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Photospace gallery Bent exhibition examines trees

Photospace gallery Bent exhibition examines trees

Bent, the striking photographic series by Wellington photographer Mary Macpherson, explores how the lives of New Zealand trees are shaped by human needs.

The work is showing at Photospace Gallery from 22 February to 15 March 2014 during the International Festival of the Arts. The colour images examine the way we use and misuse trees to beautify, soften commercial environments, and for practical purposes like building houses and fences, or for newsprint.

“While making the series I became aware of how much our cultural choices have determined what the tree landscape contains, and how much of a commodity trees are, says Mary Macpherson. “Our cities often contain beautiful tree settings, yet, if you look a little deeper what grows in city or region may be a choice of councils or inhabitants acting on the values of the time.

“One of the important parts of this project was collaborating with Wellington botanical ecologist Jonathan Kennett, who has researched how critical trees are to human and planetary survival, and how the New Zealand’s tree landscape has often been shaped by the practical need to clear land for agriculture, or use suitable species for building and commerce.

“The photographs aim, as much as anything, to show us the trees we live with and to perhaps think about the choices that led to them being there,” Mary says.

James Gilberd, Photospace Gallery director, says “Mary’s images combine formal beauty with a strong social edge that makes them arresting and unexpected. It is a strong show will intrigue and appeal to a wide range of people during the Festival of the Arts.”

The Photospace show contains an extract of the 68 colour photograph series of Bent. Limited edition books and catalogues are also available.

Mary Macpherson has been photographing and exhibiting in public and dealer galleries for over 30 years. Her last project was Old New World, a book and an exhibition currently being toured by Lopdell House Gallery, Auckland. Her works is private and public collections including Te Papa, the Sarjeant Gallery, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and others.


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