Laura Wills and Louise Flaherty: Plant Notes

The Guildhouse Collections Project with The Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia, at the Santos Museum of Economic Botany

15 August – 30 January 2022

Researching within the SA Seed Conservation Centre and the Botanic Gardens Laura and Louise investigate the personal and environmental effects of losing vulnerable flora.

The duo celebrate flora and highlight human and plant relationships with a focus on vulnerable and threatened South Australian native plants. This reflective and celebratory project comments on destructive colonisation and the beauty of nature by looking closely at the plants and their relationships, culminating in collaborative works on paper and ephemeral painting workshops.

Plant Notes is accompanied by sound work, an ephemeral art tour developed with Belinda Gehlert and Naomi Keyte. The sound piece, designed to be experienced within the Adelaide Botanic Gardens provides audiences with an experiential tour encouraging movement and thoughtfulness within the natural environment. It’s development has been made possible through Australia Council for the Arts Adapt relief funding.

Artist Talks and workshops will accompany the exhibition, with more information coming soon.

Follow Laura and Louise’s research and workshops at plantnotes.com.au and view their Vitalstatistix residency with Belinda Gehlert and Naomi Keyte here.

The Collections Project allowed us to gain access to the SA Seed Conservation Centre who are working on in the front line of native flora conservation in South Australia. Being able to meet and talk and share with the staff and volunteers has been inspirational. It confirms for me why I make the work that I do and drives me to continue to create this work.

I hope that we as artists are able to tell the stories of their important work and to shine a spotlight on the importance of this work.

The Collections project has been like planting a seed for future work of mine, this experience will continue to inspire the work that I make for many years to come. The exhibition outcome for this exhibition has just been the tip of the iceberg of what has come out of this experience.

Louise Flaherty

Laura Wills is an Adelaide-based multidisciplinary artist based at Central Studios. Traversing the boundaries of drawing she explores social and environmental themes through found materials, collaborative processes and community- based projects to create hybrid works that are communicative in nature and connect us to the environment.

With a Bachelor of Visual Arts and Applied Design from Adelaide Centre of the Arts (2003), and a Bachelor of Visual Arts Honors from South Australian School of Art (2011) she has exhibited nationally and internationally and has worked collaboratively with many artists including Anna Dowling during a residency at SAHMRI; Elisabeth Close as part of an artist in resident at Flinders Medical Centre and Louise Flaherty in the creation of Grassy Shadows workshops for Nature Festival 2020. In 2017 she was awarded the Fleurieu Art Prize and in 2019 the National Works on Paper prize both for her collaborative work with James Tylor.

Recent projects include Parklands Project and a 4-week Country Arts SA residency at Palace of Production, Kangaroo Island. Current Wills Projects works with William Cheesman include Tiny Gems, for City of Port Adelaide Enfield, installing a mural in Clare with Rosina Possingham and developing public art for Rural City of Murray Bridge.

Louise Flaherty is an artist and arts worker based in Adelaide. Informed by quiet reflection on the natural environment, her current practice spans drawing and installation with a focus on community driven projects.

Founding Director of Downtown Arts Space, she has has worked at the South Australian School of Art, was Arts Program Manager at Barkly Regional Arts in the Northern Territory and studied Visual Arts at the South Australian School of Art, receiving first class Honours.

She has exhibited widely and in 2019 was the winner of the Tatiara Art Prize at Walkway Gallery. During a residency at The Mill in Adelaide CBD she created work based upon research of local native plants which was expanded upon in a later residency at Sauerbier House Cultural Exchange, Port Noarlunga. In 2018 she was recipient of a Guildhouse LimberUp mentorship with artist Laura Wills, focusing on community engagement and participatory practice. In 2019 she was Artist in Residence at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and more recent projects include presenting a new collaborative work for OSCA’s Parklands Project, participating in Vitalstatistix’s Adhocracy program; and creating an collaborative audio-led workshop for Nature Festival. Louise is a studio resident at Post Office Projects, Port Adelaide.

Artist Talks and Workshops

Plant Notes: Artist Workshop

Saturday 21 August, 10.30am – 12pm
Santos Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Plant Notes: Artist Talk & 2021 Call Out Information Session

Wednesday 25 August, 1pm
Santos Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Botanica Lumina: Plant Notes – Artist Workshop

Thursday 16 September, 6pm
Schomburgk Pavilion, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Nature Festival: Plant Notes – Artist Workshop

Thursday 30 September, 10.30am – 12pm
Santos Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

The Guildhouse Collections Project with The Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia, at the Santos Museum of Economic Botany provides artists with the opportunity to research the garden’s extensive historical, scientific and living collections.

Plant Notes sound development

Images (L-R): Laura Wills and Louise Flaherty, Threatened Night (detail), 2021, photograph Grant Hancock.