© 2017 Fern Petrie. All images copyright Fern Petrie. Artworks must not be reproduced without the artists written permission. Thank you

2013
Flights of Fancy

7th – 22th March, Linton & Kay Gallery, Perth.

The Butterfly Gate
Oil on Canvas, 153 x 122 cm, 2013. Collection of the Artist.
Two Dear Hearts
Oil On Canvas, 122 x 92 cm, 2012. Collection of the Artist.
Master Of The High Seas
Oil & Archival Pen On Canvas, 122 x 92 cm, 2013. Sold.
Little Bluebird Of Happiness
Oil On Canvas, 122 x 92 cm, 2012. Sold.
The Seven Wishes
Oil On Canvas, 122 x 92 cm, 2012. Sold.
Prelude To A Dream
Oil on Canvas, 152 x 91 cm, 2013. Collection of the Artist.
Queen For A Day
Oil on Canvas, 152 x 91 cm, 2013. Collection of the Artist.
The Resurrected Heart
Oil on Canvas, 152 x 91 cm, 2013. Sold.
The Abundance of Light
Oil on Canvas, 91.5 x 61 cm, 2012. Sold.
The Appointed Hour
Oil on Canvas, 91.5 x 61 cm, 2012. Sold.
The Voice Of An Angel
Oil On Canvas, 100 x 76 cm, 2013. Sold.
Chums
Oil On Canvas, 31 x 23 cm, 2012. Sold.
Imaginary Friends
Oil On Canvas, 31 x 23 cm, 2012. Sold.
Dressing Up For The Adventure Of A Lifetime
Gouache, Archival Pen, Acrylic & Ink On Arches Watercolour Paper, 68 x 50 cm, 2013. Available.
Two Of A Kind
Oil On Canvas, 21 x 18 cm, 2012. Sold.
The Stroke Of Midnight
Oil On Canvas, 21 x 18 cm, 2012. Sold.
A Happy Confusion
Oil On Canvas, 11 x 9 cm, 2013. Sold.
The Center Of The Universe
Oil On Canvas, 10 x 8 cm, 2013. Sold.
The Boy With His Head In The Clouds
Oil On Canvas, 11 x 9 cm, 2012. Sold.
Mirror Mirror
Oil On Canvas, 10 x 8 cm, 2012. Sold.
A Familiar Tale
Reclaimed Doll, Teddy Bear, Indian Carpet, Vintage Book Covers & Mixed Media, 28 x 30 x 35 cm, 2012. Sold.
Playmates
Reclaimed Dolls, Chums Book Cover, Leather, Gold Leaf, Indian Carpet, Oil Paint & Mixed Media, 40 x 33 x 27 cm, 2013, Sold.
Compendium
Reclaimed Doll, Victorian Book Pages, Archival Pen, Shellac & Resin, 45 x 38 x 39 cm, 2013. Sold.
Garden Of The Enchantress
Reclaimed Doll, Butterfly Wings, Paper Mache, Leather, Acrylic Paint & Resin, 53 x 21 x 20 cm, 2012. Sold.
Guardians Of The Subconscious Mind
Scorpions, Tosena Splendida Wings, Ink, Acrylic, Varnish & Polymer Clay On Vintage Book Cover, 31 x 23 cm, 2013. Sold.
Childhood Memento
Moth, Indian Ink, Book Pages & Varnish On Vintage Book Cover, 21 x 17 cm, 2013. Sold.
Wanderer Upon The Wings Of Night
Dynastidae Beetle, Butterfly Wings, Indian Ink, Leather & Varnish On Vintage Book Cover, 13 x 18 cm, 2013. Sold.
Ethereal Keepsake
Butterfly, Indian Ink & Varnish On Vintage Book Cover, 18 x 13 cm, 2013. Collection of the Artist.
The Mysterious Happenings At Badgers Hollow
Moth, Indian Ink, Book Pages, Leather & Varnish On Vintage Book Cover, 13 x 20 cm, 2013. Sold.
Master Durand’s Tall Tale
Moth, Book Pages, Indian Ink & Varnish On Vintage Book Cover, 20 x 13 cm, 2013. Collection of the Artist.
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Flights of Fancy is a whimsical peek into the world of childhood fantasy unbridled by science or logic. In childhood imagination is given full reign. Like the lifespan of a butterfly this is an all too brief moment in life but an awe-inspiringly beautiful one. In childhood we reach beyond ourselves and embellish everyday existence until imaginary friends share our dreams, pets take on human characteristics and a simple box of costumes can transform the lowliest child into a Knight Templar or the Tsar of Russia. To dress in the costumes of countries, don masks and slip into animal suits (much like the transitions in many fairy tales), the young imagination explores other lives and other worlds with their fantasy companions.

 

In this exhibition I have chosen three Victorian and Edwardian children’s texts to represent the importance of external influences in the construction of imaginary worlds.  Chums is an illustrated boys annual from 1808 full of who-dunnits, brain teasers and stories of the colonies, The Captain’s Children describes the adventures of a group of children who travel to Brazil and find delightful talking birds and magical places and Perrault’s Fairy Tales is comprised of such loved stories as Little Red Riding Hood and The Frog Prince. Each of these books represent the joys of generations of readers, thousands of little minds all over the world who have been touched by the written word and made them their own. 

 

I decided on such early children’s literature to correspond with the Victorian cabinet cards on which my works are based. Cabinet cards were posed Victorian photographs where a multitude of props and costumes were utilized to give an overall impression of how the sitter desired to be represented. Roughly painted and sometimes clumsily draped backdrops, pieces of furniture and symbolic items were all grouped together to create this treasured memento.  In my collection I wish to reveal the constructed world of the imagination not as a cohesive whole, rather as a series of items tacked together from disparate sources assembled in a staged still to represent the mind of the child or children in question.  There are also a select number of images which deal with the effect of these early influences upon the adult mind. ‘The Resurrected Heart’ and ‘Queen for a Day’ both talk about the idea of true love; a concept which as young children we first encounter in fairy tales, but which takes on a more dramatic complexity when faced in real life.

 

Lastly the idea of collecting memories and storing them away for posterity can be viewed in the framed butterflies and moths which have been meticulously varnished and then drawn upon with pen and ink. They rest upon the covers of the volumes stated above and along with two scorpions are small treasures which bridge the gap between the real and the imagined, moving outside of time just as the images of the Victorian children in their newly acquired dream worlds have done beside them.