… everything in nature is resurrection. Voltaire (1694-1778)
Ogród represents Renata Buziak’s personal and global garden – across the earth, in terms of nature and culture, we share far more than we differ. Buziak came to Australia from Poland in 1991, escaping turbulent times in Europe. Now resident in Australia for more than half her life, her aesthetic interests as a photographer have drawn on her migrant status and see her work literally embedded in the local landscape.
A lifelong interest in nature has allowed her to explore the parallels and differences in the minutiae of plant life between her two countries. Working with a process-driven technique described as biochromes, combining old and new photographic methods, plants are left to break down over some weeks, decaying onto and into, staining and marking photographic paper, before they are digitised as images. The decay of the natural world, captured in the image, ensnares time, a concept central to the work. “The images look familiar, but decay isn’t experienced in nature in this way.” These images convey the conceptual depths, a series of narratives, and other worldly insights drawn out of the organic matter from which they evolve.
This exhibition includes recent works made from plants found in Buziak’s garden in Bardon and other coastal species she has encountered through research into medicinal plants on Stradbroke Island. As a child in Poland she lived close to the Janowski Forest, a place known for its biodiversity. The contrasts and similarities between plants she was familiar with in Poland and those on Stradbroke Island, an area to which Buziak has been drawn since her early years in Brisbane, give substance to her images.
A recent extension from photographs into time-lapse moving image works has allowed the inexorable decay that is part of the biochrome process to be filmed and accelerated. This narrative of the microscopic becomes a journey, an abstracted and imaginary mind-scape shared with her audience. Whether static or dynamic, Buziak’s work is a mediation between science and art. Its painterly qualities see beginnings in the natural world extend into an emotional migration between the physical and the imaginary.
The images speak to darkness and mystery invisible to the naked eye. Sesuvium…portulacastrum…antioxidant…, for example, includes identifiable leaves that lie within a landscape of detritus, a surface of reflective whiteness juxtaposed with colour and captured movement that teases out the possibility of other realities.
Gazania Linearies II offers intensity expressed with colour, translucent orange speaking to the depths of process. Summer Night features star-like explosions that traverse the sky in yellows and intense reds, above a horizon that we may read as grass, ocean or a spirit dance.
Buziak’s works capture a timely mediation into the invisible, crucial processes that underpin life, and expose the universal essences – of nature, humanity, decay, and resurrection.
Written by Louise Martin – Chew