. Tim Entwisle, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, states, ‘naming plants is part of our cultural story telling’ and it is this story telling ability that underpins Mason’s new works.
Whish’s work is influenced by her deep respect for the beliefs and values surrounding the Aboriginal practice of burning bushland to regenerate plants. At Bundanon the Mudjingaalbarraga (fire group) explained how the appropriate and timely use of fire has significant positive effects on the Australian bushland. Her interests focus on plants that regenerate after a fire and the differences individuals experience walking through the bush and how they navigate this environment, prior to and following a fire.