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Creative interpretation of climate science

The Museum recently acquired Anthropogenic Scrolls: Transparency and Disclosure, a porcelain and glass artwork by Dr Julie Bartholomew. Julie is a leading Australian ceramicist. Her latest work explores climate change and is inspired by scientific research into the deep ice of Antarctica.

Porcelain and glass artworks.
Anthropogenic Scrolls: Transparency and Disclosure

Along each column, coloured layers represent accumulated Antarctic snowfall which trapped air bubbles as it compressed and became ice. The thrown porcelain and cast-glass cylinders are based on the solid lengths of ice, or ice cores, that a team of scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division drilled and hauled to the surface.

Woman painting a cylindrical object in a studio.
Julie Bartholomew applying coloured glaze

Julie describes Antarctic ice cores as ‘akin to ancient scrolls’. She is fascinated by the way in which they reveal the dramatic changes humans have made to the global atmosphere.

Julie ensured that the cast glass in Anthropogenic Scrolls held visible air bubbles. These bubbles reference the air trapped in Antarctic ice which scientists have analysed to reveal a relentless rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

The colour palette, Julie explains, captures ‘the hues, tones and shades of glaciers and ice beds, and the atmospheric effects of Antarctica, particularly the Aurora Australis'. Witnessing the southern lights while living in New Zealand in the 1980s influenced her work. She delights in the beauty and seductive powers of porcelain and glass.

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