Artist Elizabeth Willing, 2019 ANAT AWRI (Australian Wine Research Institute) Resident, during Taste Testing. Photograph courtesy ANAT.

Artist Elizabeth Willing, 2019 ANAT AWRI (Australian Wine Research Institute) resident, during taste testing. Photograph courtesy ANAT.


In 2019, ANAT and the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) formed a partnership that built upon ANAT’s Synapse residency program through the establishment of new opportunities for research collaborations between artists and scientists.

The ANAT AWRI residency offered an artist the opportunity to work with the Institute’s Flavour Chemistry and Sensory Research teams.


Artist Elizabeth Willing explored the synaesthetic harmony between the flavour of wines and the visual aesthetics of still and moving image. Transforming the sensory data of wines into a ‘material language’, the residency considers how the intangibility of taste might be translated into visual forms, adding to the imbiber’s somatic experience.

Read Elizabeth’s residency blog

Elizabeth proposed “if a visual image can be developed to match a wine, perhaps some of those subtleties within wine that I have been hearing about can come alive to the non-connoisseur. And then also we could have an image that represents what is in the bottle, a visual embodiment of flavour, not just what the winemaker wants us to feel through their style of branding.”

The residency resulted in fascinating visual artworks relating to specific red wines. During a series of tests with professional wine judges, trained tasters, and just regular wine drinkers the wines were assessed for preference with the matching or non-matching artwork present, to better understand how the wine consumption experience can be enhanced through the setting.

In preparing the study Elizabeth was intrigued by  the conflation of scientific and creative approaches. “I do not believe these two investigative approaches to be completely opposed, so much as having different processes”. Adding she’s been “ fortunate, no privileged, to work in a team who continues to remind “ her “that they are happy for the project to err on the creative side, putting aside the need for watertight scientific rigour.”

The art pieces produced will be incorporated into an exhibition, and the results of the sensory testing will be summarised in publications shortly. Elizabeth has also created graphics for disseminating research outcomes in her time at the AWRI, including a visualisation of the grapevine seasonal cycle.

Financial Review article by Max Allen, February 2020

VAULT Magazine feature by Hamish Sawyer, February 2020

Elizabeth Willing is a Brisbane based visual artist. She completed her honours in Fine Arts (Visual Arts) and in 2019 completed a Masters of Fine Art (research) at Queensland University of Technology. Recipient of the Australia Council Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Elizabeth has undertaken residencies at Helsinki International Art Program HIAP, New England Regional Art Museum Armidale and Metro Arts Brisbane. Exhibitions and concept meals have been held in Australia and overseas at Tolarno Galleries Melbourne, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin, Trapholt Museum of Art and Design Denmark, and Gallery of Modern Art Brisbane.