Pulling Weeds from a Cactus Garden – Life is Full of Pricks

By Nathalie Tierce (Indigo Raven)
ISBN: 978-1-73783-260-7 (PB) eISBN: 978-1-734174-4-1

Win’s Christmas Gift Recommendation: Particularly Pointed Party Favours for all those Imminent, Inescapable Get-togethers… 8/10

The marriage of image and text is a venerable, potent and astoundingly evocative discipline that can simultaneously tickle like a feather, cut like a scalpel and hit like a steam-hammer. Moreover, repeated visits to a particular piece of work can even generate different responses depending on the recipient’s mood.

If you’re a multi-talented artist like Nathalie Tierce, who’s excelled in film and stage production for everyone from the BBC to Disney and Tim Burton to Martin Scorsese; music performance design for Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Rolling Stones; gallery art; painted commissions and latterly, graphic narratives such as Fairy Tale Remnants, challenges must be a hard thing to find.

Thankfully, human-watching is frequently its own reward, resulting in books like this slim, enthrallingly revelatory paperback (or digital digest) which forensically dissects human nature: exploring modern times and unchanging human nature through a lens of Lockdown and via the immortal truths of folklore as expressed in Aesop’s Fables.

On show in this handy art boutique are stunning paintings in a range of media, but all rendered in the bizarrely baroque classical manner of Breughel or Bosch, albeit blended with the quixotic energy of cartoon satirists Gerald Scarfe and Ralph Steadman.

Each condemnatory visual judgement is deftly wedded to moving, querulous and frankly often quite terrifying epigrams capturing contemporary crisis points of isolation, confusion, despondency and simple surrender to fate: summarised in fractured haikus and weaponised odes such as ‘Lost in a Supermarket’, ‘Domestic Bliss’, ‘Thoughts on the Outside’,‘Destiny Guides Our Fortunes’, ‘Say No Meore’, ‘The Lamb and the Wolf’, ‘Clown Adrift’, ‘Plucked Grumpy Chicken’,‘Speeding Back to the Comfort of Hell’, ‘Tragic Circus’ and more.

Blending wicked whimsy with everyday paranoia and neighbourly competitiveness, Pulling Weeds from a Cactus Garden is a mature delight for all students of human nature with a sharp eye and unforgiving temperament – and surely, isn’t that all of us?
© 2021 Indigo Raven. © 2021 Nathalie Tierce. All rights reserved.