For background on the artist and works, see below.
About the ArtistRobyn Webster (Christchurch) is primarily a sculptor and printmaker, although she has worked since her first exhibition, in other disciplines including painting and performance. She teaches senior painting at secondary level, but in recent years has devoted increasing energy to her own art practice, particularly using harakeke (flax fibre) for both sculptures and creation of shapes and motifs in printmaking, especially monoprints. Her monotypes also employ other natural materials for imprinting shapes – such as the giant puka leaf. Suggestions of cell structures, protective woman figures, house shapes and perhaps bloodlines, flow through her work.
Robyn Webster (Christchurch) brings the tradition of handmade artefacts and natural materials into contemporary fine art practice, most notably with her use of Industrialised Harakeke (flax) fibre both in the creation of her unique sculptures and for her semi-abstracted monoprints.
The concept of womanhood evolves within her work – from being a woman, making art as a woman, to concepts of woman as home, world as home, and of protecting the natural world. Thus her work is also about sustainability, both in terms of the earth, and all the associations of ‘woman’.
This latest series explores overlapping and recurring ideas including: the woman’s body as ‘home’, the earth (signified by plants) as ‘home’, the earth as a somewhat feminised concept, women being considered more a part of nature, and herself, ‘considering myself as part of nature’…
Our disregard for ‘nature’ is so ingrained it’s not even notice until it begins to ‘strike back’ at us – impersonally of course; but we take the erosion of our coastline through climate change as if nature was punishing us. Does this link to the treatment of the female body at home? And since I observe the world as an artist from my female self, through this alternative lens, I am very interested in inviting others to explore these themes through my work.
Her recent sculptures feature motifs of both ‘woman’ and home, a house which is solid yet open, putting down roots, enclosures that could be womb-like or protective. Through the use of harakeke processed into fibre, she explores several dualities: natural flexibility and rigidity, light and dark, indoor and outdoor, traditional and contemporary. The harakeke is painted and wrought into shape with resin to provide a material highly resilient indoor and outdoor. Hung near walls, they cast strong shadows/echoes, turning with the slightest air movement, remaining organic.
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