Reading Zen in the Rocks
bronze and fibreglass with liquid bronze coating
7 parts, 1,100 x 2,400 x variable mm
Reading Zen in the Rocks merges the myth of the Zen Garden and mid-century modernism, specifically the work of American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Noguchi’s Lessons of Musokokushi, 1962 a bronze garden of flat bottomed rocks are a source with the handmade Akari paper lampshades that he designed in the 1950s and which have since become an industrially produced domestic product. However, in Reading Zen in the Rocks the garden rocks have been inverted. In contrast to their bronze appearance only the top elements, the flat replica Akari, are cast. Yet the shape alludes to the concentric arcs around rocks in a traditional raked zen sand garden. The counter-intuitive inverting of materials–light-weight and humble in place of weighty and expensive–with the negation of the practical role of the shades suggests Guy’s interest in finding new possibilities in modern art and design for contemporary life.
born 1964, lives and works in Auckland
Natalie Guy’s work interrogates aspects of modernism, especially ideas of transformation and simplicity. A willful hybridity characterises her practice, as materials and forms question the orthodoxies of the modernist approach to making things new, yet ensure the persistence of a past avant-garde moment. With a formal lineage back to the work of artists Barbara Hepworth and Isamu Noguchi, Guy’s art pays homage while liberating this modern art legacy.
Guy has a Master of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, The University of Auckland. Recent exhibitions include NZ Sculpture on Shore (2016), Wallace Art Awards (2015 and 2016) and National Contemporary Art Award, Waikato Museum (2014). Guy achieved a Merit Award at the National Contemporary Art Award, New Zealand 2014, and won the Woollahra Small Sculpture Award, Australia, 2014. The Waikato Museum, The Wallace Arts Trust and Woollahra Council, Sydney, Australia hold her work.
Represented by Fox Jensen Gallery, Auckland