Sharon Field

On the Verge

FORM Galley
7 October to 30 October, 2014
Opening: Thursday 09 October - 6:00pm

Reflections of a painter (Sharon Field), sculptor (Natalie Maras) and poet (Elizabeth Lawson) coincide in the exhibition, “On the Verge”. Three women from different generations present moments of union, flowering, fading, seeding, dying, struggle and rebirth from the lives of rare and common plants found in the fossil record until today. Some of their works bring to life parts of plants that are largely invisible to the naked eye. Other works provide a memorable look at commonplace plants. With all their works, an exquisite attention to detail prevails.

Each of these artists feels deeply about the natural world in their own unique way, and this coalesces in “On the Verge”, allowing the viewer to consider a single issue from various perspectives. The impact of humankind on the natural world is at the forefront of their thinking. The amazing adaptability of plants in the face of extreme challenges – whether generated by people or nature – fascinates these artists. Even apart from the quality of the artwork, the stories behind their works will be worth a visit to this exhibition.

Each of these artists is expert in her field and their works show not only their passion and dedication for their art, but also their selected mediums. Sharon Field’s exquisitely fine graphite and watercolour works on vellum and paper are world class. Natalie Maras’ use of polymer clay is innovative, exciting and delicately rendered. The much-honoured poetry of Elizabeth Lawson complements these artworks with subtle and beautiful language.

Canberra Times Critic, Peter Haynes, wrote of Sharon Field’s work:

Sharon Field is a well-known and respected botanical artist. Her works are either watercolour (variously on paper or vellum) or graphite (on paper). They are characterised by fidelity to natural form and a beautifully modulated delicacy of touch that speak of the fragility of the denizens of the natural world. They are also imbued with the artist’s unique visual language, a language that subtly elides the scientific with the aesthetic to produce clearly legible botanical images nevertheless redolent of a personal style.

In the watercolours Field’s knowledge of her subject is clearly conveyed through detailed and delicate depictions of her subject plants. The artist’s consummate technical ability cannot be denied throughout this exhibition. Along with this her wish to assert the strength and durability of the plant world in the face of the continuing intrusion or indeed invasion of humanity is also present. The best works (“Opportunity knocks”, “Job done” for example) are invested with a quiet, gentle rhythmic movement nicely underscored by their placement on the monochrome of their paper or vellum ground. Forms appear to float independently and in this assert a sort of pictorial independence that gives “personality” to the forms depicted.

The graphite works carry a simple beauty and insistent presence. The delicacy of the plants is eloquently captured in these graphic delineations that simultaneously evoke endurance in difficult circumstances. The inner rhythms seen in the watercolours occur here too and the best works (“Grasses have a fragile majesty II”, “Arabesque”, and “Whispering husks”) express in a subtly declarative way the continuum of nature and its struggle for (co-)existence in our contemporary world. (Canberra Times 2, Art Review, p. 6. October 27, 2014)

The exhibition was opened by local Aboriginal man, Shane Mortimer.  All 17 of Sharon’s works sold out.

Next Exhibition: From the Red Heart
Previous Exhibition: A Mirror On Memory

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