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Cast of Mind, 2017

Please enquire regarding paintings and print works available: click on the images to enlarge. 

Papakura Art Gallery presents a new exhibition of oil paintings by artist Joanna Fieldes, with works selected from the last 10 years of her art practice. Recent works are based on both south and west Auckland locations. Those works are accompanied by landscape paintings based on her memory of places across New Zealand. These paintings provide a backdrop for a cast of characters, who combine and merge their shape with iconic New Zealand ceramics. These hybrid creatures are bound by the push and pull of their relationships. 

The scenarios depicted in Fieldes’ paintings blend historical ‘truths’ with fanciful, surrealist visions.  Ceramic vessels, gravy jugs, urns and egg cups become containers for history, memory and meaning. She references existing ceramics and embellishes them creating her own designs.  The vessels are abundant with wildlife and also loaded with historic and cultural ideas.

Fieldes’ ideas around land, history and domestic objects are influenced in part by her upbringing on a farm. Her current local interest is in the ceramic studios that were based in Takanini and Drury, as well as studios in west Auckland. Landmarks and places are recognisable. In Paratutae Island, (guarding the northern shores of the Manukau Harbour) an over-sized golden hued bowl sits, upside down, at the entrance to Manukau harbour. In Hunua Water Fowl iconic Crown Lynn swans settle on the Hunua Falls. These locally made ceramic forms challenge the typical depiction of the pictorial New Zealand landscape.

There is tension in the works, beyond the playful surface of the paintings colonial history is explored. The characters are caught in a theatrical tableau of confrontation or perhaps, collaboration. By using a blend of fictional and factual images, her works question both history and its interpretation. They suggest that discussions around identity are fragile. An identity may chip, or shatter, but it can also exist as a shared memory or experience of place and belonging.