Elizabeth Thomson: Horoeka and Antequera – Observations on Home and Abroad

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Media Release: June, 2003. 

A stunning exhibition of recent work by significant New Zealand sculptor Elizabeth Thomson opens next week at City Gallery Wellington. Entitled Horoeka and Antequera – Observations on Home and Abroad, this new body of work is inspired by Thomson’s experiences both in New Zealand and abroad.

Although Thomson has lived in Wellington for a number of years and her work is well known, she has not exhibited frequently here. Horoeka and Antequera at the Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington is an exciting and rare opportunity for Wellington audiences to see this artist’s new work.

Elizabeth Thomson first attracted wide public attention in the 1992 exhibition Distance Looks Our Way at the International Expo in Seville, Spain. New Zealand audiences then had a chance to see her exquisite cast bronze moths when the exhibition returned to tour several New Zealand galleries including City Gallery Wellington and Auckland Art Gallery.

Thomson has continued to exhibit widely and in recent years she has undertaken many public and private commissions for site-specific works—the Matterhorn in Cuba Street commissioned a work for its new interior earlier this year.

The five wall-relief sculptures in Horoeka and Antequera – Observations on Home and Abroad were made by casting juvenile and mature Horoeka/lancewood leaves from the native New Zealand tree, along with seed pods and other leaves, in bronze and painting the forms to imitate nature. By arranging these forms along the gallery walls in patterns they seem to shift and waver according to the viewer’s vantage point. Antequera is an ancient town in the plains of Southern Spain which Elizabeth Thomson visited in 2001.

About her inspiration for the exhibition Thomson says: “Horoeka is a leaf, a tree, a person, or a place (home). Antequera is an old exotic town in the interior of Spain, on the edge of a high plain under the mountains. An area inhabited since Megalithic times and where history has swept through for thousands of years—Pagan, Roman, Visigoth, Muslim, Catholic.” Elizabeth Thomson, Wellington, 2003.

Horoeka and Antequera – Observations on Home and Abroad is presented within the 360 programme – a full perspective on Wellington art and design, which is generously sponsored by Designworks. Thanks also to Colourcraft and Publication & Design, Wellington City Council.