‘Wildly inventive’ works to blend science and art at Waikato Museum

An Exhibition where science meets art (Photo supplied)

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton, February 10, 2023

Hamilton will host the largest-ever presentation of Elizabeth Thomson’s artworks, as an expanded version of the touring exhibition Cellular Memory opens on Friday, 10 February 2023 at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga O Waikato.

For more than three decades, Wellington-based sculptor and installation artist Elizabeth Thomson has engaged with science, nature, imagination and, increasingly, what it means to live in New Zealand in the 21st century.

Liz Cotton, Director of Museum and Arts, Waikato Museum said, “This beautiful exhibition has been travelling the country for the past five years to much acclaim, and we are honoured to present the final iteration here at Waikato Museum.”

The exhibition’s curator, Gregory O’Brien said, “These planet-like works are a wildly inventive and breath-taking exploration of life and the life force. They witness a contemporary artist testing her limits—conceptually and in terms of her materials—and moving into uncharted, hitherto unimaginable territories.”

He said, “Throughout her career, Elizabeth Thomson has been drawn to areas of scientific knowledge such as botany, micro-biology, oceanography and mathematics. With images and concepts from those fields as her starting point, Thomson’s works take flight. They impart a sense of mystery, beauty and the sheer exhilaration of being alive in a universe which is itself living, sentient and ever-responsive.”

Elizabeth Thomson- The artist (Photo supplied)

About the artist

Born in Auckland in 1955, Elizabeth Thomson is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s leading artists. Since graduating with an MFA from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 1988, she has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand and abroad. Thomson’s installations, sculptures and prints are included in major public collections throughout New Zealand.

In 1998, Thomson won the Paramount Award in the Wallace Arts Awards with her piece ‘Southern Cross Paterre’. In 1987 and 1989 she received grants from the Arts Council of New Zealand.

Works by Thomson are held in the public collections of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.

Elizabeth Thomson’s Cellular Memory Lateral Theories (Photo supplied)

Details on the Exhibition

Tailored for display in Waikato Museum’s largest gallery, ‘Elizabeth Thomson: Cellular Memory’ attests to a career-long commitment to grappling with both natural history and the human condition, fuelled by poetic imagination as well as research, fieldwork, and long hours in the studio. Amongst the highlights is a suite of dramatic new ‘exo-planet’ works, each measuring two metres in diameter.

‘Elizabeth Thomson: Cellular Memory’ is on display from 10 February to 2 July 2023 and entry is free.

It is a great excuse for art lovers, science fans and children who would be fascinated with visuals that are captivating and magnificent, even on a cellular level.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink  correspondent based in Hamilton.

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