Marci Tackett Rips 73 Metres of Cloth to Shreds: RIP at Toi Pōneke

4 April 2014

For Marci Tackett’s solo exhibition at Toi Pōneke Gallery she ripped 73 metres of black calico to shreds. The result was the basis for RIP - a series of printed works on paper.

Ripped Stencil 03 painting by Marci Tackett

Marci Tackett - ripped stencil print

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The title of the exhibition RIP refers to both the act of ‘ripping’ fabric and the epitaph, Rest in Peace. When both Marci’s parents passed away within three months of each other, it was the act of ripping fabric that helped the artist with her grieving. “The sound of the ripping was very therapeutic, the act of taking something solid and ripping it to shreds illustrated how I felt.”

This experience became part of Tackett’s work. Encouraged by a friend and artist, Caroline McQuarrie, Marci put together the proposal for the Toi Pōneke exhibition and from there things fell into place.

In all of the works, the initial process of ripping and the subsequent method of dropping, pressing and removing lines of fabric strips, engaged the artist in what she calls ‘drawing without drawing’, and determined the nature of the finished works. 

Throughout her exhibition Tackett plays between black and white – black strips printed in the ‘positive’, and presented on a white background, and white strips printed in the ‘negative’, as ghost images, on a black background. Black was her natural colour of choice, the traditional colour of mourning, which, according to Wellington City Council Arts Adviser Jodie Dalgleish, “poetically appears and recedes, perhaps just as a person’s presence does during a process of grieving, while it also gives rise to a full and affective body of work”.

Expanding Tackett’s subtle and varied use of print processes is a group of works that seal digital scans in beeswax, using the centuries-old ‘encaustic’ technique, giving them the sense of a precious object. Some works appear on the floor, sloping like tombstones, they carry the embossed impression of the strips in white on a white background.

Marci Tackett has a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and has been awarded artist residencies in both New Zealand and the USA.  In 2013 she was shortlisted for the Parkin Drawing Prize. She is a tutor at The Learning Connexion in Lower Hutt.

RIP opens at 5.30pm on Thursday 10 April 2014 and runs until 3 May at Toi Pōneke Gallery, 61 Abel Smith Street. Caroline McQuarrie will be facilitating Marci Tackett’s Artist Talk, 2pm, Sunday 13 April.