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Collecting The World: Nature In Museums, Gardens and Art

Ellison, Rachel, Art, College of Fine Arts, UNSW


  • Title:
    Collecting The World: Nature In Museums, Gardens and Art
  • Author/Creator: Ellison, Rachel, Art, College of Fine Arts, UNSW
  • Subjects: Collecting; Nature
  • Resource type: Thesis
  • Type of thesis: Masters
  • Date: 2011
  • Awarding institution: University of New South Wales. Art
  • Description: My work explores the dynamic relationship between human representations of nature and the natural world. This investigation through the artwork The Perfect Specimen has as its scope a critique of the wholesale collection of nature and its presentation in museums of Natural History as this practice has evolved over the last two hundred years of European colonisation and industrialisation. This research has a particular focus on this history in an Australian context. The work examines these histories of collection in light of the global phenomena of extinction and concludes with a discussion of how contemporary museums of Natural History are responding to these environmental concerns. The artwork Resemblances explores a number of narratives that have come to be enmeshed in Western representations of nature over time. Individual works within this collection are titled, Field Guide, Fossil, Flower Arrangement, Blue Rose and Acanthus. These objects explore concepts of naturalism and empirical observation, social hierarchies and ideologies aligned with concepts of ‘objective truths’ in nature, floriculture, plant cultivation, genetic engineering, symbols and decorative uses of nature. The paper concludes with a discussion of the art practices of Brandon Ballengee, Jason Decaires-Taylor, Ken Yonetani and Fiona Hall.
  • Language: English
  • Rights:;
  • Print Availability: CT/2010/517 (Ask at Level 2 Help Zone, UNSW Library)

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