Through a Glass Darkly: the art of Belinda Sinclair and Clairy Laurence

It was short and sweet and over so quickly I almost missed seeing it altogether, but fate intervened and thus it came about that I made it in to Jugglers Art Space for Through a Glass Darkly just before the show began bumping out.

A joint show by local artists Belinda Sinclair and Clairy Laurence, walking in to Through a Glass Darkly was a little like stepping in to Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland, which was a bit weird given I’d been writing about it not half an hour earlier. With the monochromatic intaglio prints of Sinclair providing the perfect relief for the bright colours of Laurence’s ceramic work, Through a Glass Darkly was a walk through the favourite fables and folklore of my childhood, with a solid dose of the macabre, otherworldly and surreal I have come to love as an adult.

Belinda Sinclair‘s work is precise, intense and moody, with references to Victorian imagery, feminist discourse, childhood nightmares and the etchings of Francisco de Goya. Full of ritual and symbolism, her prints are haunting but not ghoulish, melancholy but not heavy, inspired by tradition but not weighed down by it. They are delicate and dreamlike, glimpses into a personal journey of deep contemplation about what it means to be an artist, a woman and a living organism connected to everything else in the world. Though her previous art practice has seen Sinclair hand colour her prints, this recent body of work is executed entirely in black and white, making the series feel as though it has been ripped from the pages of an old book of spells.

An older Sinclair work, now in Clairy Laurence’s personal collection. Lovely, no?

Clairy Laurence is a seriously masterful ceramicist. Using both hand building and wheel throwing techniques in her practice, Laurence creates sculptures that, despite the obvious death motifs, are full of life and celebration. Renewal bursts forth from her skulls decorated with flowers, butterflies and lady beetles, while wide-eyed girls stare wondrously from the walls, their limbs dangling, vulnerable and innocent. Strange, isn’t it, how protectively you can view an object you know to be inanimate? I’ve felt it before with certain artworks. Some just seem more able than others to carry the energy with which they were made (or maybe I’ve just been reading too much Lewis Carroll lately – it is what it is!)

Beautifully executed, Laurence’s work could easily sit alongside that of Vipoo Srivilasa, Akio Takamori, Johnson Tsang and the odd bit of Minton porcelain. I expect one day it will do just that.

I see roughly two to five art shows a week. Some stick with me longer than others, for various reasons. I can already tell Through a Glass Darkly will be one I return to time and again in my mind – a surprisingly endearing apparition that may have only called Jugglers Art Space home for five days, but has made me a devoted groupie of both Belinda Sinclair and Clairy Laurence well into the future.

Belinda Sinclair –
Clairy Laurence –

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