In my art, I often explore the many challenges that women have to confront and overcome. These challenges can be... Read More
In my art, I often explore the many challenges that women have
to confront and overcome. These
challenges can be triggered by events such as earthquakes, fires or floods, but
more often by relationship breakdowns, medical mishaps, financial and social
constraints, or simply by age. A rude
comment, suggesting my ‘use by’ date had passed, inspired a series of 21 works
which I called “Old Bag”.
After trying several types of support for the paintings, I
discovered old wool packs (fadges). Although they were a challenge to paint on,
they are an integral part of the wool industry that has historically been a backbone
of New Zealand’s economy and the symbolism of their original and continuing use
was irresistible. At the wool store,
fadges are sliced open so a fleece sample can be pulled out for testing. The
gash is then stitched up. When they become too damaged to hold wool, the packs often
take on a new life, for example as useful bags for gardeners or builders.
The discarded fadges seemed ideal canvases for a series of
paintings about the amazing resilience and resourcefulness of women in
particular. But I also came to see them as a metaphor for everyone who survives
a disaster of some sort. Despite age, all sorts of mutilation, and disasters
man-made or natural, we can continue to contribute to society. As survivors, we
can express great joy in just being alive.
I use a restricted palette of colours - a challenge in
itself - to make each work individual, just as each of us is an individual
with something to offer to the world.