Huntsman Spider, Holconia montana 2011
Huntsman Spider, Holconia montana
watercolour on Kelmscott vellum
Dimensions (H x W x D)
20 x 13 cm (print size); 33 x 26 cm (frame size)
Signed in pencil lower right
City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection
© Courtesy of the artist
Botanical and natural history artist Dianne Emery created ‘Huntsman Spider, Holconia montana’ for the exhibition ‘Crepuscular’, curated by John Kean and held at the City Gallery between May and July 2011. It was one of several artworks that illustrated and interpreted Melbourne’s fauna at dusk, a time when certain species sir and come to prevail over their urban territory.
Emery’s watercolour on Kelmscott velum has all the precision and rigour of a scientist that she typically brings to her art practice, but it also demonstrates a more playful, interpretive approach than classic science illustrations embody. In this work, her huntsman backs into the top corner of the painting, just as a huntsman backs towards the ceiling when eyeballed too intensely as one considers removing it. The soft shadow on which it sits not only accentuate the spider’s legs, but it makes this much-maligned arachnid surprisingly lifelike and ready to scuttle.
Emery’s watercolour ‘Adult Greengrocer Cicada, Cyclochila australasiae’ was also shown in ‘Crepuscular’ and is part of the Art and Heritage Collection.