Joanna Roberts is an artist and designer whose work embraces the colour and sculptural possibilities of contemporary materials and industrial processes.
Roberts grew up in Darwin, but she has also lived in Melbourne, Cairns, and Adelaide. Her work is informed by extensive artistic and environmental research, and information and experiences gathered during her visits to European and Asian galleries and museums, and meetings with other international artists. The colour, form and texture of Australian flora and fauna continues to inspire Roberts. Whilst in Cairns Roberts frequently visited the internationally renowned Botanic Gardens to observe plant and insect life assisted by the use of a macro lens.
The artificial biota in this exhibition is inspired by the beauty and colour of the plants and creatures unique to Far North Queensland. Her works closely resemble, in shape, form and colour, naturally occurring flora and fauna. The artist’s use of size and scale is an important artistic device and means of engaging the audience.
The exhibition highlights the use of materials such as laminate, aluminium and acrylic sheet. These have been laser-cut, anodised, and hand or vacuum-formed, before being manipulated and detailed by the artist. For Roberts, the challenge is to transform cold and lifeless materials into something that is warm and alive. Her interest in experimentation with a wide variety of materials, including textiles, adds an important dimension to her work.
Image: Synthetic Biota exhibition install, Cairns Regional Gallery. Photo: Michael Marzik.