To A Young Lady, Who Was Fond Of Fortune-Telling

You, Madam, may, with safety go
Decrees of destiny to know;
For at your birth kind planets reign'd,
And certain happiness ordain'd:
Such charms as yours are only given
To chosen favourites of Heaven.
But such is my uncertain state
'Tis dangerous to try my fate;
For I would only know from art
The future motions of your hert,
And what predestinated doom
Attends my love for years to come,
No secrets else that mortals learn
My cares deserve, or life concern;
But this will so important be
I dread to search the dark decree;
For while the smallest hope remains
Faint joys are mingled with my pains.
Vain distant views my fancy please,
And give some intermitting ease;
But should the stars too plainly show
That you have doom'd my endless wo,
No human force or art could bear
The torment of my wild despair.
This secret then I dare not know,
And other truths are useless now.
What matters if, unbless'd in love, 
How long or short my life will prove?
To gratify what low desire
Should I with needless haste inquire,
How great how wealthy I shall be?
Oh, what is wealth or power to me!
If I am happy or undone,
It must proceed from you alone. 

Matthew Prior 

Fern’s new life draws new interest - inMyCommunity - Perth, Western Australia

Artist Fern Petrie’s work is a cultural collision of her combined Maori heritage and her European ancestry.Artist Fern Petrie’s work is a cultural collision of her combined Maori heritage and her European ancestry.

UPROOTING to another country can pull you in unexpected directions.
When accomplished Tuart Hill artist Fern Petrie left her native Auckland in New Zealand for Perth five years ago with just one month’s notice (it was for her husband’s work as a geophysicist), she had to adjust to a new life in a new landscape.
However, a job at an art supplies store set Petrie – a proficient carver and print-maker with an extensive list of solo and group exhibitions to her credit – on a new creative journey.
“I’d never done any painting, but at Jacksons, I worked opposite the oil painting stand, and kept looking at those oil paints every day and then finally, I tried it, and felt a real connection with colour, which I haven’t really experienced a lot of,” she said.
“In Maori design, all the colours are from the land, so you’ve got your ochres, browns, blacks and so on, but the really bright colours – the renaissance kind of colours – are something I’ve only started working on in the past couple of years.
“And in New Zealand, it’s always rainy or windy and changeable, but in Perth, it’s just bright and sunny all the time and I think that brightness has come through in the paintings.”
Petrie’s latest exhibition, Cabinet of Curiosities, is a collection of 40 oil paintings, gouache and sculpture works inspired by photographs from the Victorian era, and designed to entice viewers into a world of mystery and spur their inner curiosities.
At the heart of her work is a cultural collision of her combined Maori heritage – strengthened while studying at Te Toi Hou, Auckland University’s Maori arts department – and her European ancestry.
“I learnt how symbolism plays an important part in Maori art… it’s important to know about your family history and cultural heritage,” she said.

Cabinet of Curiosities is showing at Murano & Gullotti, Subiaco, until December 10.


Cabinet of Curiosities Opening Night

Fern & Nik in front of 'The Sisterhood'

Outside the gallery looking in at the doll 'The Secret Society'

The opening night of my new exhibition ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ was the glorious end to a year long journey. Over forty works were displayed in the Murano & Gullotti gallery in Subiaco, Perth amongst the glittering opulence of Murano chandeliers. My friend Chris wowed gallery goers with his mesmerising contact juggling with crystal balls and the fortune teller read her cards all evening  to the gentle strains of the harpist. As always I was thrilled to see my friends and loved talking to people about the symbolism which informed the creation of this collection. It was a joy to meet those who will soon take pieces home and reconnect with those who have collected in the past.

'Fortune Favors The Brave'

'Destiny's Decree'

'The Curtain Rises'