11 November 2009

Unease in the foliage

The following article appeared in The Mercury magazine 7 November, 2009

There is always something slightly unnerving about Elizabeth Barsham's oil paintings although such a feeling often defies analysis.

Just out of sight of the evocative rural scene or the smiling family group some unpleasantness is possibly lurking behind the sinuous foliage.

Alternatively it can be in the form of entrails of once noble trees but there are also adults with sinister saws and occasional forlorn, vulnerable children. The suspended reality of her many strangely compelling scenes have an added drop of the macabre - perhaps because Tasmania, for a complexity of reasons, has elements of perversity and eccentricity; and that is not just the weather.

Maybe Barsham's memories of the Tasmanian environment of yesteryear have been darkened by its subsequent degradation?

Clyde Selby

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