About this artwork

Although Ken Currie’s work is primarily concerned with the human condition, animals have often featured as part of his visual language; reflecting the essential characteristics of human nature. This painting was first exhibited in the solo exhibition ‘Tragic Form’, which focused on the human body in a state of transformation between physical and existential states.
Currie has returned several times to the image of the skate; a fish that has also been used as a motif by earlier artists such as Jean-Simeon Chardin, Chaim Soutine and John Bellany. The humanlike features of the fish’s gills were exploited by Soutine and Bellany in their work to create an unsettling atmosphere, or in Bellany’s case to give a voice to the emotions of the people in his work. In this painting, the skate's emotive expression of its gills calls for reflection on the universality of suffering. The figures on either side gaze up at the eviscerated carcass, with the inclusion of the sharp gutting knife and the blood-spattered gloves they are wearing alluding to their responsibility.

see media
  • title:
    Tragic Form (Skate)
  • accession number:
    GMA 5565
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • date created:
    2014
  • measurements:
    244.00 x 304.50 cm
  • credit line:
    Presented by Vivienne and Robin Menzies, 2016
  • copyright:
    © KEN CURRIE

Ken Currie

Ken Currie