Flights of Fantasy Part I: Annabelle Guetatra

Annabelle Guetatra invites her audience onto the surreal merry-go-round that is her imagination. Using elegant gestures, fluid lines and pure colours, her gentle style depicts figures frolicking in woodland. But her whimsical world is infected with a dark malice. The characters are hybrid creatures afflicted with the torments of inharmonious love. Stripped of their clothes they abuse each other as they fumble together in the undergrowth. Guetatra uses her naïve style to explore the sinister undercurrent of desire—conflict, jealousy and power.

Her work is informed by her extensive travel. Guetatra collects references to the ritualistic, the theatrical and the ceremonial, for what she calls her “private museum”, which is a source of continuing inspiration. This lends her characters the menacing familiarity of some half-remembered dream, creating a sense of the personal that entices.

For her Jesters series Guetatra added physicality to her work, creating grinning papier mâché heads full of her deceitfully child-like aesthetic. With huge eyes, bright colours and rounded, imprecise features the faces hover between distinct emotions. “They laugh at us,” Guetatra explains. “They shine, they glow gold and glitter, they attract but when we approach they reveal to us the terrible secret behind their frozen smiles.”