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Pātaka exhibition inspired by environmental sustainability

Press Release – Porirua City Council
A sumptuous collection of interactive artworks inspired by a desire to protect our fragile oceans is coming to Porirua’s Pātaka Art Gallery and Museum.

The exhibition, “The Greening of New Blueland”, a five-year snapshot of highly tactile and seductive works from artist Elizabeth Thomson, will be displayed at Pātaka between 2 September and 2 December.

Pātaka Contemporary Art Curator Mark Hutchins-Pond said many of the pieces were inspired by the artist’s visit to the Kermadec Islands, and her support for the proposal to create an ocean sanctuary around them.

The artworks explore the related themes of overfishing, marine pollution and climate change.

He said the wall-mounted pieces were designed to replicate the marine environment, urging the audience to consider the affect we have on it.

“The incredibly indulgent pieces are designed to poetically convey the artist’s concerns about the environment, producing artwork that is very tactile but also extremely subtle.”

Many of the pieces were created by Thomson taking digital photographs of bacteria and cell structures or close up segments of the beach or sea floor, and laying undulating sections of wood or fibreglass over the top.

Glass beads have been then inlaid along the top to catch the light as visitors walk past, replicating the way the sunshine flashes off ocean waves.

“The images are so enticing you want to reach out and touch them, though of course because they are in a gallery you can’t.”

So Thomson has replicated the surfaces of each piece and created touch panels for each artwork to ensure visitors can experience what the surface of each feels like.

“Touching Thomson’s work is indeed a highly sensory experience.”

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