MFA Alumna Marie Potter recently completed a
3-week residency at New Pacific Studios Mt Bruce Kaiparoro, which is set in
rural Wairarapa. The studios are a non-profit organisation, with a sister
residency in California, which supports emerging and established artists in New
Zealand, the North and South Pacific and beyond. Living at the centre’s
historic Kaiparoro homestead with four artists in residence including fellow
Whitecliffe graduate Denise Batchelor, Marie found the beautiful grounds
tranquil. She valued the company, support and spontaneous academic discussions
that often occurred saying “the meeting of the minds is something she
experienced at Whitecliffe and sorely misses post-degree”.
Her studio based work focused on juxtaposing object with text, both individually and combined. She embraced the genres of small transient assemblages, photography and wall installation. During this time Marie researched the cultural re-contextualisation that occurred by relocating an assemblage in different physical locations. These included placing it on the ANZAC Memorial Bridge in Eketahuna, the historic Norwegian early settler church in Mauriceville and also remnants of a dilapidated homestead. As a result she experienced history as an intangible presence.
Marie felt privileged to be invited to create assemblages and photographic work utilising archeological artefacts from the Sarah and Christopher Normandell - Burnett collection held at their Kaiparoro Historic Homestead, the Normandell-Burnetts family having been the original designers / builders and owners for over 74 years. Some of the original possessions had been buried on the property and were part of a community archeological dig in the early 21st century. By working with these objects Marie challenged herself to create assemblages whose contextual focus was driven by what she was given, rather than her usual ethnographic approach.
In keeping with the vision of N.P.S. which embraces the local arts and community including museums, schools and libraries, Marie also ran workshops at both the Masterton library and Eketahuna Museum, where she found a rich source of local social and cultural knowledge and historic material. Conversations associated with the workshops enabled her to capture new knowledge including text which she then added to her studio wall installation. The installation concept was inspired by the blocks of land purchased by the early settlers, the formal layout of their settler townships, as well as the settlers themselves and significantly just how it was both socially and culturally. Marie found genuine local support and interest in her work and in the residency centre. This included local archivist and cultural author Gareth Winter and cultural author Christine Hunt Daniell, who spent time in Marie’s studio, as they both shared a common interest in not only social and cultural history, but also in the written word. This whole residency experience inspired Marie to write a small (Haiku) poem.
Time for reflection
Time for creativity
Time for stillness
Time for me
Prior to the residency Marie had worked with a new medium - bronze, and created female sculptures capturing the essence of ‘woman’. One of these new works has recently been included in the FEMAIL GLOBAL DIGITAL Exhibition, Birmingham University England, which was the final degree exam exhibition of M.F.A. student / curator Emma Leppington. Marie was one of two accepted N.Z. female exhibitors and 100 other female artists worldwide. She has also recently been invited to contribute to two cultural publications, by providing writing and supportive images of her work. These publications are part of a new Vernacular Cultural Global Movement initiative, supported by the Depot Artspace Devonport Auckland.