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  • Vanessa White

Exhibition: 'Perched! Jerry and Ettore's Budgerigars'

I have an exhibition of paintings at Brightspace 8 Martin St, St Kilda. 23rd Nov - 1st Dec 2019

Opening drinks 2-4pm Saturday 23rd Nov.

About the work:

Painting is a unique form of image-making that embeds a range of rich sources into a single, codified work, drawing on the history of art, the knowledge of the context, the time and place of the work and the artist, as well as their skills, training, experience, and concerns in producing an expressive work of art through painting. While a painting is generally a single artefact - visual, sensual, transportable, and when installed, spatial and architectural – yet it is also part of an ongoing continuum of ideas, images, and forms, the suites and series that make up an artist’s body of work.

My current series of paintings is a self-conscious exploration of the personality of birds, specifically budgerigars, as characters set within an abstract field of expressionist, poured paint, and elevated, depicted disproportionately large, on a totemic pedestal, which is imagery based on my interest in the remarkable social, conceptual, and functional ceramic work of Ettore Sottsass. The expressive dynamic of poured paint, with its fluid, osmotic effects, is also something obliquely influenced by listening to the extended music sets of Jerry Garcia.

This work is a melding of the joyous spectrum of Abstract Expressionism, the decorative formalism of Pop-Art, and the wit and humour of a knowing artist working with the imagery of the conundrum of the exotic-ordinary, in my case, rare breeds of common pet birds. Unlike many other forms of animal or bird art, my work is both ironic, artistically playing on sublimated forms of humour, while at the same time, I am deeply engaged with the key subject of work, the budgerigar, having recently become a prize-winning bird breeder. I now better understand the idea of the Budgie’s remarkably diverse personalities, the subject matter which underlies the ideas and content of the painting.

The effect of this work is amusing, engaging, and it gently, enjoyably provokes reflection on our relation to animals and considers our interaction and ongoing relationships with birds. People tend to both identify with and project themselves onto animals, and react sympathetically to the unique personalities of animals, the forms of behaviour that mimic human behaviour and strike a chord with us. In response to this, my paintings, utilising both art history and the sensuality of both paint and the process of painting itself, are designed to reflect the pleasure and sense of wonder people have in their relationships to animals in general, and for me, budgies as special class of pets.

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