Vol 39(2) - Rock Paper Lizards
Maryanne Wick often talks about the lizards and small birds that frequent her home in the Illawarra, on the New South Wales south coast, and their antics which are a constant influence on her paintings and drawings. ‘Believe it or not, the Australian water dragons all have their own distinct personalities and habits,’ she says. ‘They lounge on the deck and in the garden, and occasionally come into the studio while I am working.’
Wick, who has worked in London, China and South Korea, focuses mainly on metaphorical still life and figurative composition, melding Australian and North Asian themes. ‘In some indigenous cultures throughout the world, the lizard is symbolic of ancestry, fertility, life and death,’ she explains. ‘I use my lizards as a metaphor for human influence or impact on a situation.
‘The unpredictable chance nature of the game “rock, paper, scissors” is influenced and changed by the lizard/human impact. I have removed the scissors (a sharp, hard, occasionally dangerous implement) and replaced it with the more playful and interesting lizard/human influence.’
Wick says the underlying message in Rock Paper Lizards is: ‘Life is precious and, while occasionally unpredictable, unpredictable isn't always bad.’
As a painter of still life, Wick has learned how to observe detail. ‘It's the small things that you fall in love with and try to capture in paint. You want others to see what you see.’ No matter the subject of her work, Wick ‘has always tried to draw attention to the fact that we should try and slow down and take it in, appreciate what surrounds us and never take it for granted’.