The recognition of contemporary art has been developed throughout the progression of time. Artists such as Del Kathryn Barton, Marian Drew and eX de Medici, display a contemporary practice by making particular demands upon their audiences which challenges the society’s idea on all aspects of life. Marian Drew and eX de Medici’s work display vanitas themes whereas Del Kathryn possess unrealistic themes, they both develop a different relationship between the audience giving off individual messages that and challenging social issues.
Marian Drew’s photographic artworks contain memento mori still life techniques where the influences of Vanitas and 18th century European still life artworks are evident. Living and practising in Australia allows most of Drew’s works to contain a great deal of Australian native references, this is beneficial when making a demand upon the audience. The ironic settings of each still life displays an Australian native animal placed on a table with linen against other domestic objects like ceramics, candles, fruit and vegetables. The audience becomes aware of the deceased animal due to the domestic setting and stillness of the animal, the unnatural composition of their limbs and bodily gestures in comparison with the effectiveness of the light in the setting creates an uneasy reaction among the audience. The demand that Drew successfully makes within her audience is to raise awareness of the consequences that mankind has caused for the Australian native wildlife – in her case, a visual response to road kill. The recognisable vanitas and 18th century still life painting techniques are imitated in Drew’s work, “but replacing paint with photographic verisimilitude, and familiar European animals with Australian native species, a discord is exposed.” Drew’s particular demand on the audience is to display the ideas of combining the “historical and the present, the European with the antipodean and photography with painting, while exploring...
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