Islands & Rocks

Jo Darbyshire is a mid-career Western Australian painter whose work is represented in significant Australian art collections including the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Murdoch University, Bank West, Royal Perth Hospital, Department of Culture and the Arts, Edith Cowan University and the Cities of Stirling and Wanneroo.

Art Exhibition previously on at Catherine Asquith Gallery (Archived) in Fitzroy-Collingwood precinct, Victoria, Australia.
From Tuesday 10 April 2012 to Saturday 28 April 2012
Launch Saturday 14 April 2012, 2 to 4pm

Rain on the string of islands image Waterscape image Underwater Gold Rock image Three Elements: Rock, Weed, Current image Shoalwater image Crossing the Bar image Three Islands (Red) image Shooting Star Island image Seaweed image Seal Island (Glass) image Point Peron (Green Hand) image Limestone Coast image Green Islands image Rain on one island image Night Island #1 (Moon) image Night Island #2 (Red Coral) image Bali Island image

Published by anonymous on Saturday 24 March 2012.
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Her work has also been selected for inclusion in many curated and award group exhibitions, notably the Joondalup Art Award (2004 and 2005), the Bank West Contemporary Art Prize where she won the open prize in 2005, and most recently she was a finalist in the Fleurieu (Water) Art Award (2011).

Darbyshire has been the recipient of research grants awarded from the Western Australian Ministry of Culture and the Arts and the Australia Council. In 2007, she was juried into the international thematic residency Imaginary Places, at the Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada). Darbyshire received both her Bachelor of Fine Arts and her Master of Creative Arts from the Curtin University of Technology

Artist Statement

Consider three worlds, which meet around an island:

•the first world is the Underwater realm where everything is liquid and tidal, where place is defined by being shallow or deep; •the second world is the Earth, where inhabitants breath air, fly and feel the sun and wind; and •the third world is the Imaginary world of dreams, knowledge, memory, language and meaning.

An island is a place where these three worlds meet. Islands also embody dualities: barrenness and fertility, wildness and sanctuary. They require a journey to visit and a journey requires imagination and engagement with both the sea and the island.

My work for this exhibition was initially inspired by a walk across a shallow sandbar to Penguin Island in Shoalwater Bay, Western Australia. The water on the sand bar came up to my thighs; on either side of me the sandbar gave way to sea-grass fields and the limestone reefs of the Bay. It was early in the morning, the safest time to walk the bar, and it was magical to walk across the sea to the Island. As in past exhibitions my work references the social and environmental history of water bodies, but my paintings also aim to suggest their sensory and poetic nature.

In this exhibition I have focused on the chain of small islands and rocks in the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, starting from Cape Peron, named after François Péron, a French naturalist who was on the expedition with Nicolas Baudin along the western coast of Australia in 1801.

Although my paintings may reference the shape of a certain island or rock I have been more interested to explore the symbolic nature of islands and the reefs to which they are attached.

I am also attracted to Lakes, especially those found on mountains and the strange sense that they, too are islands in their own way. Perhaps it’s because both provide a stillness, a vantage point of from which to take stock of the self.

For all enquiries including further images and/or a copy of the artist’s CV, please contact Catherine Asquith Gallery, (03) 9417 2828 or email

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