Sunday, 20 May 2012

Source Exhibition 2010 Hastings City Art Gallery

Snow White and Rose Red in Marewa 2010
Digital photographs hand collaged
(limited edition of five, one sold)
Snow White in Marewa 2010
Digital photographs hand collaged
(limited edition of five, one sold)

What are little girls made of?
Volumes lining the walls of her home indicate this artist’s love of books. It’s unsurprising to discover that her first job was in a library, as Denise’s art practice could be seen as a consistent illustration of autobiography. The provocation of the ‘Source’ show has encouraged reflection. Recalling a time Grandmother, mother, aunt and herself worked together at the local picture theatre, she says a lineage of independent women has defined her. Mother created fancy dress costumes, from beloved fairy tales and at five years old, adorned in gossamer and tulle, Denise can still taste the disappointment in a wand that clearly has no magic.Aside from these difficult childhood lessons, the obvious construction of gender implied by the passive female characters of fable has been of interest. Eric Winter’s paintings in the children’s ladybird books of the sixties are coveted examples of potent archetypal images that have stayed with Denise. Snow white preserved in a ‘glass coffin’ and the prised pea that defines a princess, are particular favourites. Snow White and Rose Red, (who have appeared previously in her work) run down a Napier service lane. Representing two sides of the artist, they are now located in her own photographic landscape. The images are intentionally created without digital intervention. The camera becomes a drawing tool. Denise states that she “makes photos, not takes photos”. Working in series, personal objects are physically cut out and placed in juxtapositions that allude to ‘self portrait’. Denise’s visual narratives are intensely personal, highly metaphoric and invite the ‘reader’ to ponder what this woman is made of, and perhaps recognise themselves for a moment. 
Maree Mills, Director Hastings City Art Gallery 2010

Untitled (Fairytales with domestic objects) 2010
hand collaged digital photographs, series of nine, available individually
Source exhibition 2010
Source: a group show with Jo Blogg, Linda Bruce, Leanne Culy, Jill Webster, Anneleise Hough, Elaine Mayer, Desna Whaanga-Schollum, Fiona Hislop, Denise Wilkinson.

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