Artist’s Statement

Tableau

By definition a constructed composition, arranged and posed for an acknowledged audience. Like stuffed birds in a museum display, this artificially motionless arrangement, could this really be a true representation of the creatures in life?

We create our own compositions, framed beautifully by the car window, separated (and protected) by a pane of glass. Perhaps nature is more manageable contained in a frame, a window, the edges of a piece of paper. We make our mark on the landscape, fence it in, make roads framed with strings of power lines.

The work in “Tableau” has been inspired by two very different experiences, one being a road trip down the west coast from Nelson to Greymouth. The other influential experience was visiting both the National Art Museum and the Zoology museum in Copenhagen, the former with walls almost wallpapered in frames, and the latter with examples of stuffed animals, skeletons and assorted 'bits and pieces' of creatures from around the world. The culture and history of museums interest me, the idea of the collections (and collectors) of Victorian times, braving the unknown to gather exotic specimens to send home. What a job! I feel a resonance with these ghosts when I gather my own specimens, a sketch of a shag, an etching of a stand of nikau palms found by the side of the road near Punakaiki. I create my own displays and compositions of how I read the separate elements I have found. Man-made elements creep in, buildings, carvings, frames, a little too much symmetry. A reminder that we are not in the wild, we are safe inside, looking out through the windows.