5 May – 23 May 2004: Julia Silvester – Gardens of Desire

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Gallery 1 +2

Wander through glass gardens…

Julia Silvester has created an intricate and fascinating installation.

Combining the rich language of Hildegard’s “physica” and botanical images from the late medieval period, Silvester re-interprets the knowledge and writings of Hildegard within a contemporary framework.

Silvester has long been interested in the cross over between nature, art, science and medicine. Exploring historical references, this contemporary sculptural work merges past and present imbuing these curious glass specimens with layers of meaning.
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“Julia Silvester’s Hildegard’s Garden beautifully captures the controlled precision of early science, with its rack of delicately sandblasted test tubes and phials complete with book of alchemical remedies.”

Simon Blond Gibbons unfurls fresh Ausie pride, The West Australian, Weekend Extra 27.10.03

(notes on Hildegard von Bingen)

Hildegard was a religious leader, visionary, composer, poet, naturalist and writer of medical treatises. Despite her cloistered life this twelfth-century German Abbess and later Saint had strong views on sex, love and marriage – astonishing in her own age and ours – “she epitomizes the concept of the Renaissance woman long before the concept of the Renaissance man came into being.”

A Feminist Prolegomenon for the Study of Hildegard of Bingen, Marilyn R Mumford, Gender Culture and the Arts: Susquehanna University Press: London 1993