Susan Hipgrave’s sculptural and painterly process references 19th century ornithological and botanical illustrative texts. Painting on what she calls a ‘circular canvas’, Hipgrave executes, through fine fluid black linear work, a resurrection of the intricacies of forgotten scientific illustration. Her detailed and delicate paintings link the past to the present in her attempt to understand the natural in an increasingly unnatural world.
Naturalists throughout history have attempted to communicate foreign environments and animals to a curious public. Perusing the archives of the Australian Museum and Sydney’s State Library, Hipgrave revives forgotten and often obscure imagery in the slow and meditative practice of applying paint to porcelain, creating a meeting point between scientific observation and creative licence. The uniformity of Susan’s canvas adheres to the ethos of scientific study however the hybridity and exaggeration of her renderings capture an essence beyond this historical form of illustration.