Jennifer Keeler-Milne – Finalist in the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize, SAM

In Artist December 7, 2020

Images: Beetles, bugs and butterflies, charcoal, paper, timber, glass, 7 domes, dimensions variable

Jennifer Keeler-Milne’s beautiful work comprised of double sided charcoal drawings in glass specimen jars titled ‘Beetles, bugs and butterflies’ has been selected for the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize biennial exhibition at the South Australian Museum which will run from Friday 11 December to Sunday 7 February.

The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize commemorates the birth of the South Australian Museum’s first curator, Frederick George Waterhouse. The biennial prize is an opportunity for artists to investigate the world around them and present their perspectives on natural science. It encourages artists to make a statement about the scientific issues facing our planet, and offers a valuable platform for them to contribute to the environmental debate. Over the years the competition has become a much loved fixture on the arts calendar, allowing artists and audiences to explore natural science through a range of creative outlets.

“I am a Sydney artist and for over a decade my principal subject has been nature, with a strong emphasis on drawing using charcoal. My underlying concerns are to reflect the beauty and mystery of nature. Beetles, bugs and butterflies is a small cabinet of curiosities featuring drawings of a variety of insects. It seeks to celebrate insects who are largely unseen and their incalculable importance to our lives, through the food web and the pollination of plants. This work also pays homage to the wunderkammer and the rich history of collecting natural objects.”

– Jennifer Keeler-Milne, 2020

About the artist

Born in Melbourne, Jennifer Keeler-Milne lives and works in Sydney as a practicing artist and holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Fine Arts from the Victorian College of the Arts and a Master of Art Administration. A former museum educator with the Art Gallery of New South Wales and lecturer at Sydney University, UTS and the National Art School, Jennifer also runs her own drawing school, Dare to Draw, teaching the principles and techniques of drawing.

Jennifer has had several solo exhibitions in Sydney, as well as group shows in Hong Kong and Paris, where she completed a residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts. Jennifer was a finalist several times in the Dobell Prize for Drawing, as well as the Kedumba Drawing Award, Fleurieu Peninsula Art Prize, Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize, and was also awarded the Fred Williams Family Prize in 1991.

Jennifer has exhibited in many public and regional institutions including the Art Gallery of NSW (Sydney), Hazelhurst Regional Gallery (NSW), The Museum of Economic Botany (Adelaide), The Glasshouse Regional Gallery (Port Macquarie), Grafton Regional Gallery (NSW), Orange Regional Art Gallery (NSW), Tweed River Art Gallery (NSW), Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery (NSW), New England Regional Art Gallery (NSW), Casula Powerhouse (NSW), as well as several universities such as the University of Sydney, University of Technology and University of Western Sydney (Sydney), Australian National University (Canberra) and the Victorian College of the Arts (Melbourne).

In 2019, Newcastle Art Gallery acquired Keeler-Milne’s Desert Rocks – a suite of 18 charcoal drawings. Her work is also held in the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW, Artbank and the Victorian College of the Arts, as well as private collections in London, New York, Boston, Miami, San Francisco, Paris, Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne.