Saturday 17 November 2012

Hermes-Aphrodite: botanical art in Melbourne

Detail from 'Mentiroso'  (119 x 84 cm)
On Thursday evening it was a great pleasure and privilege to be able to be at the opening of an exhibition of new botanical art by my friend John Pastoriza-Pinol. Twenty pieces are on display at the Nellie Castan Gallery in Melbourne, until 15 December, under  the exhibition title Hermes- Aphrodite. In the notes to the show, John writes 'Works in this exhibition present as a very obvious   'androgynous' metaphor which emphasises social factors, interpersonal relations, and other cultural influences of sexual identity through the balance of male/female parts in the subject's reproductive morphology.'

Metaphors aside, the prominence of stamens and stigmas is not unduly emphasised in this series of outstanding botanical paintings. Some of the paintings are gigantic (119 x 84 cm) - vastly larger than any botanical watercolour I have ever seen - but retaining all the detail and quality one expects in true botanical art: these are not Georgia O'Keeffe style representations, though the effect is often nearly as dramatic. The rest of the show is more traditional in size, featuring a diversity of flowers and fruits, beautifully depicted. With art currently also on display at the Melbourne botanic garden, and in an exhibition of three hundred years of Australian botanical art in Ballarat, JPP is gaining due recognition as an exceptional botanical artist.

Guests admiring 'Lost Love' and 'Mentirosa'

A glorious portrait of Meconopsis, entitled 'Felix Subpoena'


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