Artist: Joanna Fieldes

Artist Profile

Hide Seek 2015 oil on MDF board w300mm x h200mm oval web

Joanna Fieldes Inhabit

Joanna Fieldes is a self-taught artist with a uniquely surreal vision of her country and culture, unencumbered by conventional modes of representation.  Successfully exhibiting in solo, joint and group shows in public and private galleries around New Zealand since her first solo show in Auckland in 2004, Joanna has developed a distinctively resonant style of her own.

Through her oil paintings, Joanna articulates ambiguous narratives characterised by her signature infusion of pervasive menace with gentle humour, bringing to life her farm-bred view of New Zealanders’ uneasy relationship with the land.  A dominant theme throughout Joanna’s body of work is the continuing impact of New Zealand’s colonial past on both its varied landscapes and the life forms, indigenous and introduced, that inhabit them.

Joanna recasts early confrontations between native New Zealanders and Europeans in playful yet compelling ways.  Arranged in tense tableaux staged against opalescent vistas, imported ceramic vessels in anthropomorphic guise totter about sparsely populated New Zealand landscapes like so many domesticated vehicles for the artist’s wry meditations on environmental sustainability.  Toby jug naval officers come face to face with canopic jar tribal chiefs, while egg cup and milk jug kiwi and magpies, each wittily decorated with heraldic signifiers of indigenous or exotic flora, square off against one another like chess pieces locked in diplomatic stalemate.  Meanwhile, inscrutable rabbits overrun deforested landscapes, hiding in plain view.

In Joanna Fieldes’ paintings, domestic vessels thus operate as humorous metaphors for the seething tensions and thinly veiled aggression that can lurk beneath the surface of formal encounters, along with the unending struggle to contain those invasive pests that threaten to overwhelm our native species as well as our rural economies.  Barely contained within her multi-panel canvases, they represent containers of colonial culture as well as both colonizers and colonized: containers of history linking past and present.

Artist Exhibitions

Joanna Fieldes,  David Lloyd

Friday 30 Oct 2015 - Wednesday 25 Nov 2015