Fiona Pardington

Pardingtons sweep inaugural Art Awards

Last night the New Zealand Arts Foundation held its first national awards ceremony and it was good news for one family of photographers.

Renowned art photographer Fiona Pardington was awarded one of the five $50,000 Laureate Awards on the night while her brother Neil Pardington picked up the $25,000 Marti Friedlander Photographic Award.

Another photographic winner at the event was Ben Cauchi, who scored one of three $25,000 New Generation Awards for rising artists who demonstrate great potential, independence and consistency in their work.

The inaugural awards ceremony was attended by five hundred guests who were greeted by a gallery of works from previous Arts Foundation award recipients.

Fran Ricketts, chair of the Foundation, says the annual Art Awards will function as both a platform to celebrate the achievements of New Zealand’s finest artists as well as encourage philanthropic support for the arts.

“We expect to grow the amount of donations to artists presented at these awards through private partnerships and are already in discussion with a number of philanthropists about establishing new awards.”

At the event the Foundation, in partnership with Macquarie Private Wealth New Zealand, also unveiled plans for a series of public art events to be held at the Auckland waterfront’s new Wynyard Quarter.

The Wynyard Quarter Arts Series will feature a writers walk, outdoor cinema, a concert in silo park, a series of events in the Stoneleigh ‘pop up’ container bar a ‘literary sandpit’ for children featuring the writing of Margaret Mahy with illustrations by David Elliot.

Image: Film Archive # 4 from The Vault series, © Neil Pardington

D-Folio – Rebecca Thornley

Roberta Thornley explains loneliness and early morning silence to Ted Gibbons.

I feel like the first and the last man on the world,” says Alan Sillitoe’s character Colin as he contemplates a training run at five am on an English winter morning in the famous short story The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.

Young Auckland photographer Roberta Thornley knows how he feels and will be trying to capture what she calls that “loneliness but also sense of self” in a series of images she is making as the recipient of the Auckland Festival of Photography Inaugural Commission. A competitive sportsperson herself for much of her life, Thornley is familiar with the extra solo effort required as an athlete to reach the top level in any sport.

“What interests me,” Thornley says, “is how much time as an athlete you actually spend at rest, quite still in your environment, and you’re aware of what is around you. Often you’re up really early or training in the darkness late at night. It might be in the back garden or out on the street, but you often find yourself in funny, quite poetic situations when you’re fully engaged in that pursuit.”

Although this new work is something she has been thinking about for some time, Thornley believes viewers will still see a continuation of the themes and feelings evoked in her images to date. Read the rest of this entry »

Fiona Pardington’s From the Field of Dreams: Phallus Impudicus and Other Species

Art photographer Fiona Pardington will be exhibiting a new series at Whanagnui’s McNamara photography gallery early next month.

The Field of Dreams: Phallus Impudicus and Other Species exhibition begins on September 2, when the artist will be in attendance for an opening reception, and runs until the end of the month.

The series collects images of wax-cast models of different mushroom species created by the19th century French botanist Jean-Baptiste Barla.

Themed around the facetious concept ‘better than nature…’ the exhibition explores the way in which these models act as a more reliable alternative to the actual specimens they replicate.

“Models being permanent, self-evident and forever available replace problematic nature; life is vulnerable and mortal and all life has its seasons,” the gallery explains.

Pardingon, whose work often examines the relationship of the photographic process to its subject, compares the use of wax-cast models in our understanding of natural history to the use of photography to enhance our observational powers.

While we might expect photographs to be an immutable recording of things as they are many of the images will have now erroneous colouration due to the pigments and various chemistry within their oil painted surfaces changing over time.

“For me this reality is part of the fragile beauty of them,” says Pardington.

For location details and opening hours click through to the gallery’s website.

Image: © Fiona Pardington

Exhibition: Fiona Pardington at Suite

Suite Gallery in Wellington is holding a new exhibition from renowned New Zealand photographer, Fiona Pardington, the first display of new work made during the artist’s recent stay in Paris at the Musee de l’Homme (Musee National d’Histoire Naturelle).

Eros & Agape features images of two sets of busts; one used in the study of phrenology, another made from the faces of French assassins, both living and dead.

The new show also features works by Charles F. Goldie, including a 1937 silver gelatin print by Goldie of Hori Pokai, which was the basis for Goldie’s superb 1937 painting A Midsummer’s day, Maoriland.

Pardington, an artist who emphasises both her Scottish and Maori heritage, has exhibit extensively in New Zealand and abroad, and will represent New Zealand in the Sydney Biennale.

Eros & Agape runs from April 23 to May 15, 2010 at Suite Gallery, 69 Owen Street, Wellington