The gardens are extensive, with many lakes. They are now flanked on all sides by the tall modern buildings of the commercial district, which are reflected in the lakes. It was possible to dream both that you were in the past and looking at visions of the future, or in the present and time-travelling into the past.
Vermeer 29, Oceania Hama-rikyu. With this sense of the shifting of time in my mind, I moved large sections of the glass and slid them across the image to take the place of other sections, so they replaced each other’s space. There are layers of colour, with fragments of text scratched into the surface to suggest dreams or memory. The square tiles also refer to the configurations of Japanese tatami mats. These mats are still referred to as a unit of measurement for Japanese rooms.
The Oceania Series of Vermeer reliefs
Rebecca Newnham 2020
The Vermeer series is a series of curved relief panels. Their reflective glass surfaces refract the room or the environment so that the viewer’s perception switches between the image and the reflection. Each piece starts by painting onto glass with enamels, which is then fired to fix the pigments into the glass. The glass is then cut and collaged to create a faceted, pixilated image. The shape of each Vermeer is a shallow, tensioned curve, like the lens of the eye.
The Oceania series is a group of works that reflect a trip to Tokyo and to Auckland early in 2020. Most have a relationship to water – either a beach, a lake, or the ocean – and to the natural and spiritual world. As Covid-19 was taking hold and the virus spread, they served to emphasise the value of the fiercely protected, unspoilt natural beauty of New Zealand and the restraint, focus and social consciousness of Japanese society at a time when the whole world is looking closely at itself and revaluating.
Medium: Enamelled glass, timber
Dimensions each: 920 x 920x 100mm