Floribunda was originally conceived by Judy as a collection of drawings inspired by native and introduced plants growing in the bush, urban gardens and nurseries in the greater Adelaide region. Judy is particularly attracted to the more unusual shapes and textures of these plants, carefully observing and documenting their emergence and eventual turnover. She uses a slow process of detailed mark making with graphite and coloured pencil on paper to interpret the beauty of the overall form and colour as well as the detailed structure of the plants. She seeks to discover and represent the universal appeal of these amazing works of nature in her larger than life-size drawings, encouraging others to look more closely and make discoveries of their own.
The poems in Floribunda were written by Ian in response to Judy’s drawings, their titles, and meanings hidden within the formal Latin titles of the plants: gardneri, after the curator of the Western Australian Herbarium, Charles Austin Gardner; the “bearded” Isopogon; stoechas, referring to the Mediterranean islands where Jason and the Argonauts rested while returning home with the Golden Fleece; officinalis, from a monastic storeroom; Telopea, “visible from afar”. The Type Descriptions allude to the protocols of naming new species. The Field Notes imagine an expedition into unknown, dangerous country, the explorers struggling with the environment and themselves in equal measure. The verse form is mostly based on the iambic pentameter, a five-beat line structure traditionally used for epic narratives.
Here is the text for the image on this page:
coloured pencil and graphite on paper, 57 x 57 cm.
– Broad-leaved Drumstick –
Supernovae, gyred to earth,
one constellation at a time,
an exhilarating dance aligned with body pulse.
We were not troubled much with appearances:
length of beard, moustachio, the curlicue of
forelock or fringe. In this labyrinthine chasm,
we harboured the irreducible apprehension,
that the ether itself writhed with probing tentacles,
contorted with asthenic twine, sensitive to the
slightest touch, hair-triggered, primed to grip and
encoil, to sting and paralyse and dissolve. We
equipped to bridle escape, clench inure against
febrile entanglement, fey chance of infinitely
knotted stasis. If sunshine tipped our foundations
awry, we would bask in youth, absorb ephemeral
scintre, share luxuriant camaraderie. We could
indeed imagine life well beyond our means.
Ian and Judy made a video for the exhibition in which Judy discusses her approach to drawing. You can watch it here.