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Current Exhibiton: 

Banks Florilegium

Scott Thorp

Open from March 8th, 2024, 
Closing May 1st 2024.

Bank’s Florilegium was an unpublished collection of specimens, illustrations and writings on flora from around New Zealand and the Pacific by botanist Joseph Banks.1 This exhibition of photography and objects by Scott Thorp offers a contemporary response to this historical document. The photographic works isolate the biological systems and character of our flora. Contrastingly, sculptural ‘artifacts’ within the gallery represent historical changes to the relationship between people and nature. 


Scott Thorp’s analogue and digital photography presents isolated fields of growth. Each image showcases the unique adaptations and character of a single species in response to specific conditions. Shallow depth, nuanced colour palettes, intricate patterns of texture, and flattened field-like compositions are recurring themes. Being compositionally uniform yet dazzlingly complex in detail, these images offer a brief moment of meditative sanctuary; a microcosm of the experience offered by our native bush.


A plant produces it’s leaves in response to light, with unique growth patterns that repeat almost indefinitely in the right conditions. In isolating these structural adaptations, the images present a system, rather than an object or picturesque scene. The lens through which these systems are presented offers a dim echo of the pressed and flattened specimens catalogued and studied in the original Bank’s Florilegium.2


The historical connection between man and nature is contemplated in the found artifacts that complement the photographs. These objects present examples of the ongoing and often tragic relationship between our flora and the actions of humanity. Fires, farming, invasive species, and the poignant beauty of the solitary remnant are represented here. Presented as individual elements, they represent single points of irreparable change in the timeline of our wilderness.


Within this series there exists a tension between the verdant growth portrayed in the photography and the ongoing damage to nature symbolised by the found objects. As a country we have a shared legacy of discovery, beauty, and destruction. This exhibition suggests that we have a duty to acknowledge and engage these elements through the complex processes of reconciliation and regeneration.

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