Bee-stung lips surveys Barbara Hanrahan’s prolific 30-year printmaking career that was set in motion in 1960 and ended with her untimely death at the age of 52. Characterised by playfully complex narratives that draw on both personal experience and fantasy, her works are fearlessly direct and unashamedly decorative in style.
Featuring 74 prints made in her town of birth, Adelaide, as well as London and Melbourne, the exhibition considers several overarching themes that emerge from the artist’s oeuvre: sex, beauty and the stage; domestic comforts and anxieties; becoming plant, becoming animal; and celestial bodies and the afterlife. Here, mystical and earthly realms collide with concepts of time and mortality. Hanrahan connects sexuality and desire with dreaming and spirituality, and links the farthest star to the humblest garden bee to make works that speak of the fragility of human existence.
This exhibition exemplifies Hanrahan’s mastery and innovation across the print medium including woodcuts, linocuts, screenprints, lithographs, etchings and drypoint, and celebrates her singular and uncompromising practice. It is accompanied by a full colour catalogue published by Wakefield Press.