Jan Palethorpe - 'Vanishing Point'
Wednesday 22 March - Saturday 15 April 2023
When Jan Palethorpe takes up an idea, her commitment to it is profound. In Vanishing Point, she has taken up nothing less than the state of the world – or more precisely, the Earth – in our time. It’s a theme that unites her genuine love of nature, her awareness of the challenges that face humanity, her deep knowledge of art history and the magic of her own art practice which brings together these concerns in a kind of apotheosis that has been decades in the making.
Palethorpe’s interest in the natural world has always been evident in her work. A decade before she won the 2005 Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize (Works on Paper), she was exploring her relationship to the land through artist’s residencies in the Kimberley, where she lived for three years and witnessed the deep connection to Country of the local Indigenous peoples. There she saw the devastating impact of colonisation on the land and her credentials as an artistic eco-warrior have been developing ever since. Notable examples of her commitment to this cause are her 2008-9 Imago exhibitions depicting fragile phasmids, case moths and cocoons, and her 2015 works Rising Tide and Hollow Angel on the Rock which symbolically depicted disappearing angels, the remaining parts of their ethereal forms rendered in exquisitely detailed pen-and-ink illustrations of landscapes under threat from climate change.
(Opening paragraphs of catalogue essay written by Bruce Beswick)