Crystallized fallen pine, saltworks boundary

Wayne Barrar, Artist;  Photographer; 

This is one of the photographs in our collection. It was made in Marlborough, New Zealand in 1989.
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Object Detail

About the Work
This dusky pink, slight sci-fi Wayne Barrar image seems to depict a cloudy blush potion, with a trapped tree dipping its branches and cones into clutching crystals. This image was chosen because of its tantalising associations with food, with swimming, and with discovering something new and perhaps a little unsettling. It's also a beautiful image in itself, and when taken in tandem with its suite-mates in 'Saltworks: The Processed Landscape', it presents an intriguing glimpse into a very commodified landscape, and the mass production of something as everyday as table salt.
Riah King-Wall, a freelance cultural sector professional and postgraduate student, for the April 2020 instalment of the My Choice exhibition series.
Image: H270 x W355mm
Base: H310 x W405mm *(photographic paper and black border)
Cibachrome print
Part of a collection of works from the series "Saltworks: The processed landscape" which was exhibited and toured in 1989. These images were taken at the Lake Grassmere Saltworks, which is situated 34km south east of Blenheim. The artist has maintained a keen interest in landscapes altered by human intervention through industry and the commercialisation of the land.
In the catalogue from this exhibition Joanna Paul writes of his work in her essay' A Human Ecology': " In pursuit of intelligibility, Wayne Barrars very formal photographs attain great beauty, in their refusal to interpret or judge they aquire presence. Dispassion might be called cold. There is no personal narrative in his chronology of process, But to my mind the photogrpahs generally and those of the saltworks in particular have a brilliance and a life quickened by their singular embodiment of a vision of landscape...Salt itself is interestingly both natural and inorganic. Colour in the white landscape might be read as heraldic (Loading truck (harvest) 1988); stockpiled spare parts are as orderly in their field of flowers as the deserted battlefield of Robert Bression's 'Lancelot du lac'. A marginal reading might link the crystallization of salt with alchemical transformation, a residue of the narrative - not something teased out by the artist. The shift into colour from graphic teacherly black and white is no indulgance. Colour is a statement of the salt-making process. Blu registers winter and water depth. Red - salinity, summer, krill, evaporation. The photographs trace the two -year cycle of salt crystalization - camera assiduously patiently set up (to avoid constant winds) int he stillness of dawn or evening light. Painstaking preperation, stalking of subject, tiresome journeys transformed into soignée images. Cibachrome does not impart extra gloss but it a logical medium for the mirror-still surfaces of sea and sky, for colour itself quasi-"artificial". "
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Purchased, 1989.
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date



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