Janet Beckhouse’s intricate hand-built ceramics represent the artist’s intuitive responses to the universal elements of life, death and human relationships. The whimsical works chart a symbolic psychological narrative that supplants the banality and literality of everyday life with a kind of fantastical mystery. Each delicate layer of detail materialises a less familiar world beyond the realm of appearances, challenging the viewer’s perception of reality. Imbued with a feminist tinge, the works often depict struggle and torment intermixed with sensuality, which, for Beckhouse, is a part of womanhood that ‘is (hers) to reclaim and explore’. From macabre worm-adorned women and memento mori skulls to oriental pseudo-gods, exotic snake charmers and native Australian flora, the works are at once beautiful and enthralling, confronting and disturbing. Ultimately, these masterful ceramics are poetic tropes for the artist’s personal reality and emblematic expressions of the wondrous world around us.
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