Call & Response

Do I still remember how to do this? It’s hard to say why I don’t keep posting with the regularity I once did. Sometimes I have little to say and sometimes so much but it’s more personal than I wish to share yet both ends of that continuum are important to my work. But now I need to write an update, to let you know of my exhibition around the coast in Opunake at From Out of the Blue Studio Gallery.

In setting up the exhibition this week I can see how my work has changed in the past 6 or 7 years to have more meaning, more of a narrative. I notice I often comment on issues facing society, my personal insights, or simply find meaning as I work with materials and new techniques. I’ve gathered old work and new to form a retrospective of sorts. Some is work I wasn’t ready to part with before and of course some I never will as it’s deeply personal.

There is also some samples of the work of two friends, Bobby Duncan and Finola Chamberlain with whom I meet monthly for support and encouragement. We set ourselves some challenges to respond to, and with the same brief came up with very different responses.

I hope those nearby will make the trip to Opunake, nestled there next to Taranaki which, often shrouded by cloud is a magnificent live volcano. Many of you will only be able to view the work online of course and I will endeavour to post images on Instagram.

Three of the 40 or so “Seekers”. Ceramic, 10-16 mm
“In all respects, lost”. Perhaps she’s the leader of the seekers, no eyes, or ears yet looking for truth in this climate of disinformation. Head in the clouds, feet off the ground, untouchable in a translucent shield. Ceramic head, bird netting, wire, eco-dyed silk, cotton cord and fabric. 340x300mm. NFS

More images to come!

late again

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.

On the Margins: Late Summer

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.

reporting in

The exhibition is on and almost over.  It opened on October the 6th with eight pieces being sold over the first weekend.  Very affirming.  Unfortunately I have done little since although I did have plans.  What’s with that? I know from when I was doing a bit of acting that there would be a bit of down time after the run of the play . . . a time when I felt as if there was a huge gap that couldn’t be filled by anything other than another play.  That’s how I feel now, as if I should be working toward something else but what?  My get up and go seems to have got up and gone for one reason and another . . .

It’s time to get back to work . . . something . . . anything . . . maybe one of the ideas that had excited me while I was doing the tedious work of mounting and framing the work.  I made a few notes at the time but somehow getting myself across the threshold and doing some work just isn’t happening. At least I can do this . . . post a few images of the smaller 10 x 10 cm pieces albeit rather late in the piece as the exhibition, having been up for a month, comes down tomorrow. 

When I bring the work home I’ll take some decent photos of the rest of the work and and post some more, promise.