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Wendy Watson

Mixed Media Artist – Whanganui. New Zealand

The Beach – Paper, Books & Baskets

Dec 22nd 2022 – Jan 30th 2023.

Wendy had the seminal idea behind this collection of works when she developed her concertina book swap idea as part of the Call and Response Exhibition After the reactions we had in the gallery to these ideas we decided to make the challenge real and being it to life for this summer exhibition. Wendy created 8 concertina books on which she made an assortment of marks on one face, leaving the back face essentially blank. 8 artists were invited to take a book each and make it their own. Wendy provided a set of ‘instructions’

Suggestions from Wendy for on-working the books. 

Respond with any medium: paint, stitch, pen, dye, ink, pastel, collage (fabric or paper), charcoal and graphite etc.

Obliterate what doesn’t fit for you and embellish what you like.

Cut the edges, punch holes, make windows.

Add pockets, pop-ups, flaps, a series of fold outs.

Openings can stand alone or flow into one another . . . it’s your choice.  

You can even turn it over, ignore the start you’ve been given and do something entirely new.

The most important thing is to experiment!

This was one of the original books:

Concertina Book for Artist Exchange project created by Wendy Watson.

When the gallery received the books from Wendy her comment was that she had ‘found it incredibly hard to make so many things that were so similar’. This is one of the hallmarks of Wendy’s diverse practice. She quickly acquires the skills to create in a particular format and then works intensely in that expression for that series of concepts before moving on to the next challenge and solution.

We will also have some of her woven ‘baskets’ in this collection as well as her wall pieces that evoke her walks on wild west coast beaches.

Thank you Wendy for the wonderful ‘raw material’ you gave us for the concertina books.

More of Wendy’s thoughts about her practice can be found on her website:

Description of Wendy’s earlier exhibition Call and Response can be found: http://call-and-response.

Intro to Call & Response

All action is a response . . .

It is intriguing to consider the enormous variety of responses to the creative call through music, movement, the visual arts, and the written or spoken word. Each is unique whether the call be internal or external, a whisper or shout, insistent or fleeting. Whatever is created in turn calls to the viewer: posing a question; questioning thinking, emotions, values; requesting or demanding a response.

Called to be a maker by desire, curiosity and necessity it became my focus: it was not to be ignored. As someone for whom thinking and making fit naturally together, who enjoys learning new skills and techniques, I have created a diverse body of work that demonstrates my openhearted responses.

My practice is based in materiality that has developed through intensive experimentation and a commitment to making use of natural, found and recycled materials where possible. I question many conventions of my craft, preferring to rule break, experiment, and ask “what if?” and using commonplace materials in unusual ways.