Light Boxes to Cloud Your Experience of Courtenay Place

15 June 2010

Wellington artist Cathryn Monro spends a lot of time examining the skies above Wellington for the right conditions. When they're right she holds up a curtain against the sky and photographs the clouds through it. Some of the resulting images are going to take up residency in the light boxes on Courtenay Place Park.

Cathryn's work explores themes of experience and being. In Cloudfold domestic voile (net) curtains cloud the "bigger picture".

"These images of cloudscapes glimpsed through material evoke an experience of something up close, a screen or layer, and then a sense of something much larger beyond," says Cathryn.

She says that while the images are of blue skies and different cloud formations, there is a whole philosophical background to them.

"Our perception of ourselves is distorted by our personal stories, and by our social and cultural environment. This perception is woven into the very fabric of our experience, so it is often difficult for us to perceive the real, or the absolute, of what we see or experience.

It was very important to Cathryn that the images are just what they are, taken in one shot. The images are photographed in real time; there is no doctoring of the image, no double exposure or digital enhancement.

For passers-by walking around Courtenay Place in what are now dark, grey winter conditions, the light boxes will provide an uncannily familiar distraction as light blue skies stand out amid the bustle of the street.

This isn't the first of Cathryn's works to be seen in Wellington's public space. Her weathering steel work, Per Capita, was commissioned by the Wellington Sculpture Trust in 2006. It is situated just outside the Museum Hotel on Cable Street.

Cathryn grew up in Whangarei before studying at the Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland. She has exhibited in numerous group and solo shows and worked at Elam and a number of other tertiary institutions. She now teaches at Toi Whakaari, New Zealand Drama School on the Bachelor of Design for Stage and Screen degree.

Cloudfold opens at Courtenay Place Park at 5.30pm on Thursday 24 June. A second stage of the celebration kicks off at the Mark Hutchins Gallery at 216 Willis Street from 6.15pm.