A specific and very delicate curiosity is about to stake itself out within The Physics Room thanks to the patient and persistent hand of Zina Swanson. Drawn on by the impulse to gather and collect over the days and weeks leading up to the installation of this naturalia inspired endeavour, Swanson offers us a lengthy chain of pressed and preserved daisies as a temporary reliquary trading on the histories and evocative potential of plants.
Hoisted up upon carefully wrought glass crutches, the interlinked paper-thin blooms no longer retain the animation that initially awarded them the apt moniker of “days eye” as these unwitting flowers have fallen in to service within a much larger, elegant and memorable scheme.
Tracing the perimeter of the gallery, Swanson has left only a small ambulatory passage for visitors to this contemporarily constructed natural relic around the outside of the room. Guided into an alternative pathway of navigation about the space, the quaint and charismatic fragility of such a gesture is further removed from the hope of any widely shared or collectivising nostalgia of glowing days gone by through the work’s confident exclusion of visitors to the majority of The Physics Room’s main space.
Cordoning and corralling her public with the merest suggestion of a line not to cross, Swanson’s intense and sweetly obsessional efforts channel the captivating force of these most simple things. Their fragile materiality, and the delicacy of the task that picked, pressed and linked these small wonders that remain symbols of both innocence and deceit, stands as a dual testament to transitory and transforming fascinations, and the ever present possibility of things falling apart at any moment.
Zina Swanson is a Christchurch-based artist who graduated in 2003 from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts with a BFA in Sculpture. She exhibited with The Physics Room in 2007 and has installed a number of large scale sculptural works, as well as several solo exhibitions of drawings nationally at ARTSPACE, Auckland; Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington; HSP, Christchurch; and 64zero3, Christchurch. Swanson has work in numerous private collections and in 2007 Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu purchased the mixed media sculpture Some People's Plants Never Flower... along with a suite of eight drawings by the artist.