Shared Reckonings: Catherine Truman at the Museum of Economic Botany

Santos Museum of Economic Botany and The Deadhouse, Adelaide Botanic Gardens.
24 February – Sunday 2 May, 2021

In Shared Reckonings, renowned South Australian artist, Catherine Truman, explores the impact of light on human vision and the growth of plants. The exhibition combines thermoplastics and photo-luminescent powders with exquisite, thought-provoking results. Catherine’s work, which is presented as part of the Adelaide Festival, was created following two concurrent residencies at the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, and the Flinders Centre for Ophthalmology at Flinders University. It was influenced by powerful themes: the catastrophic bushfires that swept the country last summer, climate change-induced biodiversity loss, and the global pandemic.

I’ve been fortunate to have worked with Catherine for nearly 15 years now on a wide range of projects. For Shared Reckonings, we collaborated on a series of videos which are part of the exhibition. I also wrote a piece for the exhibition catalogue.

“What can we do when surrounded by fire, when the atmosphere on which we depend is choked with smoke and replicating particles, not quite dead, not quite alive, that have the potential to destroy our very ability to take another breath? … This show arises from time spent at the bench, in laboratories, amongst materials and machines and the people who understand them. This is slow time, unhurried and patient, a diffusible fluid upon which we are invited float, following tides of her inspiration and insight, borne by the ebb and flow of her discovery.” [from Sharing Catharine Truman, my essay in the catalogue].

Click here to read a detailed and insightful review of the exhibition by Anne Brennan in ArtLink.