James Guppy

9 September to 4 October

Brenda May Gallery

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The Fairy of Sharp Edges is my first step towards a new body of work. Below are some discordant impulses as I begin.

The Shorter Oxford dictionary says that the word Fay means both fairy and dross. This seemed relevant to me. The traditional fairy is invisible, an unseen power, but has become historically reduced from a place of cautious respect to quaint irrelevance.

I grew up with the safe Edwardian fairy folk of Arthur Rackham only later in my teens discovering the otherworldly demented Victorian fairy painter Richard Dadd. This is a long way from the post-Tolkien, ?World of Warcraft? universe of elves and dwarfs in today?s youth culture.

The other impulse is empathy for the women around me. As a bastard male born to a single mother in 1950s England, I grew up surrounded by strong women yet I remember my mother saying she felt herself becoming invisible as she aged. Now I hear the same thing from my partner and ?middle aged? female friends. My experience of women?s power has been a positive one so I am distressed by their feelings of disempowerment.

I hope the study shows clearly that my fairies will not be the delicate quaint creatures of my childhood; nor the contemporary fluoro coloured fusion of American and Manga cartooning. I want them to be powerful creatures of the gaps - both generous and vindictive in turns; the spirit of the sphinx and siren embodied in flesh.

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James Guppy



409b George Street Waterloo NSW Australia 2017 
(02) 9318 1122   e: info@mayspace.com.au

Open: Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm (Closed: Sun/Mon, Public Holidays, Easter long weekend and late Dec to early Feb)


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