A couple of weeks ago I had an incredible, surreal day painting outside in a huge, disused quarry, next to a beautiful lake abundant with water lilies. I was invited by The Sculpture Park in Waikato.
"In-between worlds" by Sofia Minson, 500 x 700mm, oil on canvas, 2013
18 visual artists including myself were invited to create an original artwork on-site responding to the environment. The experience was so energising that with pre-prepared background colours I broke my own record by painting three works in one day (pictured below) and they are going up for auction this Saturday.
You are all invited to...
PAINTERS AT THE PARK AUCTION
Saturday 9 March 2013
Preview and registration 4pm
Auction commences 5pm
Online preview at www.sculpturepark.co.nz/exhibitions/galleria
Venue: The Sculpture Park @ Waitakaruru Arboretum, 207 Scotsman Valley Rd, Tauwhare, Waikato (15km east of Hamilton)
"She rests with Sky above and Earth below" by Sofia Minson, 500 x 700mm, oil on canvas, 2013
"He rests with Sky above and Earth below" by Sofia Minson, 500 x 700mm, oil on canvas, 2013
BEHIND THE PAINTINGS:
The park itself is the result of an amazing transformation - Dorothy and John Wakeling bought a derelict quarry in rural Waikato 19 years ago and bit-by-bit transformed it into 42 acres of woodland garden that now houses contemporary sculptures in and around its lakes, waterfalls, native bush.
Looking into past sculpture exhibitions at the park, I was interested in a 2012 summer show with the theme “Sky Above, Earth Below.” My first walk around the 2km track took me into a massive, tree-lined quarry with a lake, laden with water lilies - this was to be my spectacular painting site for the day. Sitting in the carved-out earth enhanced the feeling of being small and occupying an in-between space such as in Maori legend, with the great sky father Ranginui above and earth mother Papatuanuku below.
Bees buzzed around my head and the sun tried to beat down on me as I took cover under the trees with my paints and canvases. The lake brought up notions of reflection, surface and hidden-depths and the entire park began to take on a new meaning. For me, driving 2 hours from Auckland to be there, the park was acting like a gateway or a catalyst for getting back to nature, offering a space of inspiration and connection in my fast-paced, digital lifestyle and reminding me of our dual spiritual and physical nature. The park was designed by human minds but it is essentially an in-between space, a space somewhere between man-made and natural, between the physical and spiritual.
The male and female figures are like us - children of sky father and earth mother. They are reposed in silent, restful communion with their parents in an in-between space. The figures are in a womb-like environment where there is no horizon line, rather the soft lighting of the whole canvas becomes their cloak, their embrace. The surface of a lake is suggested by the subtle reflection of the male who sits on a rock and the bed of lily pads that the female lies upon. Rough and sometimes geometric texture pops-up on the surface of the painting, interrupting and disturbing the peace, indicating that there are still veils to be removed and hidden layers of expression and potential to be discovered. Traditional headdresses are worn to indicate mana - huia feathers for the female and heru (ornamental carved comb) for the male.
The third work "In-between worlds" is an oil study of the surface of the lake and its water lilies. We see only a reflection in this painting and just as in life, we find ourselves in an in-between space that hides hidden worlds below and only hints at what is above.