Liz McAuliffe is a Hokianga-based artist whose work celebrates the diversity, uniqueness and minutiae of New Zealand flora and fauna. McAuliffe's earlier series of carved work focussed on the re-presentation of iconic New Zealand plants and animals, such as the scallop shell, kowhai seed pods, lancewood leaves and the cross-sectional 'slice' of a lotus seed pod - all designed to be displayed as wall-hung sculpture.
More recently, McAuliffe has built upon her previous series of work, taking her artistic practice in a new direction by drawing attention to the simple elegance of marine invertebrates: sea urchins, flatworms and jellyfish. These works have a dual purpose - at once presenting a highly-detailed expression of McAuliffe's personal fascination with nature and also an homage to both the animals and illustrations in AWB Powell's iconic Native Animals of New Zealand, a well-thumbed school text embedded in much of the nation's conscious as the handbook to classroom studies of the sea and the rocky shore.*
For McAuliffe, the concept of these works presents a double entendre, marking a new direction in her career in both subject and application, while referencing works from the past and making light of our implicit nostalgia for things historical. In drawing attention to the magnified aspects of New Zealand's flora and fauna, McAuliffe draws attention to how New Zealand's geographical position and general isolation has allowed the development of species unique to the country. McAuliffe celebrates this diversity and uniqueness and her work is a constant reminder of New Zealanders' close relationship with the environment. McAuliffe works in variety of media, from MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) to 40,000 year old swamp Kauri, manipulating the media with instruments from chainsaw to chisel before finishing with paint. By exaggerating scale, McAuliffe brings natural details into human proportion, encouraging the viewer to reflect on their own experience of nature.
McAuliffe's work has featured in various publications, including recent issues of Trends and Life & Leisure magazines. She is a regular exhibitor in group shows throughout New Zealand and has recently held her first solo exhibition in Kohukohu's newly established and thriving Village Arts Gallery.
*AWB Powell's book was first published as a zoology handbook in 1947 by the Auckland Museum and became a standard school text. The 4th edition is still being sold today through the museum.
*Works are examples only. Please contact us to see what is available