Chris de Rosa
She Collects the Beautiful Things - Turbulent Nature

Chris De Rosa is an acclaimed South Australian based artist who creates large-scale print works and installations. She is interested in the ocean’s flora and fauna and its relationship to a shifting coastal ecology. She has worked in a number of significant print studios including a residency at The Australian Print Workshop in 2011 and in 2015 at the London print studio where she spent a month visiting the Natural History Museum undertaking research in the botany department investigating the collections of Australian botanist Jessie Louisa Hussey (1862-1899).


In 2016 De Rosa was awarded the 2016 Country Arts SA Artist Breaking Ground Award culminating in a major solo show for the South Australian Living Arts Festival in August at AC Arts, Light Square, Adelaide. A major component of the award was to study the collection of Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn in Naples.  Most recently in 2018 she was again the recipient of the Australian Print Workshop Residency in Melbourne.


Since 1993 she has participated in a significant number of group exhibitions showing print based works, a number of which have toured regionally. De Rosa’s work has been selected for a number of prizes including winning the 2012 Swan Hill Print Award.  De Rosa’s work is held in the collections of the Australian National Gallery A.C.T, Swan Hill Regional Gallery, and the Whyalla City Council, S.A., Scott Hicks Collection, and numerous private collections.


De Rosa has devoted her recent practice to collecting and portraying different kinds of seaweeds. Vivid algae etched in bas-relief crescendos brightly on printed papers.  Lurid casts of sea sponges hum from the impact of their jewel colours. Tubular weeds hold small, dark worlds of their own. Growing fervently from innumerable pots of fluorescent ink, paint brushes, a printing press, rolls of paper, reams of books, De Rosa’s nautical realm is one characterised by rapid accumulation as opposed to the quiet stasis of preserved specimens held uneasily between life and death.


There is a mission embedded in my practice that is both aesthetic and environmental, the artist explains; My process is analogous to beginning a story with scant idea of where it will take me, letting the processes and current concerns and readings invade the act of art making. The forms that emerged from the process suggested a kind of abstracted runic message or warning from nature herself.


The work is informed by dystopian fictions of a future world covered in water where organisms may become even more “ rich and strange” embodying the philosophical idea of the sublime as turbulent nature where pleasure is derived from observing objects that threaten hurt to or destroy


Almost daily I amble along the south coast beaches where I live, foraging for the strange and the beautiful. Our liminal landscape is riddled with wondrous objects that are largely hidden from the gaze of the casual comber. The hyper-coloured, hyper-real images are a way of bringing these organisms into clear view to remind us just how precious and wondrous this environment is and of the strange beauty of these forms.

Chris de Rosa

She Collects the Beautiful Things - Turbulent Nature

Sofi's Lounge and Lobby

Sofitel Melbourne On Collins

Feb 2019 - May 2019

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