The works for Inland follow the impulse for botanical exploration which I began in the project, Voyages Botanical.
When I first saw the Eileen Ramsay collection of botanical specimens at the Mildura Arts Centre, I was inspired to create new works to celebrate Ramsay’s important contribution to Australian botany.
I was struck by the fragile beauty of Eileen’s specimen folio, held together with pink ribbon, and the care she had taken in assembling such a large collection.
With the help of local plant enthusiasts, Marion and Peter Lang, I went in search of the plants that I hoped might still be growing in the Murray River region.
Working from Eileen’s plant list, Marion and Peter helped me identify many of these plants still growing in their natural environment.
I felt as if we were following in Eileen Ramsay’s footsteps as we drove around the river flats, finding matches with her specimens and field notes.
It seemed appropriate to use the cyanotype process to document our findings. This process, originally used by Anna Atkins in the 1840s for botanical illustration, seemed the perfect way to combine the new with the old.
The ghost images of the plants against the blue background seemed to express something of a forgotten past brought into the focus of the present under the big blue dome of the sky.