Peata Larkin uses a device that has commonly been utilised in contemporary art; the grid. While not afraid to exploit all its qualities of harmony and order, she is not confined by its limitations and has added intricacies to the matrix in order to create her very individual paintings. The starting point is to create the grid as an open mesh of string and then using a technique of her own invention she pushes paint from behind, building up many layers of paint and colour. Not only is she commenting on the materiality of paint but she turns the art of making a painting into weaving an elaborate kinetic tapestry of pattern, colour and texture.
The small beads of paint emerge from the mesh; shining dots paying homage to the early pointillists and the impressionist movement. Patterns generate and colour pulsates. There is an almost limitless supply of patterns in a vocabulary that is just the beginning. Drawing on her ancestry, early works have used traditional Maori tukutuku patterns and the patikitiki pattern, which represents the diamond cluster of stars used by early Maori navigating to New Zealand. However Western influences also abound with DNA sequences, digital pixels, symbols, codes, scientific diagrams, and the pulses that emanate from a cardiogram.
For this exhibition the mesh has been distorted, the strands pulled apart and these new tapestries enclosed in circles or ellipses. It is as if we are looking through a microscopic lens which is magnifying the paint and threads to reveal her working methods. This series is entitled Tarawera, a reference to Larkin’s Rotorua origins and her tribal connections to the area once the home of The Pink and White terraces. Just as in Maori tradition the weaver is the storyteller, these organic, rippling forms are imbued with layers of meaning.
Peata Larkin’s work has been exhibited in Christchurch, Dunedin, Hawkes Bay and Auckland and is widely collected throughout New Zealand, with work in Waikato University, Massey University and the Wallace Collection. Internationally, she is represented in collections in Australia, UK, Dubai and in the USA at the Memphis Museum of Fine Art. She also features in Warwick Browns book “ Seen This Century “ a Collectors Guide, a compendium of emerging New Zealand artists.