return to tasmania — john lendis

Once again, Tasmanian Tigers haunt the paintings of John Lendis. But in his fabulous exhibition, “When Reason Sleeps, the Sirens Sing”, they share the canvas with other hunted creatures.

John is back on ‘home’ soil and brings precious cargo. Thirty-three new oil paintings bursting with evocative Tasmanian imagery, that are possibly his best-ever works. “I now live on the other side of the world, but this small island still has my heart,” he tells us over coffee after touching down from the UK. “So many of my special memories are forged here and they constantly bubble up in my art.”

In When Reason Sleeps the Sirens Sing John reaches towards a beauty that is unobtainable, like the Tasmanian Tiger which was hunted into extinction, “leaving a sweet sadness with its loss.” In The Thylacine’s Lament, eyes stare from a muted palette. In other paintings they join “fellow creatures on the outskirts of society which are also being culled,” like the three Fallow Deer which leap in harmony with a lone Thylacine in The Song of the Vermin.

John doesn’t seek answers or set out with a plan. “An image springs into my mind, and I often spend days chasing it around the canvas. A little bit of magic happens between the end of the brush when you dip it in paint and put it on the canvas.” We couldn’t agree more.

John Lendis “When Reason Sleeps, the Sirens Sing” exhibition will run at Handmark Gallery from May 24 until June 10.