Drawn to a cabinet of curiosities

I resonate closely with the words of Georgia O’Keefe when she said: “I have used these things to say what is to me the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it” ~ Jennifer Keeler-Milne.

First presented by the Glasshouse Regional Gallery, Port Macquarie, curated by Niomi Sands, Drawn to a cabinet of curiousities is to open at The Santos Museum of Economic Botany in Adelaide this Sunday 9 April. The exhibition of more than a hundred charcoal drawing of natural specimens embraces the detail of their organic forms, marvelling in their beauty.

This movement from Regional Gallery to an Economic Botany Museum is a great example of the cross-disciplinary range of imaginations that Keeler-Milne has sparked through her ephemeral drawings of nature.

Indeed it is the idea of ‘wonder’ that Keeler-Milne pays homage to, presenting an intimate collection of the natural world through a series of charcoal drawings. As the title suggests the exhibition plays with our curiosity, the careful selection, arrangement and depiction of each object creates a sense of symbolic mystery throughout. And the careful play with tone imbues a ghostly effect upon these objects, evoking their ethereal qualities.

On a practical note she notes, “The drawings fall into 3 subject categories: specimens from the ground, the sea and the air. These categories of ground, sea and air contain drawings of rocks, gemstones, nests, urchins, sponges, moths and feathers. Seeking to create an internal taxonomy, each set is different in subject and scale. These drawings are created using the sparest of materials: black willow charcoal on textured French paper.”

However, by embracing the mysticism of a cabinet of curiosities, Keeler-Milne aims to reveal the preciousness of these natural objects, stating, “Beauty and mystery are repeated themes which are intertwined in my artistic practice. Creating and exhibiting drawings of organic forms not only documents and celebrates them as part of our natural world but also inherently brings awareness to their fragility and vulnerability in a climate of threat and change.”

Fragile and delicate, be drawn into the world of Keeler-Milne – where everything is laced with an air of other worldliness.

Drawn to a cabinet of curiosities | Jennifer Keeler-Milne

9 April – 9 July 2017
The Santos Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide Botanic garden

Courtesy the artist and the Glasshouse Regional Gallery, Port Macquarie. 

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