ella noonan ― fantastic fish

The intricate rhythmic patterns of fish are the inspiration behind artist Ella Noonan’s stunning Handmark exhibition – And I Let the Fish Go.

Ever since she can remember Ella has had a special affinity with creatures – both great and small. But, in recent years it is underwater creatures that have captured her artistic eye: “I just love the patterns in fish. The exquisite detailing of their scales as well as the patterns they form as schools of fish move through the water are absolutely beautiful,” Ella explains.

In fact, the delicate pen and ink drawings and porcelain pieces in And I Let the Fish Go are a testament of Ella’s love and respect for the ocean’s creatures. We see fish wrapped in shimmering scales as they swim along in one tight seamless group. The naming of her exhibition pays homage to Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, Fish, which recounts the author’s experience of releasing a caught fish back into the water after she is struck by awe and connection with the small catch in her hand.

However, Ella’s art also reflects her fears for our oceans as overfishing and plastic pollution increasingly take hold. And, with a focus on future generations Ella has drawn in a surprising young co-collaborator for the exhibition – her two-year-old daughter, Iris.

Ella is quick to point out that as she spends her days immersed in art, Iris is constantly by her side with a pencil in hand. And for this exhibition Iris has added some small touches of color to three of the exhibited works. As the proud mother laughingly tells us: “Both our names appear as the artists for these pieces!”

Ella Noonan’s And I Let the Fish Go exhibition opens at Handmark Gallery tonight, August 13 from 5 pm.