This feels really pure

‘This feels really pure, a blessing, baptismal even.’ (Elizabeth Thomson)

Elizabeth Thomson, Sunday Island (2011) – see footnotes for curatorial details

In May 2011, a group of artists from the South Pacific region travelled on HMNZS Otago to a place rarely explored – the sea and islands of the Kermadecs.

The Kermadecs are the most remote part of New Zealand. Despite their natural and historical significance, our awareness of the islands and surrounding waters is slight.

The Kermadec Artists Voyage provided some of our finest communicators an opportunity to document a unique encounter with one of the greatest, least known, pristine ocean sites on the planet. (from Kermadec: Nine artists in the South Pacific)

In conversation with Ruth Harvey for Art New Zealand, Elizabeth Thomson talked about the work pictured here, explaining why she strives for photographic realism (ie, why she doesn’t want the brush-strokes to show):

I don’t want to get in the way of how the work is read. It’s not about me, it’s about the concept. If my hand was visible the work would have less dimension.

Art New Zealand, Issue 143

Immersion: A Conversation with Elizabeth Thomson begins on page 30 of Art New Zealand, Number 143, Spring 2012.

KERMADEC – Nine Artists in the South Pacific opened on 04 October at the City Gallery Wellington, and runs until 10 February 2013. For further details, go to


ELIZABETH THOMSON (born in Auckland, 1955) is a sculptor/installation artist, whose work often engages imaginatively with the Pacific region. In her early twenties, she lived on Christmas Island for six months and her experiences from that time continue to shape her artistic life. Thomson’s work also has strong connections with biology, physics and other areas of science. A major survey of her work, ‘Elizabeth Thomson—My Hi Fi my Sci Fi’ toured the country in 2006-7. She is represented by Mark Hutchins Gallery, Wellington; Two Rooms, Auckland; Nadene Milne Gallery, Arrowtown and RH-Art, Upper Moutere. (from a website called The Kermadecs.

The image of the artwork: Elizabeth Thomson, Sunday Island (2011), bronze, zinc, oil pigment, lacquer, hand-formed glass, acrylic on wood disc. One of the works in ‘Kermadec’ which runs at City Gallery, Wellington from 04 October 2012 until 10 February 2013. 

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