‘Nature Table’


Elms Gallery, Surry Hills

Saturday 10th to Sunday 18th August 2019

Curated and presented by Amber Creswell Bell

The premise for this latest body of work began when considering the ‘nature table’ that is constantly evolving in our living room. It is a yearly fixture in our family life and the objects that are placed aren’t always expected but deeply reflect the seasons outside and also the climate within the household. The connections we share between loved ones are threaded into the care and pride bestowed in objects placed on the table by tiny hands. The miniatursed world of the table and by extension, the dollhouse and bush cubbies of my children constantly remind me to look at the world with heightened awareness, with an extra dose of magic, and the extra care that can often be lost in adulthood.

With this latest body of work ‘Nature Table’ I seek to further enmesh natural, domestic and interior worlds through the depiction of still life arrangements of foraged flora and foliage on domestic surfaces. Bodies both earthly and other-worldly captured on one canvas, deepen the connections between people, nature and the universe we inhabit.

Tables become stages in which these connections play out; poetry, language, nature, food, art history and music interlock and overlap on the table’s surface. An open book revealing the female figure appears repeatedly throughout this body of work. The fragility of the human form existing often at the edges of the picture plane or beneath small vases, next to organic shapes or a teetering stack of art history and gardening books asks us to question their connections with each other and furthermore our own connections with objects and the world around and within us.

Circular tables come to represent the moon or the earth, hosting natural cycles and cosmic rhythms. Living in the country has taught me to honour seasonal change, to work with it rather than fight it. From late Summer, through Autumn and early Winter these works capture the specifically cool temperate region where we live both in colour, mood and through the beauty of the species depicted.

In today’s world of political unrest and the uncertainty of our future in regard to climate change it is this beauty and respect we need to cultivate rather than being gripped by grief and numbness. In my work it is important that I celebrate beauty to remind myself and the viewers of my work of the magic and care we need to foster every day to preserve and better this world for future generations to enjoy. While the paintings may feel overly domestic, it’s in these spaces and at our kitchen tables that love, change and action begins.

Elizabeth Barnett, August 2019

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NATURE TABLE | Elizabeth Barnett
Curated & presented by Amber Creswell Bell
@ Elms Gallery
Level 1, 393 Crown Street  Surry Hills NSW 2010
Exhibition runs: 10 – 18 August 2019
Opening reception: Saturday 10th August, midday.
Gallery hours: Wed to Sat, 10 – 5, Sun 11– 4 (or by appointment)
Contact: amber@ambercreswell.com/ 0414 747 761