Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison
Closer to Natural
Artists’ book, unique state, featuring 13 individual collages on cartes de visite with pencil and paint additions (by Gracia Haby), 13 pencil drawings on Fabriano Artistico 640gsm traditional white hot-press paper with metallic paint trim (by Louise Jennison), and accompanying handwritten animal title cards
Housed in a red cloth Solander box (bound by Louise Jennison)


1. In the borrowed costume for a Syrian woman from Cléopâtre for a necktie, designed by Léon Bakst, c 1909–30s, with a giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)
Closer to natural (Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis))

2. In the garb of the understudy, with a Jaguar (Panthera onca) and a Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)
Closer to natural (Jaguar (Panthera onca) and Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana))

3. After Henri Matisse, in the borrowed costume for a Courtier from The song of the nightingale, 1920, with gold studs, paint, satin, and braid, with a Northern tamandua (Tamandua mexicana) and an Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus)
Closer to natural (Northern tamandua (Tamandua mexicana) and Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus))

4. In the stained costume of an Elder from The Rite of Spring, circa 1913, with a Eurasian pygmy owl (Glaucidium passerinum)
Closer to natural (Eurasian pygmy owl (Glaucidium passerinum))

5. In the borrowed costume for a Polovtsian Warrior from Prince Igor, c.1909, with a Bearded emperor tamarin (Saguinus imperator subgrisescens)
Closer to natural (Emperor tamarin (Saguinus imperator))

6. In the borrowed costume for the Bluebird from The sleeping princess, designed by Léon Bakst, c 1921, with a black-naped monarch (Hypothymis azurea)
Closer to natural (Black-naped monarch (Hypothymis azurea))

7. In a borrowed skull cap embroidered with polychrome thread, after Nicholas Roerich, c 1909, with a Morepork (Ninox novaeseelandiae) and a Honey possum (Tarsipes rostratus)
Closer to natural (Morepork (Ninox novaeseelandiae) and Honey possum (Tarsipes rostratus))

8. In a modified hat for a Duchess from The Sleeping Princess (Scene III, Hunting Scene), after Léon Bakst, 1921, with an Addax (Addax nasomaculatus)
Closer to natural (Addax (Addax nasomaculatus))

9. In the modified headdress for the Mandarin from The song of the nightingale, after Henri Matisse, 1920, with an Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus)
Closer to natural (Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus))

10. In the borrowed costume for Columbine from Carnaval, designed by Léon Bakst, c. 1942, with a Yellow-spotted rock hyrax (Heterohyrax brucei)
Closer to natural (Yellow-spotted rock hyrax (Heterohyrax brucei))

11. Thos Livingstone in the borrowed hat for a Lezghin from Thamar, designed by Léon Bakst, c 1912, with a Sun parakeet (Aratinga solstitialis)
Closer to natural (Sun parakeet (Aratinga solstitialis))

12. In the borrowed costume of a street sweeper from Jardin public, designed by Jean Lurçat, c 1935, with a Coral fish (Adioryx xantherythrus)
Closer to natural (Coral fish (Adionyx xantherythrus))

13. In the borrowed costume for the Prince in L’Oiseau d’Or, c. 1909, with the feathered company of spice and minerals, a Nutmeg pigeon (Ducula spilorrhoa) and a Scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird (Nectarinia johnstoni)
Closer to natural (Scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird (Nectarinia johnstoni) and White-nutmeg pigeon (Ducula spilorrhoa))


In continuation of a theme explored for Animal Instinct (2016), thirteen costumed Salvaged Relatives on cartes de visite have been paired with drawings of the same collage element in a new and arguably more natural setting. However, upon closer inspection, the landscape reveals itself to be that of a theatrical backcloth. The stained costumes of the Ballet Russes, designed by Léon Bakst and after Henri Matisse, feature alongside Scarlet-tufted malachite sunbirds (Nectarinia johnstoni) and Bearded emperor tamarins (Saguinus imperator subgrisescens) in this jewel-boxed, call and response, collage and drawing, past and present collection.

This artists’ book was released into the wild at the 2016 Melbourne Art Book Fair at the National Gallery of Victoria.

It was exhibited as part of the 2016 Libris Awards and was acquired by Artspace Mackay.

Closer to Natural has since been exhibited as part of Focus on the Collection: Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison in the Foyer Gallery of Artspace Mackay (Friday 30th of November, 2018 – Sunday 3rd of February, 2019). The exhibition, drawn from the Mackay Regional Council collection, also included our artists’ books Find your place (2007); Small collection (2008); Postcards from... a key to make your own world visible (2009); A vagary of impediments & a sneak of weasels (2009); Tumble & fall (2009); This evening, however, I am thinking of things past (2009); Prattle, scoop, trembling: a flutter of Australian birds (2016); and Paw Pad Path (2018).