Tree Work Aotearoa

'Seeing, according to Aristotle, is a process whereby the form of an object but not its matter enters into the eye.'[1] In an attempt to show matter, I use frottage as a key drawing practice. It converts the haptic encounter into a visual one through the mediation of experiencing the 'world-as-it-is', using touch to reveal what cannot instantly be seen.

Tree Work Aotearoa (2017-18), comprising of photographed frottage works in situ, presents my intra-actions with a variety of native trees found at several Department of Conservation Reserves across Aotearoa New Zealand.  Thin paper screens the surface, until the pastel or graphite reveals its topography, in an unfolding apparition of lines, scuffs, burs, and smudges that lets the surface reveal something of itself.

These surfaces, apparent to the hand but not readily to the eye, are true to each individual tree, and each kind of tree. Such drawings co-enact rather than illustrate, which enables a subconscious kind of seeing to occur, and a slow method of engaging with ecology to emerge. Thus, an attempt at post anthropocentrism involves the collaboration of makers, both human and non-human.

[1] Noë, A. Action In Perception (2006) Ch. 2, p. 40 MIT Press, Massachusetts

 © 2020 by Laura Donkers

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