Fish and other things
5 March - 30 March 2019
DEIRDRE BEAN presents Fish and other things, a cabinet of curiosities that delights in the spoils of collecting and the catch.
From delicate compositions of Bracken fern and a cicada, to a John Dory with two shells, or a heaped pile of Lantana and a spider, DEIRDRE BEAN collects the natural world. This attention to the minutiae of her surroundings has been ongoing in her work, as she writes, “since my childhood I have been inspired by the natural world. Our family home was surrounded by pristine bush. The nearby beach and river were an idyllic playground. My father was an expert fisherman, and it seemed we had an endless supply of food from the sea. My recent paintings are inspired by those times.”
The simple couplings of fish with plates and utensils spark musings of potential feasts to come. For BEAN the works celebrate the moments of shared feasting at the family table and reinforce the idea of fish as food.
Painting with watercolour on paper or vellum, the traditional method used by natural history illustrators, BEAN’s works balance precision with flare and imagination. Of her process she writes, “my subjects are drawn from life, painstakingly measured and colour matched. The paintings can be viewed as still life studies.”
Countering the scientific exactitude of BEAN’s process is the humour in the compositions. Flowers positioned alongside Chinese inspired ceramics depict the stories from the artist’s every day. From the white faced herons, residents of the mangroves in Throsby Creek that visit her back garden, to the wattlebirds that leave droppings on her car, the watercolours are rich with narrative and wit.
Alongside Fish and other things, DEIRDRE BEAN has a major exhibition, Australia’s mangroves: living on the edge at Tweed Regional Gallery, which is open until 17 March 2019.