Year of Residency: December 2008 - February 2009
Luise Fong was in residence over Christmas, when the weather was beautiful, so her family (and dog Ditto) made the most of nearby French Bay.
When Luise first envisaged living and working in the purpose built residency and studio next to the cottage where Colin McCahon and his family lived in the 50s, she hadn’t realised just how powerfully the trees would surround, inspire and influence her painting. But since Luise’s work is so responsive and intuitively driven, she readily immersed herself in the new unfamiliar setting and responded directly to it. The new series of paintings that emerged from her summer sojourn speak strongly of the trees; their trunks, patterns and textures; their moods, mysteries and merging perspectives.
An exhibition of these works, titled How to Talk Tree, was held at Lopdell House Gallery from 13 February – 13 April 2009, concurrently with a major retrospective of Len Castle’s ceramics.
Luise jests that she can now ‘talk tree’, but you sense that she is all too aware of the fragility of nature and just how vital these stoic plants are to our ultimate survival.
'There were significant changes to my work and my sense of self over my time at Otitori Bay Road. I felt for one of the first times in my life a real connection to Aotearoa, to this land. Living in the bush and amongst the trees helped me understand the power and importance of our natural environment, this in turn affected the work and the patterns of trees became my subject. All this was completely unexpected and I will be always grateful that my eyes have been opened in this way.'
Since the residency
Following on from her residency, Luise’s exhibition titled ‘Titirangi’ was shown in Wellington at Page Blackie Gallery.
A review of this exhibition can be read on The Big Idea http://www.thebigidea.co.nz/news/tbi-qna/60087-artist-luise-fong
Updated January 2016
The artist's latest exhibition: Requim, Antoinette Godkin Gallery, Oct 2015.