Michelle Hetherington

My work explores the beauty and symbolic power of pears. Unable to pursue my love of life drawing during Covid 19, I have turned instead to drawing pears. Poised, patient, and inexpensive, pears will model happily for hours. Their elegant, rounded forms embody fruitfulness. Their coloured skins contain the dynamic tension between inner and outer worlds. Using colour to delineate their volume, their mass, their surface, has unleashed a love of colour I’d never realised in my previous, often monotonal, practice.

In studying pears, I have also drawn upon the much longerhistory of their depictions in art and culture. Pears have symbolised femalecreativity in both Western religious art and cultural archetypes for centuries.The most famous examples are found in iconographic representations of the VirginMary, and in the Tale of the Handless Maiden, a folk story from European oralculture recorded by the Grimm brothers in the 19th century.

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