Through still life paintings of indigenous flora and fauna, artist Jane Guthleben uses the traditions of vanitas and its messages around ‘the transience of life’ to present another vivid collection of new works that ‘span humour, kitsch, and historical and environmental themes’.



Portrait of Ellen 2021, 120cm x 100cm oil on linen

Australian Royalty2021 oil on linen 120 x 120 cm

Australian Royalty 2021 oil on linen 120 x 120 cm

 What Banks Saw2021 oil on linen 180 x 120 cm

What Banks Saw 2021 oil on linen 180 x 120 cm

Tiny Grevillea in an eggcup Jane Guthlebun

Tiny Grevillea In An Egg Cup2021 oil on board 18 x 12.5 cm

Vanitas became a popular genre of Dutch master paintings in the seventeenth century. It utilised the still-life form to evoke the fleeting quality of life and the vanity of living. Vanitas also includes various symbolic objects designed to remind the viewer of their mortality and of the worthlessness of worldly goods and pleasures.

‘She reinterprets the delicate floral masterpieces of Dutch Golden Age painting by amping up the colour and light in response to the Australian environment and emphasising the texture and diversity of indigenous flora in brushy impasto.’ – Edwina Corlette

This gorgeous collection titled Florilegium, a nod to Joseph Banks, sees Guthleben’s confident and sunlit style with its delicate pastels and clustered ‘free associations’ breathe through poetic captures like dappled afternoons in some colonial parlour.

We love all of this – the radiant couplings, both alive and inanimate, the sumptuous bouquets blooming with wattle gold and muted natives, the retro radios, galahs and kookas – all rhythmical and abuzz through her skilful oils on linen. Veiled in gracious and polite but with so much more to see in plain sight.

Wattle From Sunnyside Crescent2021 oil on board 40 x 40 cm

Wattle From Sunnyside Crescent 2021 oil on board 40 x 40 cm


Guthleben has a Bachelor of Fine Arts with honours from the University of New South Wales and has been a finalist in the Mosman Art Prize (2019,2012), the Portia Geach Memorial Portrait Prize (2018), Eutick Memorial Still Life Award (2018), Ravenswood Women's Art Prize (2019, 2017) and the Fisher's Ghost Art Prize (2015) among others. This year she was a finalist in the superior Archies, the Salon Des Refuses.

Thankfully it’s still possible to view this gracefully layered work online.

Visit Florilegium at Edwina Corlette
3–21 August

1 comment

Thank you for this discovery ! In sharing, french artist, I invite you to discover my series of drawings in progress: “Vanity”, of which the IPCC report is at the origin : https://1011-art.blogspot.com/p/vanite.html

1011-art February 26, 2023

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