Remembering Forward

Devils Ivy at Metro Arts

Curated by Sarah Thompson

with artworks by; Jordan Azcune, Christopher Bassi, Merinda Davies, Sophie Penkethman-Young, Jo Grant & Kai Wasikowski

Within the social context of the pandemic, which created an increased collective focus on the home and garden as an expression of identity, this exhibition looks at our desire to feel kinship with the natural world.

Artists in the exhibition address how plants are owned, displayed, cultivated, and related to by contemporary culture. They examine our personal relationships with plants and how these pursuits serve aesthetic and symbolic functions beyond their ecological value. This includes the use of plants as artistic material, their objectification and commercialisation, their use as an experiential encounter with ‘nature’, and their cultivation as a form of cultural resilience.

Remembering Forward, 2022
Soil, seeds, spores, microbes, besser brick, sound recordings.
Seeds collected in West End, Meanjin, April 2022.

Devils Ivy

Remembering Forward, 2022
Soil, seeds, spores, microbes, besser brick, sound recordings

Merinda Davies’ Conversations with the Forest is an ambitious long-term project seeking to establish a micro-forest within the dense urban setting of Surfers Paradise, on Kombumerri land, Yugambeh language region. Described by the artist as a “living, breathing, growing artwork”, the project coalesces through archival and field research, experiential events and conversations, and a constant cultivation of seedlings that are both material and collaborator in this experimental public art project.

Remembering Forward, 2022 is a site-specific installation drawing on various strands of this broader ongoing project. Seeds collected by the artist in West End are embedded in the installation, creating a stylised version of Davies’ studio turned plant nursery. A sound work developed from field recordings draws on research into the complex electronic communication methods of plants, providing a vibrational stimulation as the seedlings grow.

Often engaging participatory elements in her work, here Davies invites the viewer to take a packet of seeds and begin a relationship of interspecies care and responsibility by planting it in their neighbourhood. To quote David George Haskell, author of The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature's Great Connectors

“Survival increases when saplings are embedded within the human social network. A tree planted by its human neighbours will live longer than one placed by an anonymous contractor. A street tree that is granted personhood and membership, one that is noticed, loved and given identity and history, lives longer than a municipal object arriving with no context and living with no collaborators”

Photos by Kyle Weise