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September 2 @ 10:00 am – September 26 @ 4:00 pm
Esther Stone and Sofia Santos
2 – 26 September 2023
Opening: Saturday 2 September, 2-4pm
In Inner Landscapes, artists Esther Stone and Sofia Santos bring their own perspectives to the ways in which craft can collapse time, intergenerational knowledge, and environmental influences into physical objects, objects that connect us back to the practices of ancient times. Craft, as an art form or utilitarian skill, has the capacity to resonate on many levels; aesthetic, cultural, mnemonic, material, processual, or emotional.
Esther Stone’s Wharenui o Taku Hinengaro – Meeting House of My Mind draws on memories from the artist’s childhood as a way of storytelling and making visual decisions, intuitively, with materials. Stone’s practice is influenced by her spiritual connection to her kainga–something which helps the artist to understand her grievances and issues with the place she calls home. Named Postcards From My Memories, the main body of work in this series uses hand-made paper and embroidery to create small scale images. The size invites intimacy, and expresses the delicacy and sensitivity of the subject matter for the artist, operating almost like a diary entry. Paper can be torn, thread can be frayed, and watercolour moves and stains, just like memories and feelings. Come into Esther’s marae and try to move amongst the things she has lost connection to over time.
Sofia Santos experiments with a fragility of a different kind, that of clay and all that clay encompasses. Each of the vessels presented in this exhibition are part of a continuous body of work investigating time and meaning. Serving as a canvas for the experimental aspect of glazing in Santos’ practice, each form is an exploration of surface, texture and colour, all the while preserving the ancient qualities inherent to ceramic vessels. Somewhere in this lengthy process, the artist has observed an unearthing of subconscious influences; we are not so separate from the objects we make. The natural elements referenced in her work reflect where she has spent most of her life, the ocean, as well as echoing the traditional Portuguese vases whose shape and proportions Santos’ eye is used to.
Historically overlooked for its everyday use and gendered hierarchies, craft is enjoying a renewed interest for its immediate, tactile means of connecting with the individual behind an object’s creation, along with the long histories of process and technique informing each unique piece. Here, Stone and Santos communicate personal histories through the abstracted lens of clay, pigment, textile and form, creating an opportunity for viewers to relate from their own personally informed positions.
About the Artists
Ko Patangata te Maunga
Ko Wharekahika te Awa
Ko Horouta me
Nukutaimemeha nga Waka
Ko Ngāti Porou te Iwi
Patangata is my mountain
Wharekahika is my river
Horouta and Nukutaimemeha are my ships
Ngāti Porou is my tribe
Esther was born and raised in a small coastal town called Hicks Bay on the most Eastern point of the North Island in New Zealand. After moving to the big city and completing a BFA from Whitecliffe College she is now a multi-disciplinary artist based in Auckland, New Zealand. Her practice explores the connections she has with herself and the world around her by integrating craft practices and skills into her work, as well as painting and photography based projects.
Portuguese-born Sofia Santos is a 27-year-old ceramic artist based in New Zealand who has both a Bachelor’s in Design (Portugal, 2016) and a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts (Elam School of Fine Arts) completed as an Advanced Diploma in Arts & Crafts with a ceramic major (Hungry Creek School of Arts and Crafts, 2019). Since graduating, she has been working close to names like Nadine Spalter and Peter Collis. Alongside the development of her artistic practice, she is also an educator at The Clay Centre, where she teaches wheel-throwing courses.