Marian Drew

Marian Drew | American, 1960 -

Marian Drew was born in Australia in 1960. She has had over 20 solo exhibitions in Australia, The United States, France and Germany. In order to create this series, Every Living Thing, Drew photographed local roadkill in a dark studio by torchlight. She exposed the film for 15 minutes against backdrops of previously photographed landscapes printed onto large sheets. After shooting, the animals were given a proper burial in her large backyard. Of this work she says, ‘In 2002, I traveled to Germany, where I studied the still life paintings in museums and in particular an extensive collection at Wilhelmshöhe, in the city of Kassel. On my return home these ideas untied with the imagery of the animals I saw killed on roads in Australia. In the course of daily life these native animals are killed by cars, domestic pets or power lines and are easily found scattered beside the roads throughout our urban environments. This new perspective made me question our existing relationship to wild animals. The wealthy landowners in Renaissance Europe believed that the abundance of nature was there for human consumption. I found correlations to these ideas within the local attitudes to wildlife that are killed in the drive for urban expansion and economic growth. By imitating the historic painted forms of the ‘Still Life’, but replacing paint with photographic verisimilitude, and familiar European animals with Australian native species, a discord is exposed. This work aims to overlay the historical and the present, the European with the antipodean and photography with painting, while exploring contemporary notions of death and a changing relationship to animals’.