Clare McFarlane’s beautiful paintings are multi-layered explorations of cultural structures, history, patterns, beauty, craftsmanship and her Australian feminine identity. They evoke memories of the past by drawing on the lyrical patterns of the William Morris Company (founded in the 1860s in England) combined with the detailed depiction of birds, butterflies, insects and plants native to Australia. Clare stated that the appearance of these Australian elements “is sudden; arriving or emerging from a Victorian sense of beauty and nature – tamed and domesticated – in structured patterns.” She views these patterns “as a metaphor for a romanticised past that influences the social and cultural constructions of feminine identity and the search for an Australian identity. Whereas Australian identity is commonly represented in the masculine, my work offers a ‘feminine’ perspective.”

Her work also references the collection and examination of natural specimens, particularly those of the 19th century when theories of evolution stimulated scientific research and much debate. She noted that “many wealthier and/or educated men would indulge in the pastime of collecting natural specimens and curious cultural objects, some with pretensions to scientific endeavour, others making important observations and others still as a symbol of status.” These collections were often called 'cabinets of curiosity'. The detailed depiction and collection of specimens, especially flora, was also taken up by educated women during this period. Clare’s work pays a gentle homage to these women, their work and their domestic interiors.

Many of the flora and fauna depicted in this exhibition of small-scaled paintings are from Clare’s own humble collection, gathered over many years as objects of curiosity in shape and form. Others are from her collection of photographs depicting specimens and collections thereof. Many of Clare’s own specimens have become damaged through age and accident. She collects only the already dead, and thus the already fragile. She has a great curiosity about the notion of collecting and the social reasons behind it. As science’s new forays into a greater understanding of the natural world continues, we are changing the way in which we look at nature and our understanding of it. She stated that, “like quantum physics, in observing a particle, we inherently change the nature of that particle. I have used the aesthetic of the scientific specimen to some degree to enhance this notion of scientific enquiry, but it is also a cultural practice, this method of understanding and observing, which colours all our ideas of the natural object.”

Clare is an emerging artist who has a Masters and an Honours Degree in Fine Art from Curtin University, where she recently also completed her Graduate Diploma in Cultural Heritage. This is her second solo exhibition. Her work can be found in the City of Perth Collection, Cruthers Collection, John Curtin Collection, Joondalup Hospital, Bureau of Statistics, and Alinta Gas.

 

*prices valid 2004

beautiful ruin
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD

sample- donkey orchid
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
fragile understanding
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
andromeda
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
perished
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
transition
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
exhibit
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
damaged specimens
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
mortus
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
obscura
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280
dragonfly-aeshnidae
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
arbitrary folly
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
fragility
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
sample- bee orchid
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
perseus
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
simulacra
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
curious detail
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
exemplar
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
ephemeral
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280
sample- spider orchid
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
curious archetype
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
wondrous strange
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
fragmented
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
southern sky- late summer
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
remnants
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
southern sky- early winter
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
cicada- cicadae
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
crusader beetles
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
spider wasp
acrylic on board
22.5 x 12cm
2004
$280 SOLD
cultural objects
acrylic on canvas
80 x 45cm
2004
$900 SOLD
ritual display [detail]
acrylic on board
60 x 22.2cm
2004
$600
material culture [detail]
acrylic on board
60 x 22.2cm
2004
$600
civilising ritual
acrylic on canvas
80 x 45cm
2004
$900
family buprestidae- jewel beetles [detail]
acrylic on canvas
100x100cm
2004
$1500 SOLD
family hycaendae- blues + coppers [detail]
acrylic on canvas
100x100cm
2004
$1500
sacred acacia
acrylic on board
24 x 22.5cm
2004
$425 SOLD
symbolic acacia
acrylic on board
24 x 22.5cm
2004
$425 SOLD
navigating the milky way
acrylic on canvas
80 x 110cm
2004
$1400
mapping the swan river
acrylic on canvas
80 x 110cm
2004
$1400

This page is an archived record of this exhibition. Prices are valid for the year of exhibition only.

Please contact the gallery or check the stockroom to confirm current availability and prices.

All artwork reproductions are © the artist. Images may not be used without permission from turner galleries and the artist.

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