Arwen completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts, New Zealand in 1995. Since then she has worked full time as a graphic designer, married and become mother to three, while continuing to paint.
The Auckland West Coast beaches and Waitakere Ranges where she grew up, have always been a strong visual influence in her creative work, as well as the journey to and from Auckland city and her home, which has recently become the township of Helensville, Auckland.
Arwen’s work examines life and the environment; its borders and in-between places, changes of state – physical, ephemeral. These narratives are explored through the use of colour, texture and layering. The borderline nature of things ever-changing, are represented by layers made from deconstructed canvas, which are individually painted and reassembled – what was once flat and unmarked has been reformed into something else. The act of reforming it is deliberate, controlled, and yet subject to accident and surprise.
The layered canvas evokes elements of protection and weathering, while also suggesting aspects of degradation, or a revealing, a falling away, a transformation of ourselves and nature. Our selves and the natural world are both subject to the effects of time, viewed as if in a shattered mirror or through a broken window.
Time’s effect on life and the environment is pervasive – at times obvious but also elusive. Canvas documentation of it’s temporal and insistent nature is shown by stripping away pieces, a decay, a fraying at the edges – or in the reverse, building tangible layers, creating a new vision that’s imperfect but suggestive of growth and future existence. Arwen’s painted canvas collage becomes an exterior, physical manifestation of an interior dialogue about our ever-changing lives and environment.…Read More