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Tania Patterson - Still Life, 2 - 23 April 2022


This latest series of Still Lives by Tania Patterson take inspiration from Flemish Still Life paintings. As in Patterson’s previous Bird Portraits, her interpretation is very much grounded in Aotearoa. Akin to their Flemish counterparts, Patterson’s Still Life works use domestic motifs of bowls, jugs and goblets. However, unlike their source, Tania’s are not steeped in symbolism of purity and grace, and warnings of excess, Patterson’s are seen as offerings, portraying her version of a bounty, with the simple pleasures of native flora and fauna, her own quiet and personal allegories. Native frogs instead of pheasants or fish, and Karaka berries instead of grapes, these Still Life works record plant material gathered from Patterson’s immediate garden from trees planted over seventeen years. Rewarewa seeds, Karaka berries, Koromiko leaves, Pohutukawa buds, Harakeke pods, Manuka flowers. Patterson’s bounty. The bounty you see here speaks more to vulnerability and fragility rather than opulence and excess. The juxtaposition of motifs of the man-made and nature are displayed with beautiful effect. The quiet and contemplative nature of the works is a real pleasure.