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Janelle Gaudet, A Lightbulb Lifetime (detail), lino print, 43 x 33cm. Image courtesy THRF Group – Creative Health  

Topography of Tears and Something Fishy

Janelle Gaudet
23 June 2023 – 6 December 2023

View the exhibition catalogue

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.  

– Washington Irving 

Earlier this year I suffered a brain aneurysm. Against all odds, I was lucky to survive and fully recover. My visit with the Neurological Surgeon included viewing microscopic images of my brain surgery. I became very fascinated with the ‘unexpected view of familiar subjects. Inspired by what I saw, I began to explore other microscopic anatomical images and discovered microscopic works on tears by Rose-Lynn Fisher.  

Tears can be divided into three different types – Psychic tears cried in grief and joy, Basal or lubricating tears and Reflex tears, secreted in response to irritants such as dust and onion vapours. All tears contain a variety of biological substances suspended in saltwater, but the different categories include distinct molecules as part of composition dependent upon why they were released.  

Feeling fragile due to my brush with death, I found it therapeutic carving the linocuts, thus creating my interpretation of some of Fisher’s tear photographs. Sometimes images are referred to as ‘Aerial Views of Emotional Terrain’.  

– Janelle Gaudet, 2021 

Janelle’s exhibition also includes a small collection of linocuts that are her whimsical interpretations of some of our amazing sea creatures captured by skilled naturalist photographers. Looking more closely, one can see some silly whale wall climbers, shark teeth polishers and a ‘fishtastic’ village, the light bulb moment and an octopus Olympics.  


This exhibition is presented as part of SALA Festival 2023.