From where she stands on a retired sheep farm in Te Tai Tokerau, Teresa HR Lane sees a landscape, just as much about absence as it is about presence. In the absence of life lies the strange beauty of livestock, the husk of dry land, the merging patterns of our agriculture. Lane revisits the frame, readjusts the lens, holding it on drained wetland, on erosion and the artificial emerald of paddocks pumped with superphosphate. Here For Ages remaps the landscape, readjusts our perception, abstracts the nostalgic and the familiar, and questions the way that farmland sits within the frame of Aotearoa. Lane encourages a wide awakeness and a skepticism, addressing the overlooked history of the whenua.
In one piece, two undefined figures stand before arid rock fall, in another blue sky and lime grass pressed together become almost fluorescent. Lane trims earth tones against garish primary colours; a reflection of the colour palette that surrounds her. In this collection, Lane creates abstract intersections of land, reforming the shape of maunga with silhouette and paddock, the skeletons of bare trees, the outline of a Whio sitting nearly unnoticed beneath a seeping fall of colour. The detailing makes every corner its own abstract painting, each piece a coalition of the stories that make up our modern landscape, split apart and meticulously brought back together. Here For Ages unearths a melancholia that flips the way we see the textures of rural Aotearoa.
Kicking off from concepts she explored in her last collection, Deeply Sorry Future, Lane takes down the tired landscapes found in op-shopped copies of History of New Zealand, Atlas of New Zealand, Wild New Zealand, Natural World of New Zealand, and re-examines them. The books, with faded covers and years of misread history, are given an extended life in salvaged re-purposed frames. A beautiful ensemble of brown woods, the soft asymmetry of the frames gives them a special life on the wall. But the re-framing goes beyond the past too, as Lane cuts detailing from more recent New Zealand Art Auction Magazines, intertwining ideas of appropriation, authenticity, and lifespan.
While gathering images from Forest & Bird and New Zealand Geographic, Lane felt a polarity of emotion; joy at the amazing environmental work going on and sadness that the work is needed there in the first place. The work in Here For Ages captures that simultaneousness of sorrow and hope, our growing climate anxiety paired with our desperation to mend things. It captures the clutter of feelings that approach us in re-discovering Aotearoa’s environmental narrative and reflects on the Pakehā occupation of Māori land. It is surreal and compostable, giving nature the last word as it shows through the rubble with glimmers of life.
Essay by Hattie Salmon.
Opening Event: 1 October, 11am – 1pm