click to enlarge Jungle with Cassowary

Oil on Linen
106 x 150cm
Collection: National Museum for Women in Arts, Washington

Limited edition Giclee archival prints of this painting are available for purchase. Paper size: 42.0 x 60.0 cm

Exotic Queensland

(Extracts from speech given at the opening of the exhibition Exotic Queensland, Gallery 101 Melbourne May 2009)

These landscapes are inspired by the areas around Noosa, the Glasshouse Mountains and the Botanic Gardens in Cairns. Look at the bromeliads, those cousins of the pineapple that store pools of water in their depths. And the helliconias - they're also called lobster-claw plants and you can see why! Look at the massive scarlet tassels set against tropical green - and not just the one green but the subtlest of shades and tones in combination.

‘If there's a God, it must be there’, Says Anne of the Cairns Botanical Gardens. ‘The inventiveness and colours, the lushness and tropical exuberance and shapes. I still can't overcome this enthusiasm.’ There is an analogy with Eugene von Guérard here. Like Ann, he was born in Vienna and was also a precisely scientific observer of nature, ever mindful that the world is a thing far greater than us: that the hand of God (for want of a better word) can be found in very leaf and every grain of sand.

How much further in both place and mood could Anne possibly have travelled from the order and long humanist traditions of her childhood home in Austria? In these Queensland paintings you'll discover cockatoos, a water dragon, a fat goanna, ibises in the lotus pond, and the shy endangered cassowary almost hidden in the jungle. And look at the sky in that painting - the rosiest pink of a twilight had tells us tomorrow will be a perfect day.

Jane Clark
Senior Research Curator, Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart