Penelope Aitken, Nearshore, 2016, oil on board, dimensions variable
Exhibited in The Botanic Garden, 20 April - 18 May 2016

The Botanic Garden     
An homage to botanic gardens:  local and international, real and imagined
Penelope Aitken, Atticus Bastow, Sarah Edwards, Anne Middleton &  Andrew Seward
The Botanic Garden pays homage to the work of the scientific and artistic community who are dedicated to the collection, cultivation and display of a wide range of plants. 
Five artists respond to the work of botanic gardens in personal, unique and creative ways that bring voice to the role botanic gardens play in the ongoing protection and survival of our green inheritance.
Penelope Aitken has created a personal cosmos using Hormosira banksii – a seaweed indigenous to Port Phillip Bay. 
The work considers early botanists and a moment in time when every southern plant must have seemed as intriguing to those urbane men of letters as it remains today for every child. Her installation of exquisitely rendered paintings brings light to an overlooked aspect of the City's local underwater sandbelt garden.
Atticus Bastow has sampled water from this underwater garden and presents it in vials for conceptual analysis. 
An accompanying soundscape transforms this underwater world that we can experience through listening.
Inspired by St Kilda's Botanic Gardens in Blessington Street, Sarah Edwards has crafted 72 acetate tags etched with the names of the Garden's representative indigenous plants that were once endemic to the local landscape. 
The tags also acknowledge the work of Carl Linnaeus, father of the binomial naming system that is used to name the natural world.
Anne Middleton depicts blooms from her Spring-time walks around the local area amongst which birds from the zoological gardens in London are nestled. 
These real and imagined couplings introduce us to a mythological world that is impervious to the perils of time, a place that can only be attained through Anne's exceptionally detailed and botanically accurate paintings.
Andrew Seward has bound 3 folios of nature prints that he has created from the leaves he collected in Botanic Gardens from various parts of the world. 
The collecting and printing of the leaves provided Andrew with a unique method to represent and understand place.
Sarah Edwards wishes to acknowledge the financial support from RMIT University where she is undertaking a PhD in the School of Art.