Pine Desk with Veneer, Wellington (1/5)

Macpherson, Mary
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Object Detail

Wellington-based Mary Macpherson is a photographer and poet whose exhibition and publishing practice spans more than thirty years. Between 2011 and 2013, she photographed trees, as others might photograph people, travelling around the country, finding and recording intriguing subjects. As she did so, she was concerned with, and struck by, the ways in which trees are shaped by human needs over time.

Working with botanical ecologist Jonathan Kennett, the artist has said, she realised how much our cultural choices have determined what the landscape contains, and how much of a commodity trees are made to be. ‘Our cities often contain beautiful tree settings, yet, if you look a little deeper, what grows in a city or the countryside may be a choice of inhabitants or Councils acting on the values of the time. As I worked, I became aware of how much we use wood. It seemed that one day a tree could be growing and the next—poof—split into lumber for a house or fence palings.’

In Pine Desk with Veneer, Macpherson presents the object made of wood, tucked into the lee of a tree’s exposed and gnarly root system. Separately they are both aesthetically pleasing objects, and together they make a composition that reminds us of the quirky and enjoyable moments and sights of urban life. But also, their pairing encourages thoughts or memories of shelter and our special contact with particular trees, along with the choices we make as we inhabit cities and impact our natural environment.
Archival pigment inks on Hahnemuehle Photo Rag
Framed with anti-UV glass
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