Coevolved

Kangaroo Island artist Janine Mackintosh is my friend (declaration of interest right up front).

We all have friends for various reasons, often because we just ‘get on’. But sometimes people’s beliefs, passions and actions add depth and substance to a friendship. That’s how I think of Janine.

Coevolved Kangaroo Island Narrow-leaved Mallee (Eucalyptus cneorifolia) leaves (patterned by lerp insects), linen thread and bookbinder's gum on canvas 105 x 105 cm framed
Coevolved
Kangaroo Island Narrow-leaved Mallee (Eucalyptus cneorifolia) leaves (patterned by lerp insects), linen thread and bookbinder’s gum on canvas
105 x 105 cm framed

She is s true environmentalist (definitely my type of person) who lives a full life while being circumspect in the retail, waste and travel sectors. She’s a knowledgeable advocate for biodiversity retention and owns a Heritage property of woodland, heathlands and wetlands that is the source and inspiration for her art.

And she is an artist of power and originality.

At Janine’s current exhibition (complemented by the works of Peter Syndicas) at Hill Smith Gallery in Adelaide, her signature mandalas and other enormous assemblages sit beautifully with samplers – biodiversity versions of the embroidery exercises of previous centuries.

All the pieces, in Janine’s words “highlight the complex connections that exist between coevolved species in this swathe of ecological antiquity”.

The exhibition was opened last Wednesday by Art Gallery of South Australia’s ball of energy, and curator of the next Biennial of Australian Art, Lisa Slade.

Lisa Slade (l) and Janine Mackintosh discuss Witness, a mandala of Banksia ornata leaves
Lisa Slade (l) and Janine Mackintosh discuss Witness, a mandala of Banksia ornata leaves (photo Scott Hartshorne)

For more photos of the opening see Hill Smith Gallery’s Facebook page

Sales have been exceptional – almost everything is sold. I wonder what that says in a world where art has not been selling in the past year or so, and where ‘environment’ doesn’t feature as a priority in recent polls.

Perhaps its the combination of the two. When an artistic sensibility demonstrates the necessity of biodiversity to our survival.

And they are just stunning.

The exhibition continues until 13 December 2014.

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