In Close Contact with Plants: Katie Starkey
21 February 2023 - 30 June 2023
Artist(s): Katie Starkey
Location: Ascot Vale Library
This project is about the restorative power of nature. It consists of 7 drawings of plants in Copic marker and pen, created between 2020 and 2022.
In Close Contact with Plants emerged from my time drawing plants in the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens. I visited many times to draw. The gardens stand upon land that was once a significant, traditional camping and meeting place for the local custodians of the area - the Boonwurrung and Woiwurrung peoples. On each visit, I chose a plant I liked, sat on the grass in front of it, and drew it for hours. Drawing like this became a personal mindfulness practice, my way of being present in nature. I would leave each drawing session feeling calm and energised.
This experience made me more curious about the restorative power of nature. I began reading about the Japanese preventative health practice of shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing”. I learnt that this health practice is informed by many decades of research which shows that “forest bathing” may help reduce stress, improve attention, boost immunity, and lift the mood. As a lifelong nature lover, I was delighted to find that there is now a scientific argument for spending time amongst trees and plants.
Katie Starkey is an emerging visual artist. Currently, she is a studio artist at River Studios and is supported by Creative Spaces. Her work is regularly exhibited in Melbourne’s artist-run galleries. Katie grew up in a coastal town in New South Wales and was trained in visual arts at universities in Spain and Argentina. She has diverse skills and interests, and holds a Bachelor of Science (Architecture) from the University of Sydney, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Management of Digital Projects from the Barcelona School of Design and Engineering.