Barbara Chalk


Friday 22 March - Saturday 13 April 2024

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Barbara Chalk is a visual artist, illustrator and designer based in Adelaide. She works in a variety of mediums; everything from pen and ink, graphite ...

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Hares & Graces

Navigating Power Dynamics Through Whimsical Hare Depictions

The hare, with its strikingly elongated legs and ears, captivates the imagination with an expression that blends fear, curiosity, and defiance. Entrenched in folklore and fantasy for centuries, the hare has played diverse roles – from wildlife to be hunted on the British countryside, to a culinary delicacy. Symbolising intelligence, physical prowess, and quick wit, it remains a popular adversary for hunters.

In Hares and Graces, the hare serves as a symbolic vehicle, guiding exploration into the contemporary social issue of bullying, which unfortunately can escalate into control and domestic violence. This exhibition delves into the dark and serious aspects of these themes. Additionally, some works depict lighter and more humorous subject matter, often utilising clever puns to engage the audience.

Inspired by Albrecht Durer’s iconic Young Hare from 1502, my preferred medium of pen and ink pays homage to my early love of etchings and engravings found in Aesop’s Fables. Through this latest body of work, I aim to juxtapose the grave issues of power abuse with the less severe, yet equally significant topics of entitlement and pomposity. Through Hares and Graces, I invite you to join me on a whimsical journey that transcends the boundaries of serious contemplation and playful satire.

Explanations for each work:

‘Hare to the Throne’ challenges the viewer to contemplate both the accountability and responsibility that comes with power, symbolised by the sword of Damocles hanging above the hare. ‘Breaking Ties’ portrays both the liberation and precariousness of choosing to leave controlling situations, while ‘Tortoise and the Hare’ exposes the arrogance of the hare towards its perceived lesser rival.

In ‘Pulling Hare’, I depict a common strategy employed by those seeking control – pulling the strings. ‘Miscommunication’ illustrates the distortion in communication, echoing the way messages are twisted in the digital social media age, akin to the childhood tin can telephone.

‘Hanging in There’ humorously captures my omnipresent self-doubt, and ‘Hare in my Soup’ offers a playful play on words.

‘Show Pony 1’ and ‘Show Pony 2’ amusingly showcase the flamboyance of the era with the subliminal humour of going nowhere!

Barbara Chalk, artist  2024