Absent Facsimile No 1.
acrylic house paint on bamboo paper
Dr Tabatha Forbes (DocFA), is a visual artist, writer and tutor currently living and working in Opunake, South Taranaki. Her work and study is centred around how we value and perceive nature with an interest in botanical art history, ecology and ethnobotany. Prior to Covid-19 her work was focussing more on environmental issues around climate change, and her recent projects discuss global warming and extinction.
Tabatha Forbes includes two new works from her 2020 ‘Absent Facsimile’ series. Presenting literal painted facsimiles from Walter Fitch’s prints made with Sir Joseph Hooker from the Sikkim-Himalaya Rhododendron collection in the mid 1800’s, the series considers climate crisis and mass extinction in 2020.
The blank paper and absence of flowers is conspicuous, blatantly referring to our expectations of nature. The colour of the absent flowers is represented instead by the vibrant background, essentially highlighting the empty space.
“2020 has been nothing short of an extraordinary year. Even before Covid-19, I felt I was going through what I lovingly refer to as my mid-life-environmental-crisis. The Australian fires literally blowing red into our atmosphere were hard to ignore, combined with the reality of how much flora and fauna was lost as nearly 46 million acres burnt to the ground. It’s not uncommon to deny particular realities until they affect us directly, and both climate change and Covid-19 are examples of that. Personally the most interesting observation from 2020 has been how we (collectively) are capable of change. Despite the apparent epidemic of anxiety and distrust that seems to have swept over every corner of the planet, I think that our ability to change and adapt is actually an incredibly positive opportunity. Being effectively grounded, ‘Going Local’ has become more than a slogan, and small businesses and creatives are in a wonderful position right now, to support local communities.”