Awareness of Between-ness: Reproducing the Remarkable Trees of France and Australia

Louise Fowler-Smith and Miho Watanabe
EXHIBITION  RUNS
   
March
   
29
 -  
April
   
9
“How we perceive and contemplate the land affects how we treat the land. If we see the land as separate from ourselves we are less likely to honour and respect it.” – Louise Fowler-Smith

INFORMATION

This exhibition is situated under the theme of human relations with the natural environment, with a focus on trees. Both artists use illumination to draw attention to the Tree as an essential living form to humanities’ survival by honouring significant historical trees in France or finding nature’s strength in Sydney’s local street trees. The exhibition hopes to begin to bring an awareness of the invisible connection, or ‘between-ness’ between Trees and humanity.

 

Eco artist, Louise Fowler-Smith presents some examples from her upcoming exhibition at the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle (MNHN) in France as a result of invitations from L’Association A.R.B.R.E. (the association for Trees in France), MNHN and the Palace of Versailles to record the ‘Remarkable Trees’ of Paris and Versailles using her specific technique of veneration through illumination. In her project, trees are perceived as iconic sentinels that are symbolic witnesses to narratives and histories, representative of permanence and continuance. It engages conceptually and innovatively with visual interpretations surrounding arboreal imagery and in Versailles, with important historical traditions enacted by Marie–Antoinette, who, noteworthy to this project, would illuminate the trees for her guests at night. Louise is interested in the relationship between perception and cognition.

“How we perceive and contemplate the land affects how we treat the land. If we see the land as separate from ourselves we are less likely to honour and respect it.” – Louise Fowler-Smith

 

Miho Watanabe’s focus on an  ‘awareness of between-ness’ aims to make visible  the invisible subject of  ‘between-ness’ – the space between the subject and the object. Her practice of visualising ‘between-ness’ involves becoming aware of the aesthetic in nature: in this instance the street trees of Sydney. She has had an appreciation for these trees since moving to Australia from Japan. Via her Japanese heritage she has witnessed the beauty of  street trees through the lens of the bonsai aesthetic, revealing the power and strength of nature to Miho and enabling her to find the ‘between-ness’ between herself and the trees. This has led to an awareness of the importance of nature to life in the city.

“Between-ness is reciprocal energy, which I believe flows in between a subject and myself.” - Miho Watanabe

Both Louise and Miho are members of the Tree Veneration Society (https://treevenerationsociety.com/) which aims to re-contextualise the historical practice of the sacredness and veneration of trees across nearly all cultures into progressive contemporary community art projects. While being environmentally conscious of the value of trees, particularly in our environmnetally challenged world, they also hope to bring some sense of the ritual created in forming a cross-cultural celebration of nature.

Bio

Louise Fowler-Smith  

Artist & Honorary Senior Lecturer, UNSW Art & Design.

As an eco-artist Louise aims to promote new, experimental ways of perceiving the land in the 21st century. She believes that how we perceive and contemplate the land effects how we respond to the land. Her work investigates Anthropocene extinction, environmental justice and climate adaptation and rests at the intersection between the aesthetic approach to art and the ethical.

For the past 20 years her practice-led research has focused on the veneration of trees, a subject she was drawn to for the magnitude of their environmental significance and their universal, pan-religious symbolic importance. She has researched the significance of ‘the Tree’ historically, culturally, symbolically, politically, scientifically and how perceptual shifts through imaging and disseminating the images can activate change and contribute to creating new insights into environmental issues.

Her artistic work to date has focused on Trees in Australia, India, Japan, Italy and France – as can be seen in her website http://www.louisefowlersmith.com/

After traveling across the majority of India over the past 10 years, she has written a book that illustrates and explains the practice of decorating the Tree as an act of veneration or worship, and how this practice protects trees from loggers. Her article Hindu Tree Veneration as a Mode of Environmental Encounter was published in Leonardo - The Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology - Volume 42, Number 1. Her book, Adorned and Adored: India’s Sacred Trees should be published soon.

 

Miho Watanabe

Miho Watanabe has been living in Sydney for nearly half of her life, and her Japanese/Australian Diaspora condition focuses on awareness of between-ness, which is reciprocal energy that she believes flows in between a subject and herself. She started to study PhD in visual arts at Australian National University, and her research aims to create this flow of invisible energy, making it visible and to depict the transitions of visible to invisible to create the sense of between-ness. As a Japanese/Australian diaspora artist, she experiments with the real and non-real while researching the nature of identity when one is between cultures. As a professional commercial/editorial photographer for more than decade, she uses the medium of photography as a form of memory and utilises painting as a connective vehicle between ‘reality’ and the concealed ‘unreal’. And subtle light drawing will reach out into space where also ‘between-ness’ situated in between her work and viewer. Miho’s mixed media approach has allowed her to explore and examine the concept of ‘between-ness’ and attempts to create the tension between an ‘invisible’ subject

This exhibition is situated under the theme of human relations with the natural environment, with a focus on trees. Both artists use illumination to draw attention to the Tree as an essential living form to humanities’ survival by honouring significant historical trees in France or finding nature’s strength in Sydney’s local street trees. The exhibition hopes to begin to bring an awareness of the invisible connection, or ‘between-ness’ between Trees and humanity.

