This project was inspired by the story of Empress Josephine Bonaparte, and her fascination with Australian botany in the 1800s, evidenced in her Australian plants and animals collection at her Malmaison glasshouse and gardens, in Paris.
In “PlantarumFeminam”, Katherine investigates the unlikely emergence of women botanists of this era, and the relationship between women and nature, and the dichotomy of the ‘wild’ and tamed’ concepts around ‘the feminine’. As the study of plants has historically been a male domain, this shift in science was a rather radical form of feminism.
Plantarum Feminam encompasses Katherine’s interest in the start of the Romantic period in Europe, and the rise of female botanists around the globe, who bridged a predominantly male domain, that of science. The notion that a woman of that era had the potential to be 'fashioned' by herself, handmade, not merely serving a man’s ego, or only via 'feminine' ideals, is a source of inspiration for Katherine’s paintings and sculptures.