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b. 1953, Port Pirie

Lives and works in Adelaide, Australia

Angela Valamanesh’s work is both familiar and mysterious: recognizable, but not immediately understood. Her drawings, ceramic objects, and watercolours are the result of an incredible depth of research, referencing complex scientific, historic, and philosophical ideas.

Valamanesh’s imagery stems from micro- and macro-biology, historic anatomical and botanical illustrations, natural history collections, and rare books. Valamanesh’s oeuvre is populated with the animal, vegetable, and mineral with glimpses of microbes, bacteria, pathogens, and spores.[1]

Angela Valamanesh was born in Port Pirie, South Australian in 1953 and currently lives and works in Adelaide. Valamanesh holds a Diploma in Design in Ceramics from the South Australian School of Art (1977), a Master of Visual Arts from the University of South Australia (1993), and a PhD from the University of South Australia (2012).

Valamanesh has participated in many solo and group exhibitions including: Heartlands, Contemporary Art from South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2013); and the South Australian Living Artists Festival, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide (2015). Valamanesh’s work is held in several significant collections in Australia including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.

“The practice of building groups or arrangements has existed in my work for a number of years now and their linear qualities still remind me of the way letters form words or sentences on a page. Also in this more recent work the reference to the way specimens in collections are often presented to us is perhaps relevant.” (excerpt from artist statement, 2007)

[1] Kenneally, Cath. Angela Valamanesh: About being here. Wakefield Press, 2009.


/ 2 August - 10 September, 2023

My studio works explore the often-seductive connections between plants and animals in a variety of media including ceramic, works on paper, painting and mixed media and is underpinned by my ongoing research into the connections that exist between all life forms.  It expands on and explores my fascination with the diversity of all life forms, their similarities and differences. Phenomena such as the bleaching of coral in our reefs, the death of fish in our river systems, sustained drought and devastating fire affect us all. These issues permeate our conscious and subconscious and have an impact on artists in various ways.  While I have resisted making unambiguous statements about the environmental impact of humans on our planet, many of my works including the more recent The Mortician’s Garden series have indirect connections to these problems.

/ 2017



‘Art, philosophy, and science each erect a plane, a sieve, over chaos, a historicotemporal and mutually referential field of inter- acting artworks, concepts, and experiments (respectively), not to order or control chaos but to contain some of its fragments in some small space (a discourse, a work of art, an experiment), to reduce it to some form that the living can utilize without being completely overwhelmed.’

- Grosz, Elizabeth, 2008, Chaos, Territory, Art. Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth, Columbia University Press, Pg 28.

The various works in Almost human began with my observations and drawings from an anatomical textbook for medical students.  Later I branched off into the field of comparative anatomy and detoured into the province of early scientific illustration made using microscopes.  These collected observations have become a deep pool of imagery that I can draw upon.  

I like the idea of fishing in relation to making art - perhaps it’s like the sieve that Elizabeth Grosz alludes to - not knowing what fragment I’ll catch and being surprised sometimes. 


/ 2012

Once again my work takes its cue from scientific illustration, in particular the world of the microscopic.  Airborne, 2011, is based on images of pollen grains.  Seemingly infinite in their variety, each flowering plant requiring pollination by a specific grain, they were first observed and illustrated with the aid of a microscope in the 1600’s by botanists such as Nehemiah Grew.  Ferdinand Bauer’s more recent watercolours painted in the mid 1800’s are, like Grew’s images, still recognisable as the same material portrayed with the use of today’s electron microscope.

In Airborne the cavity formed by plaster casting of a solid form acknowledges transience and loss, impermanence.  Every living flowering plant has had a different pollen grain and the study of extinct flora includes the study of fossilised pollen grains, paleopalynology.  With this in mind I set about making a visual representation of a minute fraction of the invisible material surrounding us:  the world in which we are embedded.

Apart from pollen grains, the other microscopic material represented in this exhibition is the parasite.  Again, of startling variety, and offcourse not always microscopic, parasites, both plant and animal, according to ABC Radio National’s Natasha Mitchell of All in the Mind constitute half of life on earth.  We need some parasites, although not all, and probably not those that manipulate the behaviour of their hosts by co-opting their brains. 

The Earthly garden series with its combination of ceramic and watercolour on paper again relies on the transformation of scientific illustration.  Echoing the phenomenon of collecting, naming, describing, ordering and classifying, ultimately an impossible task when one takes into account the predominance of microscopic life around us and the extinction of many life-forms,the works take the form of poetic distillations.