HSC Visual Art Resources

A resource site for visual art teachers and secondary students completing their HSC in the Visual Arts


Crystallised Menagerie

Kate Rohde
Crystallised Menagerie 2009
mixed media 120.0 x 120.0 x 85.0 cm

Kate Rohde
Crystallised Menagerie (installation view) 2009
mixed media
120.0 x 120.0 x 85.0 cm

Kate Rhode, Australian Artist, born 1980 Melbourne, Australia.

Rohde’s artmaking contains dioramas of taxidermy animals and landscapes contained within elaborate (Baroque styled) display cases that reference both current natural museums and the 16th century wunderkammers, otherwise known as cabinets of curiosities. These cabinets or cases often contained unusual specimens or species of animal of fauna and flora.

Artworks are constructed out of bright synthetic materials rather than the natural, organic materials we might expect to find in a museum display case. The creatures morph into new hybrids decorated with rice, fake fur, foam, glitter, plasticine, craft supplies, silicone and multi-coloured resins.  These cheap, mass-produced synthetic materials reference our contemporary disposable lifestyles as kitsch tounge in cheek contradictions.Interpretations of botanical and geological specimens reference our social attitudes to nature and preservation.

“Rohde invites you to enter a realm of fantasy, motivating contemporary discussions regarding ecology, extinction, taxidermy and preservation.”                                

 -Karen Woodbury Gallery

“I have quite a large collection of natural history books that I browse through for ideas. I particularly [like] historical engravings of animals and plants where they look a bit wacky and wrong, like the artists are having the thing described to them, rather than ever having seen them for them self.”

-Kate Rohde

“In Rohde’s installation the artistic sensibilities and excesses of the seventeenth and eighteenth century European upper class collide with the flimsy aesthetic of twenty-first century sweat shop merchandise found in a suburban two dollar shop.”

-Justine Khamara (Artlink)

Live forever no.1 2010

Kate Rohde
Live Forever no.1 2010
mixed media
32.0 x 28.0 x 38.0 cm

Kate Rohde
Lime Green (Bird of Paradise) 2006-2007
mixed media
77 x 42 x 43 cm



  • Kate Rohde, born Melbourne 1980.
  • Bachelor of Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts with Honours in 2001


  • 3D sculptures exhibited as installations
  • reflect ideas associated with natural museum dioramas or display cases through the use of reinterpretation of hybrid forms created with synthetic materials.


  • Displayed to a general public through commercial and public art galleries around the world.
  • Exhibited in curatorial exhibitions and collected by galleries and private collectors.


  • Explores environmental and scientific concerns and developments
  • social statements of todays highly disposable lifestyle
  • impacts of consumerism
Kate Rohde Coral Vanitas 2008

Kate Rohde
Coral Vanitas 2008
mixed media, two parts
overall 208 x 118 x 80 cm

Kate Rohde
Flourish 2008
Installation view



  • reminds the viewer of historical museum dioramas, often containing endangered or extinct flora or fauna
  • evokes imaginative hybrid creations
  • creates a feeling of awareness towards environmental issues and concerns, as well as scientific advancements and new technologies


  • 3d sculptural artworks, sometimes represented as an installation
  • bright, hyper real colours, rather than natural tones
  • strong use of craft materials, faux fur, glitter, paper, rice, plastic flowers, plasticine as well as other synthetic materials such as silicone and resin
  • use of symbolism – depictions of museological documentation
  • artificial representations of natural materials


  • raises questions about human consumerism
  • western traditions of collecting, classifying and displaying
  • influenced by 16th century wunderkammers, cabinets of curiosities
  • explores baroque designs and traditions


  • reinterprets display cases from historical natural museums
  • replaces natural fibres and materials with man-made synthetic products, particularly “craft” type materials
  • parodies notions of environmental preservation against our highly disposable lifestyles
  • devoid of natural tones, colours and materials
  • challenges notions of traditional art materials by using predominately craft materials
Kate Rohde Pink Cobra

Kate Rohde
Pink Cobra 2009
mixed media
72.0 x 35.0 x 30.0 cm


Kate Rohdes cites her influences among Meissen porcelain, baroque, rococo and flemish patterns and painters. Among these Rohdes is also influenced by contemporary artists such as Karen Kilimnik, Harry Armanious and Lara Merrett.

Along with the use of craft materials and sythetic products, Rohdes also has a strong interest in resin, casting many of the pieces with her artworks out of this material, mixing in bright, hyper-real colours. “I’ve always had a fascination with transparent materials so I was really drawn to working with resin, any transparent artwork or industrial design is captivating to me! It’s very versatile and can be manipulated in a multitude of ways”-Kate Rohde.

Kate Rohde
Installation view 2007

Kate Rohde
Installation view 2005
West Space Gallery

Relevant Links:









Kate Rohde Antlers

Kate Rohde
Antlers 2009
mixed media
small: 27.0 x 20.0 x 15.0 cm, medium: 38.0 x 29.0 x 30.0 cm, large: 45.0 x 32.0 x 25.0 cm

Kate Rohde Flowering Skulls


This entry was posted on 13/06/2012 by in All, Australian, Installation, Sculpture.