Glasshouses | Esther Deans
18 April - 19 May 2021
This exhibition explores the interactions and relationships that exist between natural and human worlds.
Esther has long had an interest in architectural structures; her paintings have often explored ideas about homes and ruins, or the traces of built structures within the landscape. This series of work began initially with drawings of the Winter Gardens in the Auckland Domain. These are large, Victorian buildings made of glass and wrought iron, which house lush tropical trees and flowers. In sketching them, Esther became intrigued by the process of transporting plants to new countries only to trap them behind glass, and the potential of this as a kind of symbol or metaphor for humans’ relationship to nature. The glass windows also suggested ideas about how we see the world, and of the screens or preconceptions we might look through when we view a landscape, or of the meanings we might impose on it.
Esther Deans grew up in Peel Forest and learned a love of painting from her grandfather, the landscape painter Austen Deans. She studied English literature at Victoria university, teaching English for several years before devoting herself to a fine arts career, and her love of poetry and stories continues to feed into her art practice. Esther learned a great deal about the craft and history of painting from her partner, the figurative painter David Owain Jones. She has recently finished her master’s degree in Visual Arts through Auckland University of Technology and has been awarded a scholarship to study her PhD through this university while living and working in Peel Forest.