Water is to Paper

18 July 2013

The pressures of time and the demands of life are the themes of Toi Pōneke’s latest exhibition Water is to paper, an exhibition by emerging artists Rebekah Rasmussen and Laila O’Brien.

Drawing with pencil or ink on paper, Rasmussen has created a series of repetitive ‘mark-making’ drawings accompanied by beautifully rendered images of moons, clouds, and bodies of water. She says these works reflect how the fundamental nature of time is in a constant state of flux.

"I draw to dissolve the tensions that arise from a fear of being lost to time. I draw to be still in myself."

O’Brien’s figures are suspended in washes of watercolour, which soak into the paper giving it a rippling effect.

She enjoys using paper and water to explore how materials can work together, or in opposition to each other, to create certain feelings. Some of her paintings go a step further and are free of figures; the paper becomes like a skin that has had water and paint rubbed into it.

As much as it was a shock to be diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2012, it has also reinforced O’Brien’s commitment to making art. Like Rasmussen, time management has been a real challenge.

"The process of Laila dealing with her health issues corresponded with a change in approach to her art. She began to make more daring decisions and assert more confidence in her work. Laila’s art has really progressed over the last year as she has become more comfortable with trying new things," says Rasmussen.

Water is to paper is the first time the two artists have worked together. Both will graduate Massey University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) at the end of this year.

Rasmussen was awarded the Harry van der Lecq scholarship this year, and has exhibited previously at the Engine Room, ROAR! Gallery, Thistle Hall and the Waiheke Art Gallery.

O’Brien taught English in Japan for two years prior to returning to University to study Fine Arts.

Water is to paper opens at 5.30pm on July 25 at Toi Pōneke Gallery, 61 Abel Smith Street, and runs until 17 August. The artists will discuss their work in a free artist’s talk at 6pm in the gallery on Wednesday 14 August.

Toi Pōneke Exhibitions - Water is to Paper