Skip to main content
Add to favourites

Henrietta Manning Nesting Series

Exploring the transience of life and the commercialisation of our homes


Not your usual nest exhibition! Henrietta Manning’s first Tasmanian exhibition, Nesting Series, explores the transience of life and the commercialization of our homes. With more than 50 nests painted from life many have been combined with collaged panels juxtaposing painted specific bird nests with collaged material such as wallpapers, newspapers, old photos and real estate text. Exhibiting since 1985 Manning is an established artist and a finalist in many art prizes including The Wynne 1994/1996.

A contemporary realist, Henrietta Manning works predominately from life in acrylic on board. Nesting Series is her first solo in Tasmania since moving here in 2009.

The series developed while the artist renovated her Tasmanian home and studio. Adjusting to the new surroundings she observed the wildlife, in particular the birds.

“The words ‘nesting’ ‘feather your nest’ ‘empty nesters’ ‘nest egg’  took on new meaning as I watched the ingenuity of the different birds nest building skills. All strong, warm and safe, perfectly adapted to surroundings and materials available, yet so transient and vulnerable once left behind. I saw a parallel between these ’homes’ and the ones I and other people were making. In the bigger picture our homes are also only transient and will eventually, like ourselves, disappear.”
– Henrietta Manning

Fascinated by the layering of wallpaper/newspaper and hessian found in old houses as successive generations make their mark and are then covered over by the next, the artist experimented with combining these with old photographs and real estate related text to form small abstract collages. These were then combined with the nest paintings in groups to make one work. The beauty and individuality of the nests stand out from a distance, but close up, reading the text or passing their phone over the app symbols, the viewer is made to consider the world of real estate and finance.

As the series progressed Manning looked at how homes are presented and sold to us through real estate agencies. Buying and selling ‘homes’ is big business, they are packaged not to meet actual needs but as a way of living, an opportunity, ‘lifestyle’, choice that will impact our quality of life and is inexorably linked to a sense of social status and our financial security for the future.

It is perhaps pertinent for us to think what is really important about the homes we seek and to remember the damage our ever larger footprint is doing to the ‘homes’ of the other creatures that inhabit the same world.

Manning is currently working in the southern midlands as part of the Oatlands Gaol Artist in Residence Program. A retrospective of her work will be held next month, 27 May – 11 June 2016 at Moonah Arts Centre.

This exhibition is at the SIDESPACE GALLERY at Salamanca Arts Centre.

Thursday 14 April 2016 @ 5:30pm
Exhibition to be opened by Dr Rosalie Woodruf MP

Sunday 17 April 2016 @ 2:30pm
An informal opportunity to meet the artist and talk about the development of the ‘Nesting Series’ with the opportunity to ask the artist questions about her work.


Get directions

Henrietta Manning Nesting Series

Salamanca Arts Centre
77 Salamanca Place, Battery Point, Tasmania, Australia

Get directions