Published On: August 7, 2023683 words3.8 min read
Aspire Gallery

The bushland inspired exhibition featuring artworks by Smith & Brooks

Smith & Brooks are very happy to announce that some of our abstract Australian landscape artworks have been selected to show in the current exhibition, ‘Roam’ at Aspire Gallery in Paddington, Brisbane. We were so excited when Aspire Gallery announced that their upcoming exhibition would be bushland themed because all of our artworks to date are directly inspired by the Australian landscape – it could not have been a more perfect fit for us! We have spent hours studying individual native plant species for our works, both here in our Brisbane bushland backyards but also all around the countryside from Tasmania to Cairns. So it was wonderful to receive the news from Aspire that through 350+ entries for this exhibition that we had made the cut.

The two beautiful original artworks that were selected for the show at Aspire Gallery are ‘Virid Form I’ and ‘Virid Form II’. We absolutely loved creating these works so to have them recognised and shown to a new audience in this was just so reaffirming for us. Being lifelong artists ourselves but only new as a collaborative creative team it is encouraging to know that others see what we see in our works. The layered colour work, the immersion into lines, shapes, silhouettes, patterns, the focus given to an individual species and the love of the natural ecosystem – to have someone else see that too and love it is amazing!

These works formed part of the ‘Virid Dream’ collection we released earlier this year. ‘Virid’ meaning ‘brilliant green’ was chosen as part of the collection’s name and came from the botanical name of the callistemon or melaleuca featured in these paintings, the Callistemon Viridiflorus or Melaleuca Virins. This plant species, which is known commonly as “bottlebrush” because of the shape of its distinctive flower, was found by Jacky as she was travelling through the subalpine Tasmanian forest. The blossom of this particular species is so brilliant in its green that it almost reaches a sort of chartreuse tone, pushing the boundaries of what we consider a normal bottlebrush flower colour. And while this aspect of the plant seems to be its most dominating feature we actually decided to focus our works on another colour that was both unexpected and overlooked within the species. 

Red. When you think about Australian native plants you don’t often think about the red tones that are surprisingly common in them. And it is not just in the flowers. A lot of iconic Australian native species feature bold reds, magentas and pinks in their new growth. And once you see it you can’t believe you didn’t notice it before. It’s almost as if hidden in plain sight. Beautiful soft new shoots, intensely emboldened with tones of red, reach out from gumtrees and melaleucas even competing in vibrancy with the flowers themselves. 

And so the Virid Form artworks were created to showcase this display of colour that can be easily missed. The background layers of the Virid Form artworks are built up with de-saturated reds, muted magentas and dusty pinks reminiscent of the new growth that adorns these shrubs. The outline of a naturally forming bouquet creates the focus of the works in a dreamlike way creating a sense of being surrounded by bushland. The form is cradled by a deep red ribbon of claret as if to present itself to the viewer saying, ‘I am for you, I am your gift’.

These two beautiful works were created as reflections of how we both see and interpret the Australian landscape. Having them selected by Aspire Gallery for this latest exhibition alongside the many other amazing artists has meant so much to us. We hope that you can make it along to see the ‘Roam’ exhibition and to really take the time to absorb the works and the energy and love we have tried to capture in them. ‘Roam’ officially launches on Saturday 12th of August and will be on show until the 2nd of September at Aspire Gallery in Paddington, Brisbane.