Bushwalking for beginners is Elizabeth Barsham’s latest solo exhibition of eccentric Tasmanian painting. Those who know her are aware that she is a committed bushwalker and that nature in its many forms is the stage on which her peculiar dramas are played. Like a surreal diorama peopled with glossy varnished characters each oil painting is a different aspect of the view. Dark caves, fatal waterways and sheer eyeball invested cliffs are the landscape.
This is a surreal dream time where arcane childhood toys lurk near the sleep walker (Bushwalking for Beginners). We see the detritus of fallen civilisations looking on as a nature god reigns over a court of mutant acolytes (Shane’s Grassy Oppy). Still, love blossoms between a smitten tree spirit and a ghost bride (The Country Bride) while the four horsepersons of the apocalypse find time to engage in some retail therapy (The Four Horsepersons of the Shopping Mall). It’s not all bad on the map of Elizabeth Barsham.
Influences are Surreal precursers such as Bosch and Breughel followed by Dali, De Chirico, Tucker, Gleeson, Blade Runner and illustrated children’s books but the weaving together of a remarkable world is all her own. The sublime oil technique and elegant drawing convince us that here really is a world and we have only to put our foot across the threshold to join the show.
Elizabeth Barsham is a major Australian painter.
There is no other artist like her in Tasmania and we are fortunate to host an artist of such unique vision and remarkable artistic tenacity.