Helen Mitchell - 'Autobiography of a garden' - 7 July to 5 August 2023 at Photospace Gallery, Wellington Aotearoa NZ
Autobiography of a garden
Photography by Helen Mitchell
"In my garden there is a wilderness, alive with its own agenda where the plants and creatures compete and are subject to the tensions of climate and my attempts to colonise this environment. Avocado pips carelessly discarded spawn beautifully curved green leaves with a hint of bronze. Oxalis battles with dandelions, and bottles and jars appear as soon as I put my spade into the ground to cultivate new areas and trench though clay to replace decades-old drains.
"In this show I’m revisiting twentieth century photographic practice by shooting on a Agfa Clack from the 1950s and exploring how these images might relate to my garden and to images created using digital imaging techniques common in contemporary camera systems. I’m invested in place and the space that I inhabit in my garden, the environment is constantly evolving as my occupation progresses. This work is the fourth in a series of works that are loosely connected by the theme of gardening and nature.
"Work on this theme began with my project A Dose of Gardening. This was an online response to the first Aotearoa covid lockdown where participants were invited to contribute photography, writing and other artworks to an online exhibition platform. My second work titled A Month of Mondays was part of the Photospace online collaborative response to covid lockdown, A Month of Sundays. This work was a series of photographs depicting community intervention in a woodland area near my home.
"My most recent project Forest Bathing: Beyond the Picturesque reflected an expansion of my practice by documenting a selection of personal and public garden rooms from sites around Aotearoa and was exhibited at the Refinery Artspace in Nelson last summer. This exhibition refocuses on small details through an expanded survey of my own garden in Wellington. This selection of 17 photographic works comprise 7 black and white analogue images from film and 10 colour digital prints."
'Autobiography of a garden' runs from Friday 7 July to Saturday 5 August in gallery room 1.
The opening is on Thursday 6 July, 5pm-7pm.
Normal gallery hours are 10am-3pm Monday to Friday, 11am-2pm Saturdays.
The gallery is closed on Sundays and public holidays - Matariki on Friday 14 July.
Helen Mitchell is a Senior Lecturer, Kaiārahi, Photography
Whiti o Rehua School of Art, Toi Rauwharangi College of Creative Arts at Massey University.
Previous Photospace Gallery exhibitions:
2003 - 'The Kaimanawas'
2011 - 'Shifting Identity'
2012 - 'Portraits of Ink'
2013 - 'Tattoo Collectors'
2019 - Downtown Community Ministry group exhibition (co-curator/photographer).
Photography Matters II