Marian Drew’s photographs explore the human-centric view of animals as disposable commodities – symbols of wealth to be enjoyed and controlled. Influenced by seventeenth-century Dutch still lifes, Drew arranges tableaux of native animal road kill lying on starched white tablecloths alongside fruit, vegetables and utensils. She photographs them in the dark, then strokes the scene with light as if her torch was a paintbrush. The resulting near religious images ensure that the animals’ senseless deaths do not go unnoticed and unmarked.
In other more playful works Drew contrasts manufactured ideas of beauty with the splendour of nature. She pieces together porcelain figurines to make ridiculous teetering structures then superimposes their cameo-shaped photographs onto pictures of tranquil landscapes.
Drew’s work is held by the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and in major state and national Australian galleries. She was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to photograph 2006 Australian of the Year, scientist Ian Frazer.