BIRDS, frogs and possums peep hesitantly from inside jars, while other animals are etched onto pages torn from old, mysterious books.
Bird in a Bell Jar is Kati Thamo’s latest exhibition, and the walls of Turner Galleries are lined with her muted canvases.
Born in Perth to Hungarian parents, Thamo taps into her ancestral past to create dark fairy tales – weaving personal stories and grand narratives.
Dark fairy tales
The delicately drawn bell jars, and their fragile inhabitants, seem to question whether the animals are being protected from mankind, or are victims of urbanisation.
“It’s the pervasive sense we are feeling about the precariousness of the natural world…affected by human activity, even in remote places,” Thamo says.
Her art looks at how the passage of time impacts our perception of the natural world.
“Consider the fading of memory: how in the end we are left with traces, remnants and outlines.”
Living in the South West, Thamo laments the loss of native bushland and the increasing number of houses on smaller blocks with courtyards instead of gardens.
“We are neatifying everything…there are no corridors for the animals.”
Thamo says disappearing nature is a theme many artists are exploring in their art.
“Art strong on environmental things – a sense of paradise lost.”
Thamo uses a variety of printing techniques in her works, including linocut, woodcut, etching, collagraph and solvent transferred collages.
She studied art at Edith Cowan University and the Hobart School of Art, where she majored in printmaking.
She exhibited nationally and her art is held in numerous private and public art collections in Australia and overseas.
Bird in a Bell Jar is at Turner Galleries on William Street in Northbridge until August 4.
by JENNY D’ANGER