Jhana Millers Gallery, Wellington – 11 February – 13 March 2021 – Opening 5.30pm, Thursday 11 February – Artist talk with Heather Galbraith, Saturday 6 March, 2pm
Caroline McQuarrie’s primary artistic interest is the concept of home, wherever it’s located. A senior lecturer in photography at Whiti o Rehua School of Art, College of Creative Arts, Massey University, her practice combines photography and embroidery. This latest exhibition, The New Sun “juxtaposes the empirical finds of land trace with the more speculative imaginings of what life might with the more speculative imaginings of what life might have entailed for the women living with, or alongside, the male miners within early settler-colonial Aotearoa.”
The photographs of sites of former mining activity were taken when McQuarrie was regularly travelling around Aotearoa between 2013 and 2016. While many sites are marked as historic by signs or plaques, others are “hiding in plain sight. Landforms shaped by 19th century mining for gold and quartz. These undulations, channels and (now rarely) structures are what tangibly remain from the brutal process of extraction of minerals from the land, that was fuelled by so many aspirations for prosperity. Brutal for the ecology of the land and brutal for the miners engaged in such perilous and back-breaking activity.”
The counterpoint is the linen textiles, hand-embroidered texts written by the artist to “consider the female experiences on linen. The texts in these works, written by the artist, consider the female experience, ‘filling in’ for records that are very thin on the ground. These works seek to offer a new way into thinking about this period of our history, to achieve a richer understanding of the legacies and traces threading between then and now, there and here.”
Extracts taken from the full Essay by Heather Galbraith: The New Sun: new photographic and textile work by Caroline McQuarrie. Images supplied by Caroline McQuarrie
The photographs in this exhibition have been made on the rohe of Ngāti Waewae, Kati Mahaki ki Makaawhio and Kati Huirapa ki Puketeraki (Ngāi Tahu) and Ngāti Hauā (Waikato Tainui).
Jhana Millers website: https://jhanamillers.com/exhibitions/2021/carolinemcquarrie_thenewsun.html