Woven In Pixelled Out 8 September - 2 October 2010
Bartley Company Art is delighted to present Peata Larkin's first exhibition in Wellington - a series of new paintings and lightboxes. Working on woven fabrics, she applies individual dots of paint in abstract patterns that reference, among other things, tukutuku panels, European tapestry, DNA strands and binary code. The result, writes Warwick Brown, in his book 'Seen this Century' "is art with international appeal, using the well-proven grid format, yet with a firm base in pre-European design concepts."
Larkin is interested in patterns and the way they operate as visual codes to communicate different types of information:
"Patterns strongly relate to the lineage of our visual history, and can be seen as markers to the broad spectrum of human development; within the history of painting and weaving (both indigenous and Western) through to the integral relevance of pattern in the development of science and technology (DNA strands, binary code, pixels, etc.)."
The work has strong personal connotations for the artist, who describes it as "a meeting place between my English and Maori heritages, an amalgamation of these cultures. These paintings are visual trophies about my family/whanau history." She describes the process of conceiving the works:
"I was asked to do this show around the anniversary of my father's death, and as his birthday is in September I thought it would be apt to be more overt about my English heritage. The English rose is an obvious English symbol but on a personal level, my father grew and loved roses so there is a deep emotional connection for me also.
The rose images used are derived from actual tapestry and blackwork patterns, I have modified them to look like family crests or badges of honour.
The Poutama pattern which is predominantly used in this series is a raranga (Maori weaving) and tukutuku pattern. In English it is referred to as the 'stairway to heaven'. It was said in Maori folklore that the hero Tawhiki climbed them to obtain the three baskets of knowledge. It also symbolizes the growth of man, striving upwards, whanau history and successes.
The cross symbol symbolises remembrance of those passed away. This not only refers to my father but also my ancestors of the Tuhourangi tribe that presided all around Tarawera and Rotomahana before the Tarawera eruption. They were regarded as the guardians of the Pink and White Terraces."
Peata Larkin was born in Rotorua (1973). She completed a Masters from RMIT University, Melbourne in 2007 and holds a BFA from Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University (2004). She is the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, including the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award 2006, RMIT University Scholarship for Excellence and Achievement 2006. Larkin is a finalist in the 2010 Wallace Art Awards and was formerly a finalist in the Trust Waikato National Contemporary Art Award (2006) and Recipient of Mazda Emerging Artists Award (2006). Her work is part of important collections both internationally and throughout New Zealand including and The Memphis Museum of Fine Arts in USA and the Wallace Collection (NZ).