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Debris become art

Wairarapa artist Bill Taylor. PHOTO/ALEYNA MARTINEZ

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Wairarapa artist Bill Taylor said he noticed a kind of poetry intersecting in his latest work – Tidewrack – featuring sea debris turned into art.

His practise involves picking up discarded bits of fence or furniture once washed up on a seashore and repurposing it into an art piece for a gallery wall.

Placing the organic items symmetrically on a wall is something he had done for two decades, long before it was trending, he said.

Taylor said, the exhibition was about celebrating the individual wood piece and its story.

Hosted by The Watson Gallery on Perry St in Masterton, Taylor’s new works had an added heavy glazing on the rustic or damaged wood.

He used the feature to capture the horizon which was intended to highlight the journey each wood piece had been on before it was put on a wall.

During the day, Taylor is a part-time relief art teacher at Kuranui College.

His niece who was also an art teacher influenced him to start using maritime flags on the artworks. Each flag represents a specific letter of the alphabet, he said.

Having opened the exhibition on July 25, gallerist Harry Watson said covid-19 had reduced regular foot traffic to The Watson Gallery but they had managed to sell a third of the show “which is extremely respectable”.

Though pieces come from all over the country, one of the exhibition’s feature pieces was found at Lake Ferry, “I wanted to do something thought provoking and respectful,” Taylor said.

“The message was not political but it was a particularly rare and beautiful piece of rimu.

“It’s got a very pioneering-old time joinery system.”

Taylor said the wood’s age was identifiable by the nail holes in it. It reads “Full Fathom Five” which was inspired by Ariel’s Song in The Tempest, Taylor said.

It’s also the title of a painting by the late American artist Jackson Pollock who was a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement, and remains an inspiration to Taylor.

The exhibition continues until Friday.

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