Reuben Paterson has created a series of glitter on canvas works inspired by Cook Island tivaevae, a traditional form of quilting, which celebrate botanicals in all their glory. Paterson’s father was a landscape gardener, as is Paterson’s partner, and the artist finds himself continuously drawn back to the garden and to the natural environment as a source of inspiration and self-reflection, and as a tool for learning about the world around him.
In a recent interview in Art New Zealand, Paterson spoke about working with glitter, and the whakapapa of the material:
Glitter comes with connotations of craft, child’s play, carnival and drag. My demands allow the material a different existence, giving it opportunities to show off other parts of itself. Glitter is so reactive; before you know it, it’s kinetic, sparkling as you move around in front of it. I like to think of this as the boogie between work and viewer …. like the sun on the black sands of the west coast beaches, and the play of light across water, importantly, glitter has a whakapapa that goes back to nature.[i]
[i] Lucy Hammonds, ‘Blooming New: The Rebirth of Reuben Paterson’ in Art New Zealand, Number 164 / Summer 2017-18, p. 57.