The relationship between nature and art is not a new one.
Artists have reflected the world around them for as long as art itself has been created.
What has come about in relatively more recent times, however, is art that is not only reflecting the world around us but also comments on the impact humans are having on the longevity of the environment.
These are the types of works that make up the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize.
The Waterhouse Prize, a biennial competition produced by the South Australian Museum and is now on show at the National Archives of Australia, encourages artists to make a statement about the scientific issues facing the planet.
This year's exhibition sees everything from intricate drawings of sea anemones to ceramic works that comment on the 2020 bushfires and even a one-of-a-kind chandelier made from honey.
Yes, you did read that right. The piece, 4000 Stories by Rebecca McEwan, is made up of tiny glass vessel drops filled with honey. Each vessel contains a life-time's work of two to three bees and raises the question about the value placed on honey and the existence of bees in a delicately balanced ecosystem.
To put into perspective how diverse the exhibition works are, this delicate chandelier is in the same exhibition as Adam Sebire's video artwork, Adrift. The film sees Sebire calculate and saw off the exact amount of Arctic sea-ice that will be destroyed by his carbon emissions flying economy return, from Sydney to Greenland, to film the piece.
But, as the National Archives of Australia director of public programs Caroline Webber, says, diversity is what you can expect when dealing with a topic as large and various as the environment.
"The Australian landscape is so diverse and we always get extremes," she says.
"We've always had floods, and we've always had fires and we've always had wind and it always feels extreme. Those extremities make you take notice of nature.
"If you walk out into parts of the outback, it's just a completely different environment to what you would be used to at home. There are some really stark contrasts and it's the same in art.
"And the Waterhouse is a reflection of that stark difference. Every piece is different. Every piece has a particular message but when you put it together, like the Australian landscape, it makes a whole."
The winner of this year's prize is a satellite video installation, that the archive's director-general David Fricker likens to Dorothea Mackellar's poem, My Country.
The work, titled Open Air by Grayson Cook and Emma Walker, captures Australia's rich and varied landscape by combining satellite imagery, videography and painting to produce a complex picture of the changing planet, set to improvised music trio The Necks' 2013 album Open.
In one mesmerising video is the brilliant turquoise of the "jewel sea" and the ochre red earth of a sunburnt country.
The exhibition also features the highly commended work of Canberra artists Cathy Franzi, Lan Nguyen-hoan and Rosie Armstrong.
"They speak very much to the fragility of nature," Webber says.
"Rosie Armstrong's piece says the loss of insects and makes you think about what will happen to the environment with the loss of those insects.
"Cathy Franzi is very much a reflection of the bushfires that we've been through last year and Lan Nguyen-hoan has an interesting piece that talks about water. I like it because it's got different textures and references intertwining planes of fluid water."
The interesting thing about the Waterhouse Prize as a whole, however, is the evolving conversation that it has had over the years.
As more knowledge emerges about climate change and the environment in general, the more that knowledge influences the works both in topic and format.
For example, there was a time when the exhibition would come around and it would almost be guaranteed that at least one thylacine would feature in some form. This year, there isn't one to be seen.
"The works are also probably more interpretive than they have been in the past rather than more direct paintings and drawings of particular places or animals or insects," Webber says.
"I guess it will continue to change. But it also had stayed very much the same in that all the works throughout the years remark on the importance of the environment.
"Waterhouse has that message of the importance of science and the importance of art in communicating what is going on in the world. It's another way of just interpreting and presenting the message of the importance of managing and looking after our environment."
- Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize will be on show at the National Archives of Australia until June 6.
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