‘THE RAFT – I’ was exhibited in the group show ‘Secret Garden’ at Dominik Mersch Gallery in 2020. This half-lit, half-known and partially revealed segment of ‘The Raft of The Medusa’ is part of John Beard’s monumental black revisitation of Géricault’s masterpiece. The pervasive and animate darkness both reveals and conceals, only affording a glimpse of the 1819 wreck and the desperate men clambering to stay afloat. Gericault and Beard’s rafts point to both the dangers lurking in the rising sea and the hope of survival. This particular work is a photographic iteration of Beard’s full-scale monochromatic painting.
Beard’s work has been exhibited worldwide and has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Tate St Ives in the UK, The Gulbenkian Centro de Arte Moderna in Lisbon, Kunsthalle Darmstadt in Germany, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Australia. ‘Wanretganui Heads’ was selected to represent the year ‘1998’ in The London National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Painting the Century: 101 Portrait Masterpieces 1900-2000′. Notably, he has been awarded the Pollock-Krasner Award (New York) and has won both the AGNSW’s Wynne Prize and Archibald Prize.