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Ruth Johnstone and Lesley Duxbury: Embrace the Eucalypt

EXHIBITION BENALLA Embrace the Eucalypt

Ruth Johnstone and Lesley Duxbury: Embrace the Eucalypt

17 May 2024 – 28 Jul 2024

The ubiquitous eucalypt has come to mean many things to us. It is honoured when it survives to a great age, yet its size and materiality has caused it to be felled for human needs, and of course it is renowned for fuelling raging bushfires. Utilising paper based media and contemporary art approaches, Ruth Johnstone and Lesley Duxbury address the cultural significance of the eucalypt.

Lesley Duxbury records long-term eucalypt survivors in inhabited environments. By measuring the girth of these giants, she is able to estimate their age. Photographic documentation of specimens, species identification along with end-grain imprints, circumference and age are incorporated into her artworks. A series of large-scale digital prints of street trees demonstrate the experience of confronting these giant trees while artists books compress multiple details in concertina form.

Ruth Johnstone explores the scars of bushfire and eucalypt survivors, commemorated by leafy garlands and circular motifs. The black works in Fire Recovery are printed from eucalyptus leaves collected from the fire ravaged northeast Victoria in 2007 and later from as far as northwest Tasmania, Northern Ireland and Melbourne. These printed paper leaves are polished with powdered graphite and collaged to create a dark glistening cloud. A recent series of white works mummify eucalypt stems in tracing paper to further explore loss and consolation.

About the Artists

Ruth Johnstone studied Art at Warrnambool Institute of Advanced Education; RMIT University; and the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. She has exhibited works on paper and installations for over 40 years including solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria; the International Arts Festival in Kilkenny; and Temple Bar Gallery in Dublin, Ireland. Her work is held in the British Museum, major Australian national, state and regional collections.

Lesley Duxbury is a Gippsland-based artist whose work includes printmaking and photography. She studied Art at Maidstone College of Art, UK; Curtin University, Perth; and RMIT University. She has exhibited for over 35 years in solo and group shows in Australia, Korea, Austria, and Hong Kong including the National Gallery of Victoria and National Gallery of Australia. She has undertaken artist residencies in Iceland, Paris and Fremantle Arts Centre, WA. Her work is held in all major public collections in Australia.

A Walk in the Redgum Forest
artist tunnel book, inkjet prints, silk, twine and brass
15.5 x 40 x 16 cm

Gallery Details

Benalla Art Gallery
Botanical Gardens
Bridge Street
Benalla VIC 3672
T: (03) 5760 2619
W: benallaartgallery.com.au/

Opening Hours
Open 10am - 5pm
Closed Tuesdays

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Gallery Info

The Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV) acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the lands where our office is located, and all Traditional Owners of country throughout Victoria and Australia. We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples enduring traditions and continuing creative cultures. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

We are an LGBTQIA+ friendly organisation and celebrate cultural diversity.