Not Just a Still Life

Artist Heather Byrne is fascinated by Magpie Geeses, with two pieces currently in the 'Not Just a Still Life' exhibition IMAGE: 'Can I have this Dance?' (detail) by Heather Burne

The latest exhibition to grace the walls at Sylvia Ditchburn Fine Art Gallery is one of the gallery’s much-loved themed group exhibitions.

Drawing on the exhibition title, Not Just a Still Life, artists were invited to interpret the phrase in any way that tickled their fancy, and the result is eclectic mix of everything from ‘bin chickens’ to fairies.

Heather Byrne is a regular participant in these exhibitions and said she was forever surprised by the variety these themed shows elicit from artists.

“Sylvia always has quirky titles and we always seem to deliver something a little unexpected,” said Heather. “My [painting of a] flying magpie goose was a still life in a moment of time, I snapped him in flight and the same with the three magpie geese looking at you, standing still and going ‘oh yes, well?’… The other artists did all sorts of takes on it; Sylvia’s took a snap of Townsville from the Red Baron [sea plane] and Annette Ireland did a still life with fairies which is cute.

“That’s one of the good things about [a group exhibition], I think it’s fun. You do things for a group exhibition and you think ‘what I’ve done is pretty good’ and when you get there there’s always things that make you think ‘Whoa! Why didn’t I think of that?’

Heather harbours a long-held love of birds, particularly Magpie Geese, thanks to a peculiar run in she’d had at Wild World in Cairns many years ago.

“After running around for a while I thought ‘I’m a bit puffed’ so a lay down on the ground and had a rest and a magpie goose came up and settled down on my back and I couldn’t get up,” Heather recalls. “That started me looking at them. To a degree they’re half tame – or at least have accepted that they have to co-exist alongside humans – and if you’re anywhere where they are, if you sit quietly they’ll come over and inspect you and talk to you and they’re just quirky. Every face is different … I’ve painted a lot of them and I’ll continue to do that.”

Not Just a Still Life is on Display at Sylvia Ditchburn Fine Art Gallery until 12 August 2018.

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1 Comment

  • Hi Sarah
    Lovely story about Heather’s work and the exhibition. Heather is right I like to try and have a theme that will challenge the artists’ to think outside the box and come up with something different. They usually do and its always exciting to hang their work and see people’s reactions.



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