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This painting alludes to some of the complex and contradictory factors that influenced how early settlers perceived the flora and fauna of Australia. The represented pheasants and chaffinches were very familiar to the British. Settlers interpreted Australia’s unique flora and fauna against such well-known standards. The framework encircling the birds, composed of both bizarre rococo plant forms and a regular gridded pattern, is a reference to how this process of interpretation oscillated between the rational and the illogical.
- Nicola Dickson