John Pusateri questions how fine art practice, through visual documentation, specimen collection, and site dissection, may explore and contribute to levels of biological knowledge.
Fallen comes at the mid-point of a 12 month long undertaking of specimen and data collection at two sites in Auckland: one an area of native forest in Titirangi and the other a privet bush in Western Springs. Herein Pusateri presents a series of drawings and photographs which document, analyse, and identify the biology of these defined areas of land.
Pusateri challenges the aesthetics of scientifically valuable imagery and makes allusions to the inexorable loss of biodiversity, a syndrome American Biologist E O Wilson once referred to as “the death of birth”.
A collection of manipulated photographs represent invertebrate specimens in montage with other site-specific materials. The result: a series of post-mortem portraits which re-enact the distinct, small tragedy of each creature’s fall to oblivion, into the pit trap that was its end. The disparities of scale and context in these compositions also make reference to the austerity of religious icons and classical portraiture.
Pusateri has created a body of work that not only engages in creative image making, but also adds to our knowledge of local ecology; all the while raising issues around biodiversity and conservation, and more universal comments about loss and death.
-Seed Gallery, Auckland