Ramon Robertson, ‘Void’ 2014. Photo: Su Leslie 2014.
Auckland is enjoying a gloriously sunny week, and yesterday I finally managed to visit the Harbourview Sculpture Trail in Te Atatu. I have an interest in sculpture as an art form, (Travel Theme: Sculpture) and a particular interest in the Te Atatu event as it is one of several in Auckland that have sprung up in response to the success of NZ Sculpture OnShore – the first outdoor sculpture exhibition in Auckland, and an event with which I’ve become very involved.
Because of the weather, my photos from yesterday are wildly colourful, so it has been interesting to strip away the colour and focus instead on the forms of the sculptures themselves.
Ramon Robertson is a Scottish artist now resident in New Zealand. His work ‘Void’ consists of a series of figures atop a tall wooden structure – contemplating their existence, or staring into the void.
Ramon Robertson, ‘The Void’, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie 2014.
Figures are also central to Anton Forde‘s ‘Te Atatu Revisited’ – a group of carved kuia (elderly Maori women).
Anton Forde, ‘Te Atatu Revisited’, 2014. Photo; Su Leslie 2014
The Kuia are carved from gorgeous red-brown hardwood, so the photographic challenge was to still capture something of the strength and wisdom of the women in whose hands the well-being of families and communities resides. I’ve relied on emphasizing the grain of the wood – distinct against the unfocused background – to suggest the age-lines and maturity of the figures.
Plant forms provide the inspiration for much of the work at Harbourview. Juliette Laird’s ‘Transplantation’ consists of a grove of “trees” with colourful knitted leaves and wound wool branches. These remind us of a time – not so long ago – when West Auckland was home to many orchards and vineyards, planted by European settlers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Would these introduced plants have seemed as ‘alien’ to the environment then as their knitted counterparts do now?
Detail: Juliette Laird, ‘Transplantation’, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie 2014
Juliette Laird, ‘Transplantation’, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie 2014
Carol Robinson created a series of ceramic pods on steel poles which she “planted” in a pond to sway gently and sit beautifully amongst the “real” plants. The colour palette of the pods is mainly black and white, but with blue and red centres. Without that burst of colour, I’ve had to rely on trying to emphasise the texture of the design.
Carol Robinson, ‘Pods’, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.
‘On Angels’ Wings’ by the Expressive Art Group, is the one piece I think actually works better in black and white. When I de-saturated the shot, it revealed the bright white hands which make up the wings, with much greater clarity than I’d seen in the colour original.
Expressive Art Group, ‘On Angels’ Wings’, 2014. Photo: Su Leslie 2014
This post was written for Sally’s Black & White Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally. I’ve noticed that I seem to gravitate towards images of art for this particular theme. I think for me that is the challenge – to somehow retain and convey the beauty of the art even as I’m taking away a part of it.
Art is a deliberate act; a construction of beauty and meaning and power in which the colours chosen by the artist – and provided by the setting – are an integral part of experiencing the work. Does art lose it’s power when stripped of this component? I suppose one could make the same argument about photographs themselves -particularly photos of three dimensional art.
And maybe that is the point of photography; by taking away some elements the photographer is inviting us to contemplate others.
Have I achieved that with any of my images? You judge.
Images shot on iPhone4 and edited with Pixlr Express.
Here are some black and white images from the challenge that I I’ve enjoyed: