Important Australian + International Fine Art
2 May 2012


born 1972

synthetic polymer paint, gouache, watercolour and pen and ink on canvas

180.0 x 160.0 cm

signed, dated and inscribed upper left: (i don’t want to come down) / love me true / del kathryn barton 2004
inscribed with title and medium verso

$100,000 - 140,000

Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney
Private collection, Melbourne

Catalogue text

The paintings of Del Kathryn Barton have long woven the elements of decoration and adornment with foliage, birds and animals as a complex metaphor of ambiguous desire and eroticism. Come Forth with Love of 2004 is a rich and luxuriant example of the savage/domestic paradox which underpins the concepts of eroticism and beauty explored in Barton's art. Her women scantily draped in couture pieces and flowering organic specimens display at once innocence and eroticism, beauty and ugliness, cuteness and savagery and the domesticated and the feral. However, Come Forth with Love is perhaps one of Barton's most romantic visions of womanhood. This blue-eyed beauty with rose-red lips and the complexion of Snow White, thorny briar roses grow rampant around her and lattice flowers drawn from her hands, is without doubt a personification of the Roman goddess, Flora. An image of fertility and fruitfulness, blue birds appear at her feet as they do in a Disney storyboard and a robust woody vine spurns ripe blue berries as it entwines her thighs.

The sexuality of this wide-eyed nymph is overtly evident from the flimsy silk bow tied around her neck, the jet bead harness and the briar rose lacing her small waist. The black kitten is at once a sign of innocence and also foreboding and in this painting it looks out to the right with trepidation and a look of fear at an unknown darkness. More significantly Come Forth With Love yet again explores an indelible link between woman and nature. Even the inscriptions on the work itself, 'I don't want to come down', suggest a woman who wishes not to be plucked from her place amongst nature. So intrinsic is the theme of the 'wild' and overgrown in Barton's work, her monumental painting on this very theme, Come of things 2010 was included in the Art Gallery of New South Wales exhibition Wilderness of that year and was later acquired for the Gallery's permanent collection. In 2008 Barton also won the prestigious Archibald Prize for an evocative self portrait with her young children replete with berry-clad vines, annunciation lilies, desert peas and four-leafed clovers.