7th October 2022

Three female artists from Tasmanian bring their unique vision to this exhibition about the animal. Bec Watson, Elizabeth Barsham and Betty Nolan are very different artists. While all paint in oils the works describe very different animal worlds.

Bec Watson is an accomplished user of the palette knife. Using thick impasto oils in We See she creates a high toned light filled space where a donkey tows her family across a reflective shallow lake. The sun sets while the human cargo patiently watches the ass tow them to safety. In Humility the man is below the donkey, his placement suggesting gratitude and respect. It’s up to the viewer to guess what stress, metaphorical or literal is behind the work. Accompanying the paintings is a set of exquisite portrait miniatures of her family, both equine and human set on tall plinths that bring us face to face with a different sentience.

Elizabeth Barsham is the Tasmanian Gothic painter. Across decades of painting she has woven a rich world of mutable form. Bull kelp morphs into landscape and animals in an environment that is fecund and responsive. Her colours are like gems and the surfaces sensuous as they describe vibrant life that could only come from Tasmania.

Betty Nolan uses an affection for mid century modern ceramics to create her own unique silhouettes. Inspired also by the Bauhaus painters she takes the circle(as a disc) and cantilevers it into sculptures of horses. Some are like flying saucers, some almost Cycladic but all are female. Somewhere along the sculptural journey they become autobiographical and the fillies, mothers and matrons are about her stages of being a female. The accompanying oil paintings are still lifes of the ceramic horses.