Luise Fong: How to Talk Tree


Luise Fong is the latest McCahon House residency artist to experience the bush, beach, peace, space and seclusion of summer in French Bay, Titirangi. In residence since the beginning of December, Luise has enjoyed the relaxed pace and bush outlook, far removed from her usual ultra urban lifestyle.

When she first envisaged living and working in the purpose built residency and studio next to the cottage where Colin McCahon and his family lived in the 50s, she hadn’t realised just how powerfully the trees would surround, inspire and influence her painting. But since Luise’s work is so responsive and intuitively driven, she readily immersed herself into the new unfamiliar setting and responded directly to it. Her new series of paintings that have emerged from her summer sojourn speak strongly of the trees; their trunks, patterns and textures; their moods, mysteries and merging perspectives.

In her graceful style, Luise builds successive layers of pooling gesso - painting, wiping and drying between each exploration of the canvas. The results convey a beautiful eerie quality, suggestive of shadows and wind and the shifting focus of space and time.

Luise jests that she can now ‘talk tree’, but you sense that she is all too aware of the fragility of nature and just how vital these stoic plants are to our ultimate survival.

12 Feb - 13 April 2009