This month I have been preparing an entry for the 2016 Estuary Art Award, which involves research into the ecology of the Tamaki Estuary in Auckland and aims to encourage action to remedy the pollution of this waterway. It has been interesting to delve into the history of this area and to learn more about the many species of plants and aquatic life living in the estuary. Heavy industry in the past around the estuary, housing development and introduced species has meant that much of the ecology of the estuary has been damaged. It will take a huge amount of work and time to restore the ecology of the Tamaki Estuary to good health.
I have also been doing a series of small Autumn paintings on wood for friends and Corokia Studio. These have been really enjoyable to work on over the past month. There has been an ecological and garden theme in all my work during May. I have been using an assortment of native and exotic foliage in these to make the leaf prints and some strong warm tones. Pictured above is Autumn Garden (a gift) and below is Autumn Song. Autumn Song is available on Felt NZ.
There has been plenty of inspiration this month with Autumn leaves everywhere. I have also enjoyed seeing images of the Chelsea Flower show, especially the L’Occitane Haute Provence garden that New Zealand garden designer Xanthe White helped make. Highlights of the winning gardens can be found in this Guardian article.
Also exciting this month was the opportunity to visit the Auckland Art Fair. It was really interesting to see a large number of artworks and to discover some artists new to me. I had some interesting conversations with some of the senior art dealers in Auckland and got a good sense of how the art market is faring. It also gave me some idea of whom I’d like to exhibit with in the future. One of my personal favourites from the show were the cast glass works of Layla Walter. Pictured below is a detail from one of her artworks. The leaves in this piece about Tiritiri Matangi island are particularly lovely. Making cast glass with these sort of details is a demanding and time consuming process but the results are stunning.
I was also intrigued by the mesmorising digital works of teamLab, a collaboration of Japanese artists. Below is the rather large crowd-pleasing digital work entitled Flowers and People – Gold.
My final project in progress this month are a series of garden pictures in preparation for a book project. These have been a delight to do and I’m looking forward to creating larger-scale works in this vein.