Kiwi Villa Kiwi Villa CREDIT: Lisa Chandler

New Zealand artist Lisa Chandler traces Nelson's history in new exhibition

Sunday 4 March 2018, 12:13PM
By Lisa Chandler


Lisa Chandler - Traces of the Past
Parker Gallery Nelson, 28 February to 21 March 2018

Dividing her time between Germany and New Zealand, Tasman artist Lisa Chandler combines her two homes in 'Traces from the Past'. Chandler explores historical Nelson and Tasman imagery using the 'trace mono-printing' technique. The exhibition is itself an installation, with new paintings added each week to culminate in a total of 50 small works. The German practice of a ‘Finissage’ (or closing party) will mark the conclusion of 'Traces from the Past' on Wednesday 21 March at 5.30pm.

Installation dates:
Wednesday 28th February (14 paintings)
Wednesday 7th March (26 paintings)
Wednesday 14th March (38 paintings)
Wednesday 21st March (50 paintings) including the Finissage, 5.30pm, all welcome.

A trace is a surviving mark, sign, or evidence of the former existence or passing of something.

To trace is to find the origins of when something began or where it came from.

The process of tracing in art is to copy an image.

In Traces of the Past Chandler links all three definitions through the imagery and the process of trace mono printing.   

Trace mono-printing is thought to have been developed by Paul Gauguin in Tahiti and produces a linear monotype image with a soft edged quality. The image is created through several steps; firstly, wax paper is inked, and paper placed over the ink. The image is drawn directly onto the back of the paper, the drawn lines are transferred and a reverse image produced. Chandler has employed both the positive and negative prints into her works, overpainting areas to create striking paintings. “I love the distressed textures and chance marks that this process creates – it fits nicely with the decaying nature of the old buildings” comments Chandler.

This exhibition includes imagery of abandoned buildings, architectural remnants, windows and doorways. Chandler also incorporated studio portraits from the well-known Tyree Studio Collection, held by The Nelson Provincial Museum. “I thought the portraits would add a personal element to the installation –  as the people could have lived in these buildings”.

Locals will recognise some of the old buildings, including ‘Pukeranga Homestead, Takaka Hill’ that has recently been put up for sale. In its 1930s heyday the homestead was an important stop, particularly for travellers trapped on the hill by snow or slips.

The painting ‘Gone’, is an image of the old villa that graced a field on the Appleby Highway for years. It was well known and loved by locals, photographed, painted and used as a background for wedding photographs many times. But it is now gone.

‘Only the Strong Remain’ features an isolated chimney in a paddock on Tadmoor Valley Road. Chandler came across this by chance when visiting friends who recently moved to the area. Chandler says “when you start to look for remnants of the past in our landscape, it is amazing what treasures you can find. I wonder what happened to the building that this old chimney kept warm for many years”

When Chandler stopped to take a look at ‘Wyperserfontein’ on Upper Neudorf Road, she fell in love with the peeling wallpaper on its interior wall. This gave Chandler the idea to include several panels of wallpaper motifs in the installation, which have translated beautifully using the trace mono-printing technique. During it’s working life the ‘Wyperserfontein’ cottage had many functions, from a hotel to a family residence, temporary accommodation for seasonal workers, a storage shed, and even a home for bees!

We normally ignore abandoned places, but if we pause to look and explore, we rediscover old worlds that are slowly disappearing. What brought people to this place and why did they leave?