Planting design by Winston Dewhirst
In bloom was developed by artist Steve Carr during his 2020 residency at McCahon House in nearby French Bay. Cast in bronze from car tyres and presented with living plants, In bloom presents a contrast in materials to provide a moment of reflection on states of permanence and change. Situated on the rooftop of historic Lopdell House, with views of the regenerated forests of the Waitākere Ranges, the bronze tyres reframe the increasingly urbanised surroundings of Titirangi within a narrative of change, value, waste and seasonal growth.
Carr’s art practice is often concerned with recording moments of transition. The tyres carry the language of use, reuse and reincarnation – from westie car culture and lawn ornaments to planter boxes, retaining walls, tyre swings, and a multitude of other applications in between. In contrast to the static and heroic nature of public sculpture, In bloom is filled with a changing selection of plants, reimagined by local designers at each stage of its seasonal journey around Aotearoa, from Britomart, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland for summer 2020/21, to Ōtautahi Christchurch for autumn, in association with Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, then Ōtepoti Dunedin, where it was presented at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery for the southern winter. Now returning to its point of origin, it will occupy the Lopdell House rooftop with a special spring/summer planting.
The plants in Carr’s tyres are a range of indigenous species selected by local landscape architect Winston Dewhirst, which recall attempts to clear them for farming from Titirangi’s hilly terrain and the wider region, although some still survive on sea cliffs. This planting is a collection of native weeds, a patch of pests, who by their nature thrive in exposed environments, like the rooftop of Lopdell House. Gnarled and scruffy, their wild character aesthetically complements the seemingly discarded pile of tyres. This planting is a tribute to the persistent few that remain and emphasise Carr’s consideration of permanency.
Steve Carr (b.1976) is a contemporary artist based in Ōtautahi Christchurch. With a multidisciplinary practice, spanning sculpture, photography, film and performance, Carr exhibits in Aotearoa and internationally. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Sculpture) from the Otago Polytechnic School of Fine Arts, Dunedin, in 1998 and graduated Master of Fines Arts from Elam, University of Auckland in 2003. He was artist in residence at McCahon House in Summer 2020 and presented the exhibition Fading to the sky at Te Uru in 2021 with Christian Lamont. Carr is currently a Senior Lecturer in Film and Sculpture at Ilam School of Art at the University of Canterbury.
Presented by Te Uru and made with the support of Creative NZ. In bloom will be in Titirangi until the end of Summer. Displayed courtesy of the artist and Michael Lett.
Photo: Sam Hartnett
20 November 2021 – 6 March 2022
Lopdell House Rooftop Terrace
Rooftop hours: Seven days, 10am – 4pm (closed Christmas Day)