John Reynolds: Tree Rooms
On permanent display
in the Dowse Square
"Landscape is a huge subject, as big as the earth and its atmosphere and reaching out to the edge of the universe." —Paul Shepheard
The two works planted as part of the 2012 Dowse Sqaure redevelopment, Titoki Gallery and Ferox Room, propose an unnatural staging of the natural.
Both works formally create organic architectural interiors in an exterior context. Two ceremonious arrays of two distinct and striking indigenous species, forming a Titoki rectangle and a Ferox square. Two separate 'structures' in dynamic proximity, featuring closely planted perimeters demarcating a confined yet open interior.
Both function as architectural forms echoing the interior spaces and function of The Dowse. Keenly inviting people in the square to move within the works and closely experience an urban drama of trees in a civic space. Crucially, in this play on differences and sameness, the spaces become arenas with people and ideas passing—unfinished, a game of light and shadows.
Titoki Gallery consists of a long rectangle brushing the Powhiri route on toward the gallery entrance, while Ferox Room floats further into the square sharply toying with the perimeter and arrival points.
Both are grouped densely to create a permeable edge of tree trunks [over time], and an amplification of the individual characteristics and pleasures of both these species.
The works, being living, create a constant 'work in progress', tracking the hours of daylight the drift of time and the larger arc of seasons.
The Slowest Artwork In New Zealand?
Asked about Snow Tussock and Golden Spaniard, his recent outdoor works at Macraes Flat, John Reynolds remarked: ‘John McCormack told me these must be the largest artworks in New Zealand. My response was: Well, actually I see them as the slowest artworks in New Zealand. One doesn’t wish to ratchet up numbers as significant, but they’ll find their fullest expression 50, 60, 70, or even 80 years from now. It’s a process we’re on, and I’m hoping to visit year by year to enjoy the changes.
Excerpted from Painting, Planting and Performance, Roger Horrocks, Art New Zealand #122