B.

The extraordinary ordinary: Sylvia Siddell 1941 - 2011

Behind the scenes

We were saddened to hear of the recent death of artist Sylvia Siddell (ONZM).

Sylvia Siddell exhibited regularly throughout New Zealand from 1975 onwards and her work is held in private and public collections here and internationally. She was appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours of 2002, in recognition of her services to painting.

In the tradition of the European vanitas, or allegorical still life, Siddell used familiar, ordinary objects to suggest the brevity of existence and the transience of pleasure, but her paintings and drawings were about as un-still as you could imagine. Challenging the ideal of the peaceful, well-ordered domestic life, she instead portrayed an anxious environment that threatened to dissolve into violent chaos at any moment. In this drawing from the Gallery's collection, a banquet becomes a battle scene, seething with unruly energy, perceptive wit and macabre mahem.

Sylvia Siddell Banquet 1993. Conté. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū. Reproduced with permission

Sylvia Siddell Banquet 1993. Conté. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū. Reproduced with permission

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