I wrote a post, late, months late, and then hit discard instead of publish. It was carefully worded, with complete explanations about the work and the a few muttered swear words when I realised what I’d done . . . here we go again!
Each year the Sarjeant Gallery hold a Whanganui Arts Review in conjunction with the local Artists Open Studio event. It is also the Pattillo Art Award event which is externally judged. This year it was Reuben Friend, director of Pataka Art & Museum from Porirua.
My submission to the review was a result of my musing about marginalised land and people, such things and the beauty of the weeds I was passing that are unnoticed and unappreciated by many. I was considering the ephemeral nature of this beauty and the transitory presence of such beauty. The fennel, grasses, Queen Anne’s lace (cow parsley), nasturtiums, and delicate grasses were all in bloom.
To express these thoughts I chose to work with silk chiffon, the plants themselves, and create cyanotype prints. I suspended the work from metal scraps found near where the Aramoho railway station had been,
In 2020 I felt I’d accomplished a goal just having made something that I felt proud of to submit and whether anyone else found it worthwhile was beside the point. I did, both in the making and in how it told my story which is not to say I didn’t feel affirmed when it was accepted. Somebody ‘got’ it.
My feelings about my work this year were similar: the piece was exactly as I envisioned, said what I wanted it to say, and I was satisfied . . . that’s all I ask. If I accomplish just a few pieces which evoke that feeling within me I’m content. I’m not trying to make a lot of work, just what matters to me.
The accompanying artist statement reads: “Marginal land is defined as of little use to agriculture or industry; marginalised people might feel likewise yet on the margins there is both beauty and nourishment. In combining found materials and the delicacy of silk the ephemeral nature and beauty of the margins is revealed. Walking the Whanganui riverbank margins daily, Wendy contemplates different viewpoints about waste, usefulness and beauty.”
There is a video of the prize giving (unfortunately an online event due to a temporary Covid 19 lockdown) here where my piece features at just after 6:40. To receive a merit prize was completely unexpected as was the sale: for others to see some small part of your creative self and affirm it in such a way is gratifying indeed.