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Pinnacles Gallery 31 October - 7 December 2014 PUBLISHER


Gallery Services, Townsville City Council PO Box 1268 Townsville Queensland, 4810 Australia +61 7 4727 9011


© Gallery Services, Townsville City Council and the authors 2014 EXHIBITION CURATOR


Bernadette Boscacci, Kathy Cornwall, Marion Gaemers, and Robyn Sweeney PUBLICATION DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

Eric Nash, Carly Sheil and Bernadette Boscacci COVER

Design layout: Bernadette Boscacci (including logo design, with tree designs and artwork images by all four participating artists).

Shane Fitzgerald Eric Nash Michael Pope Amber Church Rob Donaldson Jo Stacey Holly Grech-Fitzgerald Carly Sheil Alex Shapley Sarah Welch Tegan Ollett Jessica Cuddihy Danielle Berry Wendy Bainbridge Gillian Ribbins Michelle Littman Patricia Dunn Damian Cumner Rurik Henry

Manager Gallery Services Curator Exhibitions and Collection Coordinator Education and Programs Coordinator Digital Media and Exhibition Design Coordinator Team Leader Administration Gallery Services Collections Management Officer Digital Media and Exhibition Design Officer Exhibitions Officer Public Art Officer Education and Programs Officer Education and Programs Assistant Arts Officer Administration Officer Administration Officer Gallery Assistant Gallery Assistant Gallery Assistant Gallery Assistant

Details: (Clockwise from top left)

Kathy Cornwall Living Climb through Forest Floor [detail] 2013, Oil on canvas, 180 x 120cm Marion Gaemers Pod 6 [detail] 2014, Lomandra leaves, 130 x 30cm each pod Bernadette Boscacci Urda’s well - Lophostemon suaveolens 2014, Digital photographic print on paper, 100 x 75cm Robyn Sweeney Ungrounded [detail] 2014, Plant dyes and acrylic on canvas, 90 x 210cm ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Gallery Services would like to acknowledge the efforts of the Curator and Artist, Bernadette Boscacci, and fellow Artists Kathy Cornwall, Marion Gaemers, and Robyn Sweeney, as well as the contribution of Townsville City Council in realising Tree. The artists also wish to acknowledge the Gallery Services team in the assistance provided in the development of this exhibition and accompanying publication, and the contribution “to our exhibition by fellow tree lovers Melissa George (Wulgurukaba Traditional Owner) and Jann Crase (Opening Speaker)”.

bernadette boscacci, kathy cornwall, marion gaemers, and robyn sweeney

Pinnacles Gallery

31 october - 7 december 2014

A profound interest in the Tree is expressed through the works of each of the four participating artists. Whether by utilising the tree as a collaborator or conduit, they explore a tree’s growth habits or seed formation, or present forms and narratives inspired by certain tree species and their roles in mythological, cultural and ecological systems. In doing so, each artist presents their own relationship with trees within either an idiosyncratic and/or universal context. This exhibition has evolved over time. The initial proposal for Tree was developed in 2011 by Boscacci and Sweeney, who working under the collaborative moniker of Enviropairs, invited Cornwall and Gaemers to become part of the project. All four artists have been featuring trees and related themes in their works for many years.

This exhibition showcases their use of traditional and experimental processes through a variety of media, including; painting, drawing, print, weaving, sculpture, installation, photographs, sound and video works. Art generally reflects the social, political and physical environment of the day, and is an effective tool for communicating ideas, providing comment and presenting alternative perspectives. These works provide an opportunity for the viewer to consider contemporary issues relating to our natural environment, to reflect upon their own connections with nature, and in particular, trees. Bernadette Boscacci and Robyn Sweeney Enviropairs

With individual ages spanning four decades, each artist brings her experience, individual perspectives and knowledge from their own particular generation and skills set. They are all keen gardeners and nature lovers and have been involved in regeneration projects and/or environmental activism throughout their lives.

“Ancient trees are precious.There is little else on Earth that plays host to such a rich community of life within a single living organism.� Sir David Attenborough



“Trees are our living connection to the past” (unknown) Trees are potent metaphors for life, growth, reproduction, endurance, death and regeneration. In art, representations of trees recur across history, not only as symbols of life and death (inevitable parts of the cycle of nature) but they also indicate a multitude of scenarios including chaos, serenity, domesticity and wilderness. Tree forms, materials and their remains are universally used in cultural practices and rituals, and their structures inform numerous philosophical and knowledge systems. Informed by a belief that trees are fellow sentient beings that play an invaluable and enduring role in the natural and our built environments, as well as in our shared stories as humans, I reference sacred, mythological, divinatory and mortuary practices in my work. In this body of work I’ve been exploring my ancestral and current connections with certain trees, types of wood and the ecosystems in which they grow. The artworks have evolved from a decade-long (2003 – present) investigation into Eucalyptus platyphylla (Poplar Gum) woodlands that were once widespread in the Townsville dry tropics. My exploration of these now threatened

