Australian artist Marika Borlase’s practice draws on her interested in expanding the visual language and narrative found in natural history paintings. For many years her artworks have referenced natural science and the environment. In addition to her own store of cultural memories, Borlase looks at the lasting effects of colonisation, industrialisation and displacement on society and often references her own Australian-Swedish heritage. Each artwork may be read as an allegory and often makes reference to the relationship between herself, as the artist in the studio, and the outside world. She uses wordplay in the titles of her works to contradict or expose the narratives found within them.
Working from a pretty mudbrick home and studio on the banks of the Yarra River in the bushy suburb of North Warandyte, Victoria, Borlase, is perched high overlooking the tree tops of a state park. Daily she witnesses the seasonal changes of fauna and flora. “There is a constant bird song here”, Borlase says, “I am surrounded by beauty and irony every day. When the almost prehistoric black cockatoos fly in, for example, they make such a grand entrance. Their beauty, power and sound is inspiring and terrifying at the same time.” Borlase was a recipient of the Anne and Gordon Samstag Scholarship and is represented in the National Gallery of Victoria, Artbank, The University of the Arts, London collections and many private collections in Australia and the UK.