Fiona Pardington

Fiona Pardington

Year of Residency: June - September 2013 

During her artist residency, Dr Fiona Pardington regularly opened her studio to students and visitors to view work in progress. These admirers had the unique privilege to gain an insight into how assembled selected ephemera are transformed, under to her artist gaze and technical skills, into large scale still life photographs, many of which referenced McCahon's still life paintings. 

In her residency application Dr Fiona Pardington proposed “He Whakaotia: An Answering Hark”. Her application referred to synergies between her interests and McCahon’s, in particular with his identification with the local landscape and flora, and the way he used simple objects as transcendental motifs. During her residency Dr Pardington collected garden specimens (directly from McCahon’s former property next to the residency), flotsam and jetsam from personally significant coastal environs, and sourced bowls, candlestick holders and other material to collate into a suite of still life images.  

 “The vessels are sourced in second hand and charity stores and are serendipitous finds, operating much like the surrealist and dada objet trouve.” Dr Pardington Residency Application 2012   

 The resulting works are emotionally charged, technically awe-inspiring photographs evocative of baroque large-scale still-life paintings. This body of work will be incorporated to a publication featuring an extended body of Fiona Pardington’s still life photographs.    

Dr Pardington is represented by Two Rooms Auckland.
She an outstanding New Zealand contemporary photographer, and received the Arts Foundation Laureate Award in 2011. 

She has received many fellowships, residencies, awards and grants including the Moet & Chandon Fellow (France) in 1991-92, the Frances Hodgkins Fellow in both 1996 and 1997, the Ngai Tahu residency at Otago Polytechnic in 2006. 

Born in Devonport, New Zealand and of Kai Tahu, Kati Mamoe and Scottish descent. She completed her Doctor of Fine Arts at Elam, School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland.


Post Residency

A selection of works created during the residency  Two Rooms

Pardington's post residency exhibition  Pah Homestead  April 2014  

To view Pardington's current production of photographic images visit Pardington's blogspot

Latest Work

Updated January 2016

Pardington's upcoming exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery - A Beautiful Hesitation. Opening March 2015. The show was last exhibition at City Gallery in 2015. The show was last exhibited at City Gallery Wellington (Aug-Nov 2015) and it was her largest solo show ever shown in a public gallery. 

Read the Media Release for the show.


Fiona Pardington

The works that photographer Fiona Pardington produced as part of her 2013 McCahon House residency possess a sparse intensity that comes from making the images very much about the location and little homages. Pardington restricted herself to staging her still lifes on the plastic fold down tables in the studio, found objects, flowers from the McCahon family garden, water collected as rain. At the time Pardington was thinking a lot about the relationship between addiction, intoxication, and creativity – subjects that touched both her and McCahon’s life and art, and is reflected in the seeming fragility and vulnerability and relative emptiness of the photographs. As with McCahon’s paintings, in Pardington’s hands the simplest and humblest of objects take on cosmic and transcendental meanings, but like the memento mori paintings of the Old Masters there is a hint that all things are vanity.


Colin's Snowdrops, Photographic Beaker and Birdling's Flat Kohatu McCahon 2013

The delicate snowdrops are carefully balanced in a tilted arc on the photographic beaker, unusual in Pardington’s still lifes because it alludes to the physical presence of the artist herself in setting the scene. Snowdrops are one of Pardington’s earliest memories and reminds the artist of her grandmother (“It all goes back to her”). The minimal objects and the precariousness of the flowers suggest the fine line of addiction, faith and lack of faith. The pink paper, scavenged from Pardington’s son’s gift of flowers to his girlfriend offers a flash of gaiety and hope turned slightly lurid and hopeless in the unearthly glow of the LED lights. The pounamu is a memento from Birdling’s Flat, Banks Peninsula; a stitch in time to keep a memory.


Colin's Bearded Iris, Seaweed and Tipple Glass McCahon 2013

The iris, a symbol of lost love and silent grief, has a long tradition in the arts from the French fleur-de-lys to Van Gogh. McCahon’s tipple glasses conjure up all sorts of associations with his personal mythology of melancholy and heroic alcohol consumption, which in turn revisits traumatic periods in Pardington’s life. The Greek goddess of the rainbow Iris was a divine messenger and companion of Morpheus, god of dreams. She carried a ewer of water from the River Styx to put to sleep those who commit perjury, linking back to the tipple glasses, and to sprinkle to make rain. The dice suggest chance, change, loss, and the random nature of existence. The bull kelp reminds us that the self is an island and the sea surrounding it is a constant Shiva-like source of creation and destruction.


Andrew Paul Wood 2014

Interpretative writing commissioned by McCahon House with support from Creative New Zealand


Fiona Pardington


Represented by:

Two Rooms



Pardington’s digital photographs are available in editions of 10. 

 She produces her works in a medium and large format, with corresponding value.

These four prints are a unique size, 

(385x 288mm with 50mm border) 

with a unique value of $3,000.00 exclusive to the Trust for fundraising purposes.

 (Artist signature and edition number in verso)

Colin's Snowdrops, Photographic Beaker and Birdling's Flat Kohatu McCahon 2013 (Framed)

 1/10   SOLD 
 2/10  NFS - held in collection

Colin's Bearded Iris, Seaweed and Tipple Glass McCahon 2013 (Framed)

1/10  SOLD

2/10 SOLD

Framed McCahon Collection Print available for viewing at Lopdell House.

For further information or to view please 

Phone: +64 9 827 1649 


McCahon House Trust is a registered charity CC10637