CAPTAIN COOK AND MOTHER CAREY'S CHICKENS 2015
On the 3rd of May 1770 James Cook took up and ate a roasted shellfish from a small fire. He stood in what was to be called Botany Bay, home of the Gweagal people. The people whose fire it was had fled at his approach. He left trinkets for them...a trade, as in his words he ‘tasted of their cheer.’
I have used this ‘trade’ as a metaphor for Great Britain taking possession of the Great Southern Land Terra Nullius, with neither treaty nor negotiation with the indigenous inhabitants.
Where possible I have used the words of James Cook and Joseph Banks to describe these paintings of Endeavour’s voyage from Plymouth to New South Wales.
Mother Carey’s Chickens was the name coined by superstitious 18th Century sailors for Storm Petrols. They were often seen swooping around the Endeavour, and thought by the crew to be harbingers of death at sea.
Courtesy of the artist 2015
SARAH MITCHELL: REEF EDGY BLUES 2015
The beautiful Zooplankton of the Great Barrier Reef is my inspiration. It is the building block on which the health of the reef depends, and it is in slow decline.
This work celebrates some of the delicate creatures of the reef most susceptible to warming water, human and natural disturbance.
Uneditioned hand coloured lino cuts, calico wall hangings and wooden bowls make up the work.
Courtney of the artist 2015
SARAH MITCHELL: STILL LIVES & VANDEMONIANS 2013
Still Life, Natura Morta, Dead Nature!
I started this series of hand coloured linocuts with an Australian take on the ‘still life’ in the most conventional understanding of the term. Native Parrots, fish and plants mixed with some exotica, including that misleading fish, the red herring!
This led me to more disturbing Dead Nature. The still lives of extinct Australian creatures, most notable being the Thylacine. His lonely presence haunts a few of the images. Joining him is another Tasmanian extinct in the wild, Pedder Galaxias. The last Paradise Parrot ever seen now lies in a small draw in the Queensland Museum. I have portrayed this parrot as a taxidermied Victorian era relic, trapped forever under a glass dome.
Courtesy of the artist 2013
SARAH MITCHELL: ROCOCO EROTIC & THE PERFUMED AVIARY 2012
This collection of hand coloured linocuts takes a lighthearted look at erotica during Europe’s Baroque and decadent days at the end of the 18th century.
The Rococo aesthetic fueled my imagination for this work. I find Rococo fashion and frivolity very appealing. The sexual innuendo in the design of the 18th Century corset, the elaborate frock like frockcoat, big white powdered wigs and the male dandy were all my inspiration.
Social revolution and sexual liberation with the birth of the Libertines defined those years, culminating in the glorious decadence of the Court of Marie Antoinette. The pleasure capital of Europe was Venice, birthplace in 1725 of that great lover of women, Giacomo Casanova. The notorious Marquis de Sade after whom the term sadism was coined was born in Paris in 1740.
My use of the ‘Exquisite Corpse’ technique to illustrating the excesses of the Marquis de Sade comes from an old parlor game. One of three people draws a head on a piece of paper, folding it out of sight and passing it to the next person to draw the torso, and so on…
The technique of hand-colouring linocuts which have been masked and sometimes require over printing with a second plate, gives me scope to reproduce the Rococo eroticism of my imagination!
Courtesy of the artist 2012
THE PERFUMED AVIARY 2012
A collection of hand-coloured linocuts of exotic birds, now sadly extinct, make up The Perfumed Aviary. In life these mostly female birds displayed some very human characteristics! Short poems extend the humour, tragedy and self-absorption of their personalities. So, this work is an exploration the sometimes dark, but always intriguing human psyche.
Courtesy of the artist 2012
BRINGING NATURE TO THE TABLE 2010
An exploration in linocuts and poetry of the mouthwatering and the unpalatable aspects of what it takes to bring nature to the table.
Courtesy of the artist 2010