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Under the Pear Tree

Many an afternoon were spent reading books
under the pear tree growing in the backyard
of my suburban family home.

An exhibition of large and small fabric art dolls,
paper mache boats, water colours
and mixed media paintings
by the artist Grace Garton.

This exhibition brings together several series of works inspired by children’s literature from around the world and includes a small tribute to the Australian artist Charles Blackman and Czechoslovakian animator, Jan Švankmajer, for their reinterpretation of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.

“My idea to produce a series of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland paintings and art dolls first began in 1990 when I roughly sketched out designs for art dolls and three-dimensional constructions. But Alice has been a part of my life since early childhood when I first read the book and was surprised to read that Alice thought she may land in Australia as she fell down the rabbit hole!

I also remember a most brilliant colour dream of the Mad Hatter’s tea party and aged 10 I received a Alice In Wonderland watercolour set.

In 1982 I purchased the first edition of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland illustrated by Charles Blackman. Charles Blackman produced a series of 40 paintings between the years of 1956 to 1957. The story resonated with Blackman as he saw similarities between the character of Alice lost in wonderland and to his wife and muse Barbara Blackman, who was losing her sight. Charles Blackman watched his wife as she adjusted to her surroundings like Alice finding her way in a strange world. These paintings are beautiful and dreamlike and contain the artist’s personal symbology.

Jan Svankmajer used stop motion animation and live-action to create his film ‘Something From Alice’. This film portrays a courageous young girl struggling to fit into a dark and foreboding world, where ordinary objects come to life and threaten. Svankmajer’s Alice is much darker than Blackman’s paintings but both share a childlike curiosity of manmade versus the natural world and surrealist imagery.

Using Blackman’s Alice paintings as a springboard I have created several large art dolls and intertwined an Australian theme to some of the works. Playing with the idea of Alice’s adventures down-under. In particular are two large art dolls titled, The Tweedle, based on Tweedledum and Tweedledee, are portrayed as Bondi lifesavers, sporting red and gold caps and budgie smugglers.

Other characters making their appearance in this exhibition have been sourced from a book called The Children’s Treasury Of Literature In Colour, a big red tome that was presented to my two brothers and myself by our primary school teacher in 1972. Full of stories by the Grimm’s brothers and Aesop’s Fables, Uncle Remus and Mother Goose nursery rhymes.”
Grace Garton

Grace Garton is represented by Despard Gallery.

Wednesday 4 – Tuesday 17 December 2019
10:00am – 4:00pm daily

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Friday 6 December 2019, 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Exhibition to be opened by Trishia Swanton

Saturday 7 December 2019, 10:00am – 4:00pm
Grace will be demonstrating the process of art doll making from sketch to finished painted piece.

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Image Credits: Grace Garton

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