 

Eco artist, Louise Fowler-Smith presents some examples from her upcoming exhibition at the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle (MNHN) in France as a result of invitations from L’Association A.R.B.R.E. (the association for Trees in France), MNHN and the Palace of Versailles to record the ‘Remarkable Trees’ of Paris and Versailles using her specific technique of veneration through illumination. In her project, trees are perceived as iconic sentinels that are symbolic witnesses to narratives and histories, representative of permanence and continuance. It engages conceptually and innovatively with visual interpretations surrounding arboreal imagery and in Versailles, with important historical traditions enacted by Marie–Antoinette, who, noteworthy to this project, would illuminate the trees for her guests at night. Louise is interested in the relationship between perception and cognition.

“How we perceive and contemplate the land affects how we treat the land. If we see the land as separate from ourselves we are less likely to honour and respect it.” – Louise Fowler-Smith

 

Miho Watanabe’s focus on an  ‘awareness of between-ness’ aims to make visible  the invisible subject of  ‘between-ness’ – the space between the subject and the object. Her practice of visualising ‘between-ness’ involves becoming aware of the aesthetic in nature: in this instance the street trees of Sydney. She has had an appreciation for these trees since moving to Australia from Japan. Via her Japanese heritage she has witnessed the beauty of  street trees through the lens of the bonsai aesthetic, revealing the power and strength of nature to Miho and enabling her to find the ‘between-ness’ between herself and the trees. This has led to an awareness of the importance of nature to life in the city.

“Between-ness is reciprocal energy, which I believe flows in between a subject and myself.” - Miho Watanabe

Both Louise and Miho are members of the Tree Veneration Society (https://treevenerationsociety.com/) which aims to re-contextualise the historical practice of the sacredness and veneration of trees across nearly all cultures into progressive contemporary community art projects. While being environmentally conscious of the value of trees, particularly in our environmnetally challenged world, they also hope to bring some sense of the ritual created in forming a cross-cultural celebration of nature.

Bio

Louise Fowler-Smith  

Artist & Honorary Senior Lecturer, UNSW Art & Design.

As an eco-artist Louise aims to promote new, experimental ways of perceiving the land in the 21st century. She believes that how we perceive and contemplate the land effects how we respond to the land. Her work investigates Anthropocene extinction, environmental justice and climate adaptation and rests at the intersection between the aesthetic approach to art and the ethical.

For the past 20 years her practice-led research has focused on the veneration of trees, a subject she was drawn to for the magnitude of their environmental significance and their universal, pan-religious symbolic importance. She has researched the significance of ‘the Tree’ historically, culturally, symbolically, politically, scientifically and how perceptual shifts through imaging and disseminating the images can activate change and contribute to creating new insights into environmental issues.

Her artistic work to date has focused on Trees in Australia, India, Japan, Italy and France – as can be seen in her website http://www.louisefowlersmith.com/

After traveling across the majority of India over the past 10 years, she has written a book that illustrates and explains the practice of decorating the Tree as an act of veneration or worship, and how this practice protects trees from loggers. Her article Hindu Tree Veneration as a Mode of Environmental Encounter was published in Leonardo - The Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology - Volume 42, Number 1. Her book, Adorned and Adored: India’s Sacred Trees should be published soon.

 

Miho Watanabe

Miho Watanabe has been living in Sydney for nearly half of her life, and her Japanese/Australian Diaspora condition focuses on awareness of between-ness, which is reciprocal energy that she believes flows in between a subject and herself. She started to study PhD in visual arts at Australian National University, and her research aims to create this flow of invisible energy, making it visible and to depict the transitions of visible to invisible to create the sense of between-ness. As a Japanese/Australian diaspora artist, she experiments with the real and non-real while researching the nature of identity when one is between cultures. As a professional commercial/editorial photographer for more than decade, she uses the medium of photography as a form of memory and utilises painting as a connective vehicle between ‘reality’ and the concealed ‘unreal’. And subtle light drawing will reach out into space where also ‘between-ness’ situated in between her work and viewer. Miho’s mixed media approach has allowed her to explore and examine the concept of ‘between-ness’ and attempts to create the tension between an ‘invisible’ subject

FEATURED  WORKS

Miho Wanatabe, Awareness of Between-ness: Street Tree like Bonsai 1, 2017, mixed media, 76 x 96 cm
Miho Watanabe, Awareness of Between-ness: Street Tree like Bonsai 2, 2017, mixed media, 76 x 96 cm
Louise Fowler-Smith, Murier blanc de Pericles, 2018, Photograph shot on film, 108 x 90 cm.
Louise Fowler-Smith, Trio de Pins, Chevreloup, 2018, photograph shot on film, 108 x 126 cm
Louise Fowler-Smith, Salix Babylonica_abritant le Temple de l'Armour, 2018, photograph shot on film, 108 x 112 cm.

OTHER  EXHIBITIONS