The Leaf Paintings

Tahuna Torea

Over the past few years there has been a shift in my work away from purely abstract forms. One day a few years ago when I was living in Sydney I picked up a couple of long gum leaves, applied paint and pressed them onto a small canvas I was working on, leaving green leaf imprints. This was the beginning of a enduring fascination with leaf structures. The nature printed leaf paintings reflect a desire to engage more directly with the natural world in my artwork. These paintings are a record of and homage to the local ecology. Some are comprised of species native to Aotearoa but more commonly they are a mixture of introduced and native species.

Untended Garden by Celeste SterlingSML

Untended Garden, 2017

Some of these works represent wild places that are relatively untouched, in contrast to the more cultivated gardens of suburbia. The leaf paintings continue to develop and in recent artworks I have been exploring a mix of themes including biodiversity in the plant world, seasonality, the function of endangered, overabundant and overlooked species in the ecosystem, and how gardens and time in nature can help us cope with difficulties and promote healing.



Winter Herbal

Winter Herbal, 2019