Plant + Human

Plant + Human

Steven Cavanagh | Liss Fenwick | Phillip George | Hayley Millar-Baker | Polixeni Papapetrou | Pony Express | Merri Randell | Diana Scherer | Erica Seccombe

For many, the intimate connection between humans and the botanical has been assumed, overlooked or not considered. For others, plants are revered and appreciated through the filter of cultural beliefs and practices. The artists in this exhibition approach their vegetal subjects with intensity, exploring both our historical and contemporary entanglements with ecology. With biophilic intent, their works encourage an intuitive response to the current urban malaise of ‘plant blindness’ and stimulate in us a biospheric consciousness.

Plant + Human communicates the power-plays of this interspecies relationship. It posits the greener genera as sentient beings, with the ability to pre-empt and respond to changes in the environment. In turn, plants affect responses in us. From edible foliage to old growth forests, our wellbeing is dependent upon ingesting, being wrapped in, or surrounded by, rooted organic matter. While agriculture and genetic modifications indicate our advantage, equally they reinforce the essentialness of plants to our survival.

Over the course of human history, this dependency has become entwined in our knowledge, culture and creativity. The politics of place, plants and human habitation is tangible in our naming of locations to reflect the proliferation of certain species. As a cultural symbol of life and death, beauty and abundance, vegetation is manifest in our architecture, design and personal names. Flora has become fundamental to our collective and individual identity and trained our understanding of the world.

Allison Holland

Exhibition Details
ACP Project Space Gallery, 15 February – 27 April 2019

This learning resource for teachers, parents and students is closely aligned with the Australian Curriculum in the following areas:

  • The Arts: Drama, Dance, Media Arts, Music, Visual Arts
  • English: Literature
  • Humanities and Social Science: History, Geography, Civic and Citizenship, ATSI Histories and Culture
  • Science: Earth and Environmental Science, Biology

Installation view of Plant + Human 2019. Courtesy of ACP and Michael Waite
Erica Seccombe, Purity in form #1, Safe return #2 & Fixed pleasure #3, from Permutations series, 2018. Courtesy of the artist
Liss Fenwick, Christmas tree in a church, Newcastle Waters, Northern Territory  2016. Courtesy of the artist
Polixeni Papapetrou, Rhodora, 2016. Courtesy of the artist’s estate and Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney
Merri Randell, Still from Touching the Mauri, 2019

Explore the Project