habitats and the species they sustain, has branched out to include tree species from other regions and continents, i.e. trees from temperate forests and tropical rainforests, including those frequented by my ancestors in Australia, Europe and the British Isles. Some of these tree species were introduced into our region during colonial times. I am in awe of trees’ beauty, majesty, resilience, benevolence and regenerative abilities. Simultaneously, I’m afraid for their survival, and continually disturbed by the senseless destruction of trees and their ecosystems by the human race, in the seemingly endless pursuit of land and the exploitation of its natural resources. Sadly, trees’ vulnerability on earth is ever increasing and paralleled only by regressive human beliefs and greedy practices, which will inevitably be the downfall of us all.

Only when the last tree has died
 and the last river been poisoned
 and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money
 Cree Indian Proverb


Bernadette Boscacci is an interdisciplinary artist/activist with over 25 years of professional experience in the Arts. Her formal training includes: a Diploma of Fine Arts (1994) from the National Arts School (Sydney), Bachelor of Arts Degree (2003) and Post-Graduate studies in Family and Art Therapy/ Counselling (2005) from James Cook University (Townsville). Bernadette has worked in New South Wales and Queensland as a Professional Printmaker, Independent Artist/Designer, Community Cultural Development Facilitator and Project Manager, Curator and Art Therapist. She also has a long history working in northern Queensland, including remote Cape York communities, on projects involving the arts, health, the environment and cultural heritage.

Image credits: Previous Page: Bernadette Boscacci Phyllomancy 1 Eucalyptus platyphylla [detail] 2013 Digital photographic print on paper, 30 x 30cm Above: Bernadette Boscacci Sacrificial panel - All hollows [detail] 2014 Engraved timber ply panel with linoprint, ink, oil paints and beeswax, 120 x 183cm Opposite: Bernadette Boscacci Yggdrasil’s spring -­Lophostemon suaveolens (swamp mahogany) 2014 Digital photographic print on paper, 147 x 110cm



My five paintings delve into the visual integration between the trees’ living bodies and the river system. Like naked lovers, they appear a tangle of the Earth’s elements. To me they are images of Life’s awakening and its relentless nature. Each element with its own strength maintains a balance of power along the arm of the rainforest...the trees are like a bracelet of the waterfall.

I paint to encapsulate my connection with nature, instinctively allowing fleeting thoughts of construction to float through my mind. I ponder on a concept that embraces the chaos of the universe as a kind of perfection. I integrate perspective changes throughout the series of work, allowing immersion in a greater reality. I crop to enhance intimacy. I work my paintbrush to echo the wild dance of life.

Rainforests make me feel aware. The conditions of Josephine Falls provides for mosses and lichens to mingle across a landscape of roots and boulders. The lichens appear to bloom, as speckled fairylandings. Nature’s dynamic, untamed movement is winding and free-spirited.

Forms become morphed into flowing currents, slippery secret spaces, for creatures to dwell. Line is tangled, curving, curling, measured at times; integrated and busy. Moisture is defined in the progressive depths of tone and colour emanating from hollows. Lost edges are anchored by floating marks to accentuate structure. Form disappears and reappears within pattern.

The process of painting these scenes is one of uncovering a mysterious dialogue with the world’s garden. A kind of ‘madness’ evolves, as a result of my visual interaction with the work, moving between analytical, intuitive and emotive expression, I attempt to describe the sculptural form on a two-dimensional surface.


Kathy Cornwall is a painter, interested in creating presence in form. Born in Fiji, Cornwall completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2005, the same year she became an Australian citizen. Intuitive and sensitive, Cornwall paints to create a more meaningful connection between herself and her environment. After a first visit to the Atherton Tablelands, also in 2005, a fascination for trees was awakened. The artist has now created eight series of works depicting a relationship with trees, over separate exhibitions. Cornwall also teaches fine art technique, and is interested in painting old houses, people, birds, instruments and boats.

Image credits: Previous Page: Kathy Cornwall Duality of Elements and Life in a Clasped Dance [detail] 2014 Oil on canvas, 180 x 120cm Above: Kathy Cornwall Rock Mother [detail] 2014 Oil on canvas, 120 x 180cm Opposite: Kathy Cornwall Tumble, snaking blood vessels of the rainforest [detail] 2014 Chalk pastel and oil on canvas, 120 x 180cm



In this body of work I am exploring plant growth, seed development and distribution. It is fascinating that the largest tree will grow from the smallest seed. They reproduce these seeds in the thousands, usually in a protective pod or fruit. I love the environments that are created around trees. They change the temperature, provide shade, shelter for birds and animals, and materials for me to use. It is important that urban environments have spaces for trees.

Pod 7 and Pod 8 are based on the long black pods of the Cassia fistula.

For Tree I am exploring the shapes of pods, mainly using materials that are produced by trees. Some pods are a loose interpretation of a pod found in the Townsville area.

