05/03/22 — 09/04/22
05/03/22 — 09/04/22
A delectable joyfulness lurks in Karin Montgomery’s Minores. Her dizzyingly accurate specimens, created under conditions of lockdown, provide a detailed record of the flora of her gentrified inner city Tāmaki neighbourhood. The undertaking relates to the florilegium, the form of lavish botanical album developed in Sixteenth Century Europe when wealthy patrons commissioned artists to catalogue newly-arrived plant species. In contrast to these compendiums of the exotic, this collection attends to the unsung and near at hand.
The artist, who has a background as a textile importer, has long admired botanical art — Dutch flower painting, the Eighteenth Century English ‘paper mosaicks’ of Mary Delany, and Fanny Osborne’s Nineteenth Century watercolours of the indigenous flora surrounding her home on Aotea Great Barrier Island. With the advent of the suddenly circumscribed life of lockdown, Montgomery found her attention redirected to things usually bypassed. She gathered plant cuttings on daily walks, retrieved clumps of foliage from the doorstep where they were left by masked friends and neighbours, and plucked flowers from buckets outside the local dairy. Each of her paper specimens required two exemplars — one to be completely disassembled and another to guide the process. Before the latter collapsed beyond recognition it was important that the replica was close to completion.
Confined to a few streets within walking distance of her home, Montgomery’s aliveness to its daily shifting texture took off. The lure of wilting, nibbled, dishevelled surfaces fused with a life-long love of paper. Species that she had little fondness for gained new interest once dissected. From fatigued poppies to leather-leaved rhododendrons, Montgomery’s specimens of the overlooked are feats of attentiveness and appreciation.
For the List of works available please contact Anna [email protected] 021 471047
The Gallery is open 11-4 this weekend 5/6 March then usual gallery hours (Wednesdays-Saturdays 11-3). For private appointment viewing please contact Anna.
All photographs by Samuel Hartnett