Moray Gallery

Jessica Crothall / Punakaiki, Gates & Journeys

30 March - 18 April 2019

Recent work

Now in 2019 this new series have a more organic feel and take inspiration from the lush rainforest at Punakaiki on the West Coast, dominated by Nikau palms. A dominant colour scheme of greens, yellows, magentas and raw siennas is in evidence here.  It builds on the lessons I have learnt from my earlier art-making.

This exhibition transitions from the urban context of my response to the Christchurch earthquakes to the rural setting of Punakaiki, West Coast. I build on the tradition of NZ artists like Colin McCahon. He said his works were ‘signs and symbols for people to live by.’ He used a simplified rendering of the NZ landscape as a symbol for spiritual and ecological realities. His own Gate series done in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, included and combined social protest, calling to care for the threatened environment, with biblical themes of light and dark, death and resurrection.

In these works light breaks through the subtropical canopy lending a broader range of metaphor and experiences. Taking this series as a narrative, as a whole we start the journey on a lush bushy track but soon we are stumbling through blown over trees, stripped vegetation and trunks perched precariously on fragile trees which are about to give away – the aftermath of violent storms. Courage almost fails but we persevere. A sprawling forest giant straddles the track and we squeeze through and come into a place of green verdant abundance and shelter from calamity.