Australian National Botanic Gardens

14 December – 22 January 2023 — Visitor Centre Gallery

An exhibition featuring drawings recording just a few of the trees found in precious remnants of woodlands and forests along the east coast of Australia, and west of the Great Divide – to remind us of what little remains and what needs to be protected. 

Botanical artist Morgyn Phillips depicts the story-scarred trunks and limbs of trees in their habitats, their communities, specific to a time and place, rather than the traditional focus on the individual plant. 

Artist’s statement:

‘I am regularly amazed at the wonderful diversity of environments we have, both where I live and where I holiday in Australia: forests, grassy woodlands, grasslands, mangroves, wetlands, rainforests, and drylands and more. Each of these have their special complement of trees, shrubs and grasses, animals and insects, and soils and rocks that have evolved together over thousands if not millions of years. 

While I have explored many ways of representing the environment in my artistic work over the years, joining the botanic art group at the Australian National Botanic Gardens has been a significant recent factor in my artistic direction - developing both observation skills and a deep curiosity about the workings of the natural world. Over time I have come to focus on trees and their stories as a regular motif in my art work. Individual trees are full of character, each differing from its neighbour. The collective story of our trees since 1788, on the other hand, is sadly one of ruthless exploitation and clearance in many places. 

In this exhibition I wanted to depict particular trees in a particular place and time in a way that tells a story neither strictly botanical nor traditionally landscape. Art is one more way to communicate our concern for and connection to country at a time when global and local extinctions of plants and animals are at an all-time high. I hope this exhibition adds to the call to preserve and regenerate what remains of the vast range of forests, woodlands and grasslands that once covered Australia.’


14 December – 22 January 2023


Visitor Centre Gallery