Artist: Marilyn Rea-Menzies
Medium: Pastel pencil and charcoal pencil
I have drawn and painted all my life and have been weaving tapestries since 1980. This became my principle discipline for many years but always kept my drawing going. Recipient of many awards, I have exhibited nationally and internationally, and my work hangs in many private, public and corporate spaces. It is in the collections of the Musee d'Beaux Arts, Angers, France, The Christchurch Art Gallery and Government House in Wellington. Since returning home to Westport to live I have been very much inspired by our native flora and fauna and have produced an exhibition "Extinction is Forever' which has shown in the Wallace Gallery, Morrinsville, Arts in Oxford, Canterbury, and will be shown at Pataka+Arts, Porirua in February 2021.
I have recently produced a body of work tapestries, drawings and paintings, referencing the fact that many of the species within our flora and fauna are endangered and risking extinction. This work, fits into this category very well,through focusing on time spans, fragility and endurance. This tree is a Northern Rata near Punakaiki, and started its life as an epiphyte, high in the canopy of its host, a rimu. Over hundreds of years its roots have grown to the ground and taken over the rimu almost completely. The contrast between the life span of the rata and the piwakawaka is mind-blowing, but both are at risk from the possums browsing in the canopy of the rata, and the cats, rats and stoats eating the piwakawaka’s eggs and young. The rata, too, is a member of the Myrtle family and is under potential threat from myrtle rust which is now established in New Zealand. I have a need to record this sad reality through my work and hope that it will help in some way to educate people so that many more are inspired to help protect the precious heritage of our flora and fauna..
I am truly thankful that as an artist, during Covid19 Lockdown , I was able to focus on my work, and although I missed human company because I live on my own, I was never bored. Every day in the late afternoon I would take my camera and walk through the native bush in the Westport Domain. As it is only a 5 minute walk from my home and studio, it was easily accessible and hugely inspirational for my work.