Rebecca Smallridge, Tim Main & Rachel Murphy
12 February – 8 March 2022
This new series of work is a continuation of an overarching theme that addresses various environmental concerns. In this case, the sharp decline in Aotearoa’s indigenous biodiversity due to human intervention. For my master’s study (2020), my research drew attention to the temperate forest ecosystem of Paparoa National Park, an area of national significance that narrowly escaped extensive commercial logging in the late 1990’s.
My paintings explore the inherent beauty and ecological value of wild places, whilst examining the connections within nature and humanity’s vital role of land stewardship. These works demonstrate a moving away from literal representation towards a more fluid, abstract approach. I begin by creating puddles of wet on wet paint, ink, and natural pigments on the floor, which are later overlaid with botanical shadows and observational drawings. Imagined biospheres blur the seen and unseen to visually capture the mauri or life force present in Aotearoa’s indigenous forests.
For me the pleasure of the aesthetic experience lies in finding a balance between a guiding structure and a variety of embellishments; a harmony of order and movement. I like the idea that we can observe the medley of forms in a plant and take from that a few expressive elements that once crafted/constructed will function as a symbol for all nature. There is a yearning for perpetuity embodied in pattern, and a desire to understand nature’s sublime secret of creation.
Fleeting wild beauty and the impermanence of nature is captured in the permanent art of porcelain.
Rachel ‘captures shots’ in her mind and replays these moments when creating: each piece depicts a moment that has been Observed – felt on a spiritual and emotional level, Held – in the mind and heart and then Translated – into pigment on her ‘3D canvas’.
Rachel’s work also reflects what is within her – The work for Resonance has been created at a time of uplifting change in her life.