Beckhouse’s intricate hand-built ceramics represent the artist’s intuitive responses to the universal elements of life, death and human relationships. The whimsical works chart a symbolic psychological narrative that supplants the banality and literality of everyday life with a kind of fantastical mystery. Each delicate layer of detail materialises a less familiar world beyond the realm of appearances, challenging the viewer’s perception of reality. Imbued with a feminist tinge, the works often depict struggle and torment intermixed with sensuality, which, for Beckhouse, is a part of womanhood that ‘is (hers) to reclaim and explore’.
From macabre worm-adorned women and memento mori skulls to oriental pseudo-gods, exotic snake charmers and native Australian flora, the works are at once beautiful and enthralling, confronting and disturbing. Ultimately, these masterful ceramics are poetic tropes for the artist’s personal reality and emblematic expressions of the wondrous world around us.
Since completing a Bachelor of Fine Art at RMIT (Hons) in 2000, and a Master of Fine Art at Monash University in 2012, Janet Beckhouse has exhibited widely throughout Australia and New Zealand. Her work has been showcased in several important group exhibitions including Australian Culture Now at the Ian Potter Centre (National Gallery of Victoria) 2004; Look! at the NGV 2008; Art Brussels, Belgium 2012 and Melbourne Now at NGV 2014. Many of her pieces are held in notable collections including National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Newcastle Art Gallery; Shepparton Regional Art Gallery; Griffith University, Queensland; Bendigo Art Gallery; Queensland University of Technology Art Museum; Smorgon Collection; Margaret Lawrence Collection, Victorian College of Arts and Hamilton Art Gallery, as well as private collections in Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A. & Europe.