They are woven together with raffia which comes from raffia (Raphia) palms. Coconut fibre from inside a coconut is used to make the poinciana pods. The other material I have used in Pod 6 is lomandra which is a native grass that grows at the base of trees in wet areas, helping to hold the soil together.

The poinciana (Delonix regia) pods are shapes from childhood. Large poinciana trees dropped so many of these pods that had to be collected before mowing. Pod 5 and Pod 6 are generic pod shapes. Local trees like Castanospermum australe (black bean tree) and Canarium australianum have pods and seeds similar in shape. The Canarium is a very small pod with one seed inside while the black bean pods are much larger with large multiple seeds.

The choice of material to make my pods started by wanting to use materials produced by trees. So much that is produced by trees can be woven into shapes and was used by people all over the world to make traditional baskets. I have used petioles which are leaf stalks from both poinciana and cassia trees. Both grow well in Townsville’s tropical climate.


Marion Gaemers has been making baskets for over 30 years. Her education consists of a Diploma in Fine Art, Townsville TAFE, upgraded to a Bachelor of Visual Arts, James Cook University. It is at JCU that Marion discovered art history and different ways of seeing. She went on to a Graduate Diploma in Material Anthropology where she rediscovered all the amazing traditional uses of plant material and the beauty in handmade useful objects, like bags, baskets and headdresses. Since this time Marion has been exhibiting in local and national exhibitions, teaching her skills to an assortment of commmunity groups, and continuing her education by attending national basketry gatherings. Image credits: Previous Page: Marion Gaemers Pod 8 [detail] 2014 Cassia petioles, raffia, 62 x 200cm Right: Marion Gaemers Poinciana Pods [detail] 2011 Coconut fibre, string and wire, 50 x 55cm Opposite: Marion Gaemers Pod 6 [detail] 2014 Lomandra leaves, 130 x 30cm each pod



“To be without trees would, in the most literal way, to be without our roots.” Richard Mabey, Beechcombings:The Narratives of Trees To come to this body of work for Tree, I come from a position of loss. As a self-confessed ‘solastalgic’, I pine for lost trees and bush. Everything about this body of work makes reference to loss through memory, iconoclasm, nostalgia and irony. The works are framed around some of the visual idioms of my formative years: the kitsch Faux Wood-grain paneling covering the real Baltic Pine walls of a Sydney home; Comics printed with the Ben-day Dots technique; my Grandmother’s Flow Blue transfer-ware decorated with pastoral scenes; mysterious religious icons glimpsed in the homes of childhood friends; Salvador Dali on schoolroom walls and Gothic illustrations in an odd collection of hand-me-down childhood reading matter. My ‘full of the wonder of nature’ childhood paved the way for environmentalist sympathies. I have witnessed extraordinary change since my 1950s childhood, with the spread of cities, industries and settlements taking over places once described as ‘the bush’.

For all that progress gives us, it is a double-edged sword, which causes an unpleasant disturbance when I see abuse of our dwindling natural environment. Even with quantifiable scientific proof, Environmentalism is often dismissed as hysterical Leftism or quasi-religious hocus-pocus, however; indications that our planet is one complex organism are being discovered through scientific research. One such finding is the transmission of information from one tree to another by way of fungi conduits. I am both supported by communication on environmental issues with others through information exchange on the Internet and equally challenged to accept opposing opinions. This causes anxiety, which could be eased by ‘logging off’ but I can’t ignore being frequently confronted with damage by vandalism to my local environment. So when I feel a bout of solastalgia coming on, I go find a nice tree and give it a big hug.


Prior to completing a Bachelor Creative Arts in 1988 at Wollongong University, Robyn attended TAFE Fine Arts after engaging in extensive studies of 18th century Decorative Finishes and Design. She subsequently developed a commercial practice providing a Design and Conservation Consultancy and Service and her work was featured in various Architectural and Design Magazines during the 1980s and 1990s. Robyn relocated to Queensland in 1997 and has participated in various exhibitions, workshops and community arts projects. Image credits: Previous Page: Robyn Sweeney Holy Mother of a tree gets the Judas Kiss [detail] 2014 Acrylic, schlagmetal and paint pen on canvas, 40 x120cm Right: Robyn Sweeney Ungrounded [detail] 2014 Plant dyes and acrylic on canvas, 90 x 210cm Opposite: Robyn Sweeney Ich habe kein Herz aus Holz (I don’t have a wooden heart) [detail] 2014 Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 90 x 90cm



Ro b y n S w e e n e y: Artists’ Web Pages associated links:


Bernadette Boscacci

Kathy Cornwall

Enviropairs - Robyn Sweeney and Bernadette Boscacci

Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare Inc.


Pinnacles Gallery 31 October - 7 December 2014 Bernadette Boscacci, Kathy Cornwall, Marion Gaemers, and Robyn Sweeney A profound interest...