Patricia Piccinini: The Gardener’s Eye
Sierra Leone-born, Melbourne-based artist Patricia Piccinini has drawn acclaim for her hyperrealistic, life-size sculptures that use fibreglass, silicone and human hair to depict masses of flesh and cells, human-like figures and anthropomorphic plants. She represented Australia at the 50th Venice Biennale and is considered one of the most popular contemporary artists in the world.
Through her often unnerving, not-quite-human sculptures, she explores the interrelation between nature and humanity, and the ethics of technology. Her latest exhibition, The Gardener’s Eye, will be her 10th solo show at Paddington’s Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.
The centrepiece of the exhibition is Sapling, a work inspired by a 300-year-old red gum in the forecourt of a suburban Melbourne petrol station. Piccinini’s sister fought alongside the local Wurundjeri people to save the gum from destruction. Over its three centuries, the tree survived colonisation and the transformation of its habitat into an artificial streetscape, where it continues to produce oxygen for humans to breathe. Sapling is part-human and part-plant, a meditation on the interplay between humanity and nature.
A number of other works in other styles round out the exhibition, including Shoeforms (a fluid series that shifts between plant, machine and animal organisms) and a collection of drawings that reflect Piccinini’s fascination with birds and hair.
Piccinini will not be present at the exhibition due to Victoria’s Covid-19 restrictions.