Brenda Walsh’s complex, multi-layered paintings stand firmly and unashamedly within the tradition of Art History. Iconographically, they teem with references to and direct quotations from Medieval and Flemish masters (Hans Memling and Hieronymosh Bosch), the Italian Renaissance (Michelangelo and Masaccio) and Nineteenth Century Romanticism (Caspar David Friedrich and Goya), amongst others.

Art Exhibition previously on at red gallery in Victoria, Australia.
From Wednesday 03 September 2014 to Saturday 20 September 2014
Launch Wednesday 03 September 2014, 6-8pm

Brenda Walsh, The Reckoning, 2014, oil on linen, 51x38cm image Brenda Walsh, Anguish, 2014, oil on linen, 53 x 35cm image

Published by red gallery on Thursday 28 August 2014.
Contact the publisher.

Stylistically and formally, Walsh is strongly influenced by Medieval and Renaissance art, some of the works here echoing the format of the Christian triptych.

In each of the paintings in this exhibition a single domestic animal – a sheep or lamb or, in some cases, a cow – struggles desperately to hold its head above the surface of a mass of water – perhaps a sea or floodwaters. Upon this water-mass are numerous quotations from Art History and images of water-based catastrophes, from the Biblical Flood to the sinking of the Titanic and more contemporary disasters – suggesting issues such as rising sea-levels due to global warming and the tragedy of refugees lost at sea.

Walsh’s paintings are, however, never as bleak as these ideas might suggest. Rather she works with a light touch of sardonic humour. In a recent body of work, The Fall (red gallery, 2014) a range of anthropomorphised Australian animals were cast as the superior beings clad in ecclesiastic robes, watching the fall of humanity with pious indifference. And so here, while we feel compassion for the drowning animals, we are intrigued by and must admire the multitude of iconographic detail.