Richard Thomas
  Inflorescence Carbon Cycle Plant Cosmologies Terrae Spatium Graphic Botanic Leaf Fractals Decay Systems Mehr Licht

Reviews, exhibition notes, interviews, and texts by the artist and other writers (links to Pdf and Word doc downloads)





























>>> Sydney Morning Herald; Review of "Australia House" and Echigo Tsumari Trienale by John Macdonald 09.08.09

>>> "Carbon Ecologies"; Text accompanying the exhibition with description and images of carbon related works over a 10 year period.

"...The work was a visual representation of an ecological equation known as the carbon cycle. A 5 m high tower of decaying firewood, built at the same scale as surrounding 500 year old redgums, was constructed and surrounded by a planting of 8 redgum saplings. The work proposed an imagined “carbon equilibrium” between carbon emitted as the firewood decayed, and carbon absorbed as the saplings grew.."

>>> "Hydrocarbon Rundown"; Notes on the exhibition at Gasworks Arts Park, Melbourne.

"....ecology in a globalised world is now a continual planetary meta-site (or non-site in Smithson’s parlance) which is being redefined, damaged, modified, transformed by human industrial activity. Our species is now transferring and transforming vast amounts of materiality, much of it contaminant, from the geosphere to the biosphere, through mining, processing, waste, industrial and consumer activity...."

>>> South China Morning Post; Review of Shanghai Satelite Project, by Karen Hung, Hong Kong 19.09.06

>>> "Parasitism and Mutualism"; Notes on parallels between human and natural ecologies, in the context of the artworld. Shanghai September 2006.

"...the interdependence of species and the evolution of life is a ceaseless interaction of internal relationships between species and external relations with their environment.... the line between “Parasitism” and “Mutualism” is blurry. In the one instance the host is slowly killed off, in the other both species thrive through mutual cooperation...."

>>> Interview with Richard Thomas by writer and curator Stuart Koop; on the occassion of the Satellite project, 2009

>>> Geelong Advertiser; Review of Gnouk: A Layered History, at the Geelong Art Gallery, 15.10.05.

>>> Artists statement; "... a continuing investigation into the forms, rhythms, material qualities and energy exchanges of the natural world. Nature is a parallel world to that of culture and humanity, a world which encompasses our own reality, and yet is paradoxically separate from it...."

>>> The Natural History of Ireland; Research for Works from Belfast, made during a residency at Flaxart Studios, September 2000. Notes from “Reading the Irish Landscape” by Frank Mitchell & Michael Ryan, published by TownHouse, Dublin, 1997.

"...If we were to look back to 1850 BC, we would see a well-wooded Ireland and in the clearings we would see a Bronze Age population enjoying a standard of life equivalent to anywhere in Europe. If instead we look back to 1850 AD, we we would see a ruined landscape almost destitute of any woody growth with the fertility of much of its soils grossly depleted by endless repetitions of potato crops...."

>>> Works from Belfast; Notes on residency at Flaxart studios, Belfast, and subsequent exhibition of works;

"...I found other local image-substances of the carbon cycle in the form of  fuels available from local fuel merchants: peat, dug by hand in little fibrous strips (I couldn't help thinking of the bogman; raw coal in rock form; and briquettes. All of these shapes became a kind of vocabulary. They became templates of transformation and were used to make large charcoal drawings of simplified shapes which referred to the layers of cultural/industrial/natural histories I was encountering in the present and learning of in the past. The use of charcoal(carbon) itself was a further reference to these histories...."

>>> "In the Soup"; Essay by Ken Unsworth AM about Richard Thomas for the catalogue "Terrae Spatium", 1998

>>> "Carbon Cycle 1"; Notes on Project for "Resourceful" exhibition, Ararat Art Gallery, 1998

"...In the work Carbon Cycle  a very simple carbon transfer system is constructed, using redgum in its living and dead states. A large stack of firewood is surrounded by redgum seedlings. The circular nature of both the stack and the tree ring indicates the circular nature of the carbon cycle, as do the connecting ground lines, which also point to this process as a kind of mandala. However the work is not simply a representation of the process, it is the process...."

>>> “Solar Gardening; Light and Life”; Published in “New Observations” magazine, edited by Holger Drees, 1996

"...Plants are a higher form of life than the human being and most other animals who must parasitically devour the flesh of other plants and animals. Plants survive by deriving nutrition from air, water and soil, and the direct conversion of solar energy through photosynthesis, a metabolic life - fuelling process which makes the complexities of petro-chemical refining look primitive. A plant is a living conduit connecting the three realities:  Terrestrial,  Biospheric, and Solar. It is in a state of constant symbiosis with the undergound world of  soil, worm and microbe; the meteorological world of the atmosphere, the water cycle and the movement of air mass; and the position and intensity of the suns emissions..."

>>> "Stellar Botanicus" Research interviews with 3 scientists/experts in the fields of botany, astronomy and solar energy for the exhibition for "Stellar Botanicus", Tolarno Galleries 1995; Excerpts from Interviews with Ray Prowse, Executive Officer, Solar Energy Industries Association of Australia Inc.; Perry Vlahos, Director of the Current Phenomena Section and Vice President of the Astronomical Society of Victoria;Dr  Roger Spencer  and Mr Ian Clark of the  Plant Identification Services of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. September 1995.

>>> "Sun, Soil, Sex" Notes for Stellar Botanicus, Tolarno Galleries 1995

"...Of particular interest is the erotic biosphere of the Rudbechaea  whose rich black half domed centre revealed a new ring  of yellow pollen each day to seduce returning bees. While we watched, an individual landed and performed a ritual circumnavigation to collect the fresh offering of pollen. Not only did the flower resemble a sun in its form, but here its symbiosis with another life was mirroring an astronomic cycle, that of a planet orbitting a star...."