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Permanent Resonance: Between the forest, trees and us (MFA 2021-22

Below is an exploration of the relationship between trees and humans, investigated during my time at Massey University while studying for a master in fine arts. You can read more in my MFA Thesis here ....

An entanglement with forest (MFA 2022) 

Snippets of the northern forest canopy drawn from each of the twenty-one bus stops along its western border between Korohiwi and Ngāmatau (Eastbourne bus terminal and Point Howard).

An entanglement with light and matter (MFA 2022) 

Intrigued by Emanuele Coccia's description of trees transforming light into a universally available food 'consumed from body to body', I reflect on the subtle playful dance between matter and light. 

"Thanks to plants and trees, the Earth receives its nourishment from the sun: the planet's mineral flesh is metamorphosed to receive light within ...transform(ing) light into a consumable and universally available commodity, into a force that animates all of the bodies that exist on Gaia. Thanks to them, food is a secret trade in light that is consumed from body to body.  These beings, to whom we pay little heed, are hard at work making the planet a place of permanent metamorphosis. As pioneering species, they are responsible for the transformation of nonliving matter into biomass, from mineral into organic... Through this intertwining, the perception of the world experienced by each living species passes first and foremost, albeit unconsciously and imperceptibly, through our experience of trees".
(Coccia, Emanuele. “Experiencing the World.” Trees, Bruce Albert et al, Foundation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 2019).

An entanglement with trees (MFA 2022) 

In spring, a group of friends and I walk the northern forest’s Hawtrey track to a grove of enormous 700-years-old Northern Rātās. Sitting at the foot of a giant mother-tree, Mandy guides us in meditation. I am stilled in this place of timelessness, drawn into the being of tree, held safely curled within its swaying trunk. Grateful the tree has opened itself to me and I to it, this is a tender moment of interspecies embodiment.


Later, we unfurl a Japanese roll of thick Kozo paper and frottage the Rātā’s twisted and gnarled trunk of coalesced roots that centuries ago encircled its host tree. Using humus soil from the base of the tree to rub over the paper, we draw the tree’s sinuous contours. As the paper rolls onto the ground I frottage the forest floor too, capturing the marks of the tree’s discarded skin. Once home, the drawings of the trunk’s contours are stitched to sculpt them into 3d again, playing delicately between the flatbed picture plane and real space. 

Studio test installation (MFA 2022) 

For my first installation I strive to replicate the experience of walking through the Forest or a Japanese garden, arranging artworks in three groups for the audience to encounter: first the forest canopy, then trees, and finally water. Manuka scent fills the room, uniting the artworks.

Permanent Resonance (MFA Exposure 2022) 

Permanent Resonance, my final presentation, explores a shared world of significance in which trees and humans are being together. It is a tribute to the bond of affection between Te Whanganui-a-Tara’s Eastbourne community and the northern forest of East Harbour Regional Park; a ritual offering reminding us of Life's impermanence and emergence and asks us to reflect on our role as Kaitiakitanga.  This installation invites us to quietly reflect on the subtle language of trees talking to us through our senses. Humus from the forest floor is used to frottage a 700-year Rātā. Scent extracted from Manuka and Karaka fills the room so visitors breathe the trees' life healing properties. Unfired clay bowls, inscribed with tributes to the forest by community members, dissolve one by one as they are placed under dripping water collected from a stream in the forest.

Mountain, Forest, and Sea (MFA 2021

In my first year of MFA, I explore notions of the living and lived body through an investigation of movement (living) and memories (lived). Mountain, Forest and Sea is a response to Kelsey Taratoa's painting Silence, which deconstructs his daily walks on Mount Maunganui to witness sunrise. Recounting my own walks along Muritai beach and East Harbour Regional Park, I use rocks and wood collected from the site to reenact the movement of my living body. I then create a second exhibition that explores the intangible quality of remembering the memories of this experience in Impressions of Mountain, Forest and Sea.

Impressions of Mountain, Forest, and Sea (MFA 2021) 

Summer Skin (Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts 2020) 

Despite Covid-19 interrupting the study year, life continue and these are some of my postgraduate works during 2020 which focus on the narrative of discarded natural materials from my local area. In the first semester I explore the materiality of pohutukawa stamen and wood collected from the felling of two 110-year-old trees at St Alban’s Anglican Church in Eastbourne.  Coordinating a socially engaged artwork with the parish community allows the trees to be commemorated and helps the community explore their memories held in this space and place. These trees were a small part of a massive planting of thousands of pohutukawa seedlings in the early 1900's along the shores of Te Whanganui-a-Tara and along the banks of the Hutt River, markers of colonisation and its process of forests becoming farms. 


During the second semester at Massey, I follow the narrative of discarded cicada moltings collected during the summer of 2020. Using sound recordings by Charles Fleming, macro photography (with generous help from Massey technician Peter Miles) and poetry I delight in discovering so much about Aotearoa's unique cicada species and their biological processes. This experience gives me a deeper appreciation of the value of art to society and a curiosity in the inter-relationship between art and science.  Arts ability to focus on inner feeling, creative problem solving, and new interpretations of understanding the world we live in, are things I would like to explore.  

Exposure Exhibition (Graduate Diploma 2019)

This is some of the work made while studying for a graduate diploma at Massey. These installations explore formalism and are created using base materials (cardboard boxes and plastic cups) which lead to an investigation of consumerism. My aim when starting at Massey was to create art in such a way as to end up with nothing, so all materials are recyclable.

Advanced Diploma Exhibition (The Learning Connexion 2018)

Here are some photographs of my work from the Advanced Diploma term 4 2018...two fantastic years of learning about play... loved every minute of it and would recommended it to anyone and everyone!

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