This exhibition was deliberately timed to coincide with HB’s Blossom Festival and NZ Suffrage week, celebrating all ancestral women’s floricultural strengths plus Hawke’s Bay's abundance of flora and nature. The essence of “A Botanical Calling”, held with local artist Lizzie Beere; pulled together similar threads of our lives and experiences from childhood, blending them with current creative interests and projects.
Floriculture and creative expression, innate in me, have been embraced by many generations of my family. Installing some of my matriarchal family’s artworks in this exhibition expresses and honours this. I feel compelled to recycle unwanted industrial objects which I'm attracted to. Transforming waste into bold considered beauty. I reflect on twenty first century consumerism whilst telling an important story about hope for the future.
This exhibition is an expression of my inner world. Expressing the essence of my true eclectic self plus powerful sensual femininity whilst channelling a childlike playful enthusiasm, for nature and life. Our aim was to embrace the viewer with a rich, meaningful botanical art experience. We were thrilled with the success of the happy visitors, sales and positive feedback from this exhibition.
If you're interested in any of the pieces from here, you can find them in the portfolios on this website, and those which are available for purchase on the 'Art for Sale' page.
Quotes from “The Hook” Art Review, by Rosheen Fitzgerald
These Artworks are reminiscent of the works of grand priestess of feminist floral art, Georgia O’Keeffe, who said, “I’ll make them big…People will be startled; they’ll have to look at them.”O’Keeffe’s work is also responsible for the conflation of flowers – the reproductive part of the plant – with sex organs. It’s a charge she pushes back on the salacious eye of the beholder but it’s an association that has stuck, tied up in language and euphemism. There is an unmistakably vulvic quality to Stewart’s stone sculptures, particularly Summer Kowhai and Orchid Slipper.
Stewart’s body of work, in its expanse, epitomises the spirit of the season as well as its subject matter. The range of techniques and media she employs speak to a creativity that knows no bounds, and a flurry of activity mirrored in the busyness of the natural world. Bronze and spray paint, Totara and Perspex, repurposed vintage miscellany all have life breathed into them by the artist. There is a joyful exuberance to the electric inks that bloom on a shining circular wooden forms; to the neon up-cycled acrylic moulded into organic shapes of flowers and butterflies.
In pride of place, with its face to the street, Wherever I Look I See Flowers encompasses the droll glee that is carried through the exhibit. An antique perimeter painted electric blue and adorned with artificial blooms at first sparks interest. When, with the aid of an accompanying illustrated manual, we learn that it is an instrument for measuring peripheral vision, intrigue turns to delight.
This jubilance – in art, in the waking world around us – is, at its essence, what these women’s works celebrate.
In the words of Georgia O’Keeffe, “it is beautiful and pure and very intensely alive.”