Flowers are a fascinating subject matter to many of us. Fragile, interesting, simple and sophisticated. At a glance, especially a very close up one, you can become inspired by their beauty and become captivated by their fantastic variety of forms and colours - that are almost surreal! There is a lovely sense of freedom and anticipation in my process and the way I shoot flowers. I collect and prepare several posies in vases and spend some time putting them together into very small bunches in very small vases! I contrast certain colours and forms that compliment one another and might look good up close. I use a macro lens and extension tubes to intimately document the textures and tones of the delicious and intriguing floral materials and to create interesting micro landscapes. There is usually good music playing in my earphones to help take me away...or put me into flow! I don't have much of an idea of what my images will look like or what forms or compositions will be made but I follow and trust the process and believe in the outcome. It is divine to see what comes out of it as I look through the images later in Photoshop. At other times I like to photograph dried petals and flowers in water. I tend to leave them for days and really enjoy observing their exquisite change over time. They are always a celebration of the beauty, strangeness, diversity and brevity of life.
Penny Contemporary Solo Show, June 2019.
The Temple of Flora
Artists Statement for the show:
This body of work extends the pleasure of close botanical observation into an imaginary paradise we all can enter.
The audience is invited to explore the luscious and colourful flower, up close. Intimately photographed with natural light, shallow depth of field and macro lens abstraction, the floral scenes are ephemeral, sensuous and painterly.
The title 'Temple of Flora' is derived from the great flower book by visionary creator Robert John Thornton, in 1807. Full of picturesque botanical plates, it consists of a series of sumptuous depictions of flowers notable for their epic and unusual settings.
The Flower That Smiles Today (Mutability)
Percy Shelley (1792-1822)
Romantic Poet Shelley writes about the brevity of all things.
'The flower that smiles today
All that we wish to stay
Tempts and then flies.
What is this world’s delight?
Lightning that mocks the night,
Brief even as bright.
Virtue, how frail it is!
Friendship how rare!
Love, how it sells poor bliss
For proud despair!
But we, though soon they fall,
Survive their joy, and all
Which ours we call.
Whilst skies are blue and bright,
Whilst flowers are gay,
Whilst eyes that change ere night
Make glad the day;
Whilst yet the calm hours creep,
Dream thou—and from thy sleep
Then wake to weep.
‘The Flower That Smiles Today’, in summary, is a poem about the brevity of all things – all hopes, desires, and delights the world has to offer are short-lived and doomed to die. Everything is fleeting and transitory.'
Dr Oliver Tearle
PAST THEIR PRIME – A CELEBRATION
A Poem to compliment my 2015 exhibition called Past their Prime, Entrepôt Gallery, University of Tasmania.
PAST THEIR PRIME – A CELEBRATION
Passing light through.
Reveals my experience.
Cycles I have lived.
Celebrating my existence.
Elucidate the clarity
Of texture and of membrane.
Dance in my form.
Look into me, to remember.
Turn in a circle.
I change. I evolve.
Revel in my colours.
Vibrancies to behold.
I disintegrate and change.
My surface transformed by time.
Depth and layers bestow.
Knowledge and wisdom now mine.