In Defence – Lisa Patterson
Lisa Patterson is a Lyttelton-based artist whose handcrafted objects invest simple motifs with a sense of mystery and power. In her exhibition In Defence, she investigates neighbourly relationships and events through militaristic icons and materials sourced from her home.
Solid structural materials give a physicality to the pieces. Oak sourced from a tree felled in her yard is transformed into defensive objects – a disguising shield, a club, caltrops. Lead moats and toy soldiers defend against invisible enemies. There is a presence and tactile immediacy at play that enlivens the artworks. Surrounded by neighbours, Patterson dramatises the daily battles of living in a close community – the artworks becoming like props and models in a theatrical conflict.
‘With the small toy soldiers, and the scale they’re at, it’s like you can encompass the world in one place. You can see global issues just by looking at your garden and the people around you.’
—Lisa Patterson, 2023
Arranged in the gallery like the houses around her home, the artworks contain moments from the artist’s domestic life. A chandelier tells the sensational story of a drum fire in Patterson’s garden through hidden candles and clouds of steam while spalted oak bookends represent pre-earthquake steps which lead to the artist’s home with their uneven gradation. Each piece has duality in their practical use and representation of memories. Form, function and storytelling tied together.