Floras of Gondwanan Heritage

Renata Buziak_Beaudesert_Launch
Renata Buziak Beaudesert Launch

By Carol Schwarzman

Art and science are joined together in Brisbane-based artist Renata Buziak’s fabulous series of nature-inspired, photographic “biochromes,” currently on display in “Floras of Gondwanan Heritage” at The Centre Beaudesert. 

Buziak has herself devised the biochrome process, requiring knowledge of chemistry, botany, and photography, to work with the beauty and unique attributes of our regional plant and tree specimens in surprising, unorthodox ways. 

Cafe Metz

For this exhibition, the artist bushwalked at nearby Binna Burra to find examples of Gondwanan plants and trees – today’s specimens of ancient surviving species, known to have first evolved hundreds of millions of years ago. 

As geologists well know, Gondwana was a supercontinent that broke apart in the Paleogene Period approximately 66-23 million years ago, involving the separation of Antarctica from South America and Australia. As a result, trees like the Antarctic Beech are today still growing on fragments of the old Gondwanan supercontinent in Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania), New Guinea, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Argentina, and Chile. 

Buziak creates her biochromes by searching for specimens in the rainforest, bringing them into the studio to arrange plant elements on light sensitive paper in dynamic compositions. 

Then, she applies moisture to the leaves and branches, carefully covering the entire work, leaving it to cure for weeks. 

The photo-chemical emulsion’s effects on the specimens create startling, fantastic effects of rippling textures of exuberant color that delight the eye, and give a sense of the passage of time. 

Buziak says, “When I unwrap a biochrome it’s always a surprise to see what the chemicals, plants, time, and chance have created.” 

Visitors see that process in her video entitled, “Gondwanan Microcosms,” that reminded me of the deep time of plants’ slow evolution. 

Also, Buziak presents her biochromes printed on textiles, cotton rag paper, cylindrical table lamps, and gorgeous homewares and wearable art.

“Floras of Gondwanan Heritage,” features some of the oldest surviving species on today’s Earth. 

Visitors should not miss the experience of this stunning, inspiring exhibition about our region’s natural environment which is on at The Centre, Beaudesert until 13 July. 

Gardeners, bushwalkers, plant and nature lovers, this exhibition is for you.