At the close of this year my thoughts have turned towards art prizes. I had great success with the last prize I entered The City of Albany Art Prize where my work 'Forget Me Not' was chosen as a finalist.
Over the past few days I have been researching the prizes which I would like to enter and the Sir John Sulman Prize is enticing. For a long time now I have been yearning to paint something brooding alive with movement and energy. Recently I thought back to the time I spent in London and the impression the work of Henry Fuseli made on me. His dark moody dreamscapes peopled with waif-like apparitions and violent episodes of action and emotion appeals greatly. This work featuring the Greek goddess Hera will be the largest I have ever attempted to date and I have reconciled with the fact that three months will not be adequate to finish such a piece. I will not rush this work but enter it next year and hope for the best.
As early as the Renaissance the term ‘cabinet of curiosities’ has been synonymous with power and discovery. Intriguing collections of natural history, art and the bizarre amassed by the wealthy offered glimpses into the secrets of the world and shone a tantalising light into the unknown regions of the human mind. In this exhibition I have formed a symbolic cabinet of curiosities by amassing a collection of items which allude to moments of wonder in my own life. Connections to Masonry, magic and divination are referenced strongly in this group of forty new works revealing how each of these experiences left an indelible mark on my early awareness. These episodes raised questions in my young mind as to how much I really knew about the deeper aspects of life and the world in which I was living.
Oil paintings, gouache, pen and ink, sculpture and the transfer of images onto butterflies and moths offer the viewer a tantalising array of objects with which to whet the desire for discovery. Each painting is based on an image from my growing catalogue of Victorian cabinet cards and is displayed alongside the original. These are executed in a style which references the Renaissance love of storytelling through symbolism and colour and the overdrawn insects displayed under glass look back at the much loved storybooks of my childhood and represent the joy of momentary wonder frozen in time like the flash of a memory upon the eye of the mind.
Fern Petrie, November 2011
|'The Star of the Evening' - 'Destiny's Decree' - 'Aurora'|
|'Playing Soldiers' - ' Foresight' - 'The Unopened Letter' - 'Adventurer'|
|'Secrets of the Immortals'|
|'Dawn' - 'Dark Providence'|
'Walking with the Wind' - 'Entreaty'