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Matai, 2022

Sanguine Conté crayon and wax on Japanese Okawara paper, plywood cradle, 60 x 85cm

‘Matai’ was created using the frottage drawing process to present an intimate portrait of the Matai tree (Prumnopitys taxifolia) found in the Wanganui region of North Island NZ.

Māori used its wood for carving, making canoes and agricultural implements. They also drank its liquid to treat consumption and as an antiseptic. During rainy periods, beneath its bark, Matai reveals a blood-red under surface. Hence my reasoning behind choosing the several shades of Sanguine Conté crayon (the colour of dried blood) to render the image. Sanguine (Hematite) is a red-brown iron-oxide that allows great subtlety in rendering gradations onto paper and for its ability to create flesh tones. In this work, I wanted to convey the Matai’s subtle complex surface and its responsiveness in how it changes and reveals itself according to atmospheric and climatic conditions. As in traditional life-drawing practices, its rendering in Sanguine emphasises its presence as a living form.


work in progress

(images by Geert Donkers)

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