Mosman Art Gallery is proud to present the work of critically acclaimed Sydney based Australian artist Wendy Sharpe, in an immersive installation exhibition, Ghosts.
In this new exhibition Wendy Sharpe will create a series of major new site specific ephemeral mural paintings specifically designed for the exhibition spaces within the Mosman Art Gallery. The ephemeral mural works will be accompanied by other oil paintings and works on paper from Sharpe’s studio based practice that explore the intersection between the real and the imagined worlds - the seen and unseen - and our human experiences of the spirit world.
The phenomena of the unseen worlds of spirits and ancestry, along with the dialogue between perception and experience, the eye and the brain, are subjects that have long fascinated Wendy Sharpe. The exhibition title Ghosts also has a personal connection to Sharpe’s own ancestry with her Russian-Jewish family background. Sharpe’s maternal grandmother Bessie Fishman and her great aunt Ann Fishman were both psychic and were followers of Madam Blavatsky (1831- 1891), a Russian occultist, philosopher and author. Ann Fishman in particular became a well-known psychic and medium in her day, who gave public readings and performances in Russia and the UK.
Sharpe references this family history as well as Victorian ‘ghost’ photographs from the late 19th century, where double exposure imagery created portraits that also captured a lurking spirit within them. Sharpe uses such images as a basis to explore the cultivated beliefs that lie within us, beliefs formed through our ancestral lines, or beliefs generated by the public discourse of our times as well as those inexplicable beliefs about the spirit world that are innate and intuitive to ourselves.
While Wendy Sharpe is known to many as a painter of large scale portraits, in this exhibition Sharpe employs a range of scales from large mural works through to oil paintings as well as miniature works that depict people, both real and imagined, images of spirits, ghosts, memories of people, imaginary friends, alternate lives, alter egos or hallucinatory forms.
The exhibition includes a performative element with viewers being invited to witness the artist’s creative processes on site as the murals are made, opening up opportunities to create discussion with people of different cultural backgrounds to share with their own cultural practices, beliefs, customs as well as stories from the community. To view the live mural painting, visitors must book via the website.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
Image: Wendy Sharpe, studio installation of small works on paper, 2018, mixed media, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.