Tabletop Ballad

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Signed, limited edition print of only 40 of each size. Each print is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the Editor. Click on the 'read more' link below for full details. 


  • Standard - 88cm x 63cm
  • Large - 121cm x 86cm


Please note that framing is only available for the standard size 

  • Box frames are sourced from sustainable plantation timber 
  • Frame dimensions are 20mm face and 37mm depth 
  • Available in Classic Classic White, Matte Black, Tasmanian Oak & Dark Timber 
  • 2mm clear acrylic with 80% UV protection rating 
  • Artworks are mounted to acid-free foam core 
  • Artworks are set to the rear of the frame with a 20mm space to the acrylic.  


  • The high quality of the paper should ensure a life of more than 100 years if cared for properly. 
  • A museum-quality, smooth cotton high Classic White is used. It is 315 gsm with 100% cotton linters and a silky smooth matte surface. 
  • It is acid and lignin free with an excellent colour gamut. 
  • The surface has a special matte coating, designed for high-quality fine art and photographic reproduction. 
  • The term 'Giclée Print' (pronounced zhee-clay) refers to an elevation in printmaking technology. 
  • Images are printed with archival quality Ultrachrome pigment-based K3 inks onto canvas and smooth or textured fine art paper. 

Tabletop Ballad by Kate Bergin
I decided with this title to evoke the bush ballad with its simple rhythms and storytelling to reflect the uniqueness of these extraordinary creatures gathered together, (some willingly, some unwillingly) cackling away like any family event.
As there are so many birds and animals unique to Australia the biggest problem was which ones to choose. I started with the red kangaroo and emu thinking about the Australian coat of arms and followed that very formal idea of composition and a classical balance of colour throughout to build up the painting.
"The emu and kangaroo are so built that they hardly fit into the heraldic atmosphere, and I think we make ourselves ridiculous when we endeavour to carry on the traditions of the Old World with some of the wild creatures of our Australian fauna.” So said the member for Wentworth, Willie Kelly in 1912 when the Australian Coat of Arms was revealed. But others were pleased with the choice as the kangaroo and emu represented a nation moving forwards as curiously neither of them can walk backwards!
The black swan came next as a way to offset the emu on the right. It also completely upends the sense of tradition that the coat of arms expresses by adding that sense of the unexpected. It’s extraordinary to think that the black swan was an imagined creature in Europe as far back as the 16th Century and was used to describe something impossible or non existent. Then in 1697 when the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh reported his discovery of black swans in Western Australia, the term was adjusted to mean something that may seem impossible.
The Tasmanian Devil balances on top of the emu as if hitching a ride. Listed as an endangered species due to the facial tumour disease that has drastically reduced its numbers since the 1990’s, here his prospects look good with the sense that all these creatures are coming together on the tabletop as a “dancing song” or ballad.

Our printing and framing partner:

Vision Image Lab, our professional printing and framing partner, also arranges framing and delivery. You can contact them directly regarding any delivery enquiries for this print.


Contact: (02) 9319 3300

Kate Bergin has enjoyed a highly successful career spanning over 25 years and she is recognised as a significant contemporary Australian artist . Kate is a multiple finalist of the Sulman Art Gallery of NSW Prize, Portia Geach, Fleurieu and Arthur Guy Prizes. Her work was gifted by Margaret Olley to the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of NSW and her work is currently held in a number of prominent collections in Australia and internationally.

Bergin's iconic works explore the still life genre. These highly detailed and technically proficient oil paintings revel in the unusual, the precarious and the unexpected. Far from 'still', these paintings quiver with movement, laughter and life. It is impossible to ignore their vitality. Animals poised to leap from the canvas, birds to take flight; compositions on the brink of collapse. Bergin’s work, intoxicating and absurd, captures the mundane and the exotic in virtuosic detail.

About Tabletop Variations

The virtuosic paintings of artist Kate Bergin take the viewer on a playful expedition through the absurd and the profound. Strange gatherings of animals and objects are configured in impossible scenarios on the brink of collapse atop tables draped with white cloth, alluding to the conventions of seventeenth century Dutch and Flemish still life painting. Yet Bergin’s compositions are far from ‘still’. They pulsate with movement as animals prepare to leap from the canvas and birds take flight, and yet these moments are frozen in time like mimetic dioramas. It is in this dialogue between stasis and motion, stability and precariousness, that the artist seeks to find, in her own words, ‘balance and imbalance, contemplation within the chaotic and playfulness with a touch of menace – just like any good fairy tale.’

‘Tabletop Variations’ continues Bergin’s focus on the symbolic currency of the ‘un-still life’. The title of the exhibition alludes to Bach’s The Goldberg Variations – a frequent accompaniment in the artist’s studio. ‘The series of diverse melodies unified by a single bass line and chordal structure reflects my own approach to composition’, explains Bergin. ‘These tabletop variations transpose the musical form onto the visual plane, the tabletop providing the ‘bass line’ and the birds, animals and various objects becoming the ‘variations’.’

The paintings visualise the artist’s passionate fascination with animals of all kinds. Displaced from their usual habitats, various species from different continents coexist peacefully in each tabletop tableaux; a poignant image of acceptance and harmony in a world pivoted on segregation. Telephones, teaspoons and spectacles function as visual metonyms for ‘civilised’ society, perhaps signalling the frontier that humans have constructed to elevate ourselves above the animal kingdom. Bergin’s animals chisel a chink in this armature of civilisation, evoking the wilderness that dwells beneath.

Bergin builds each painting around a central character, the tabletop acting as a stage upon which she moves creatures around to create a believable space with convincing relationships. Working from her own photographs as well as from life, she ensures that each animal retains its own identity without becoming too anthropomorphised.

Together, the works in ‘Tabletop Variations’ represent a voyage through art history. ‘This is the joy of art history and our connection to it as painters today,’ reflects Bergin, ‘the circles within circles, the threads that lead you in and out and around, dizzying in all its contrary symbolism.’

Please allow up to 4 weeks delivery time

Free Delivery Australia Wide. International Shipping Rates below. Customs/Duty Fees may be applicable for deliveries to your country. Please seek information regarding this with your countries customs organisation.

Framed Prints are not shipped overseas. If you would like this order shipped overseas please select an unframed version of your chosen print and organise with your local framer to have your piece framed. The below mentioned rates are based on countries we currently ship. If you would like confirmation please go to checkout and select your country to confirm that shipping is available for your country and to receive your final shipping price.

Number of Prints Australia New Zealand Rest of Rest of the world
(confirm your country at checkout)
1 - 2 Prints Free $30 $45
3 - 4 Prints Free
$60 $90
5 - 6 Prints Free
$90 $135
7 - 8 Prints Free
$120 $180
9 - 10 Prints Free
$150 $225

For orders over 10 prints please confirm shipping costs at checkout when entering your address.


  • Standard - 88cm x 63cm
  • Large - 121cm x 86cm

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