Handle with Care
Solo Exhibition 6th June 2024 – 15th July 2024
Artist Residency 4th June – 10th June 2024.
Lea-Anne Sheather is an artist who resides on the edge of a bush reserve in the Bay of Plenty, Aotearoa New Zealand. The natural environment that surrounds her, consistently motivates and informs her work.
Lea-Anne Sheather explores the wonder within nature and the unguarded, transcendent moments she has with the natural world. She believes that if we develop a spiritual relationship with nature, and increase our contact with the wild, we will enhance our understanding of the connectedness and interdependency of all life forms. We will also deepen our empathy with other species, leading to a collective commitment to solving the worsening ecological crisis.
Sheather’s work consistently pays attention to detail. Her work draws the viewer in for closer inspection. She has worked in various mediums – painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, and textiles. Currently, she is exploring the potential of fabric. The natural environment, paintings, drawings, and materials worn through time or events or processes are a source of inspiration. In her textile work, she studies things that are not thread-based to encourage problem solving and original thinking.
As a child she was inspired by the fabrics her mother and grandmother used when they sewed or embroidered and remembers making clothes herself at a very young age, hand stitching fabrics to emulate what these women did, until she learnt to sew on her mother’s sewing machine. Her father was a bricklayer and he allowed her to play with left over wet cement or build with wood that lay around the yard.
“My upbringing involved making, building, drawing, mending, upcycling, and improvising with materials that were readily available. This was a natural part of our family life and still is. Having lived near the sea and bush my entire life, the natural environment has been and is a constant source of inspiration. My work reflects these experiences, as most materials I use are recycled materials and the natural environment that surrounds me is the motivation for my conceptual ideas.”.
Sheather’s current practice acknowledges her strong interest and background in drawing, collage, and painting. This permeates her fibre works in form and process.
Sheather’s current practice involves creating 2D and 3D textile art. These works include highly detailed fabrications that depict an imaginary construct called Island of Woo. These small-scale constructions are a direct response to the abundance of life she witnesses every day when she regularly explores the beach and bush reserves near her home. She pays close attention to details, which she describes as being like mini landscapes. She describes how even the smallest of space can teem with exuberant layers of life. Island of Woo is a visual depiction for her imagining of lively, interactive connectivity on Earth.
Larger works continue to explore our interconnectedness and interdependency with all life forms. They include freeform embroideries, fabric manipulation and appliqué that draw the lines, patterns, and wave-like layers that she saw in dreams and visions which reveal what interconnections might look like. These works are created on recycled woollen blankets. From a process perspective, having the blanket draped over her as she works and using slow stitch is a personal performance that enables her to capture the moody, meditative quality of her dreams.
Her work is held in several private collections including the Wallace Arts Trust collection and Parkin collection.
Sheather completed a Master of Fine Arts at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland in 2014.
She has won and been a finalist in several art awards within Aotearoa New Zealand, including the Miles Art Award 2014 (Supreme winner), the Parkin Art Award 2022 (Highly Commended), the Molly Morpeth Canaday Art Award 2019 (Highly Commended winner) as well as a finalist in the Walker and Hall Waiheke Art Award, and Rotorua Museum Art Award.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2018 Drawing the Road to Woo. Art and Acre Gallery, Whakatane, Aotearoa New Zealand
2016 Conflagration of the Micro and the Macro. Sanderson Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa NZ 2014 Ruins. Artspost, Kirikiriroa Hamilton, Aotearoa New Zealand
2013 Metaphorical Ruins. Whakatane Museum Gallery Te Kōputu a te Whanga a Toi, Aotearoa New Zealand
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2022 Parkin Drawing Award highly commended prize winner, NZAFA, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, New Zealand 2022 Miles Art Award, finalist, Tauranga Art Gallery, Aotearoa New Zealand
2022 I’ve Made Up My Mind Studio One, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand
2021 Rotorua Art Award finalist, Rotorua, Aotearoa New Zealand 2019 Once Upon a Time, Studio One, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand
2019 Molly Morpeth Canaday Award Highly Commended Winner, Whakatane, New Zealand
2019 Bindings, Whakatane Museum Gallery Te Kōputu a te Whanga a Toi, Aotearoa New Zealand
2018 The Winter Show Art Bay Gallery, Tahuna Queenstown, Aotearoa New Zealand
2018 The Autumn Show Art Bay Gallery, Tahuna Queenstown, Aotearoa, New Zealand
2018 Summer exhibition, Compose Gallery, Tauranga, Aotearoa, New Zealand
2017 I Live for That Energy, Studio One, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand
2017 Group drawing show, Sanderson Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.
2016 Arts Revealed, Museum Gallery Te Kōputu a te Whanga a Toi, Whakatane, Aotearoa New Zealand
2016 The Colour of Your Heart is What Matters, Studio One, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand 2015 The Supremes: Winners of the Miles Art Award, Tauranga Art Gallery, Aotearoa New Zealand
2015 Group drawing show Sanderson Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand
2015 Summer Salon Group show, Solander Gallery, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand 2015 Pop up Artist run space Gallery 8, Whakatane, Aotearoa New Zealand
,2014 Braveheart Art Exhibition, ASB Showgrounds. Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.
2014 Glaister Ennor MFA Art Awards finalist, Sanderson Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa NZ
An Accidental Glimpse Behind a Celestial Curtain, 2022, detail