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Elizabeth Thomson, Cellular Memory III, 2019, glass spheres, optically clear epoxy resin, aqueous isolation, cast vinyl film, lacquer on contoured and shaped wood panel 


Cellular Memory

4 June - 1 August 2021

“We are each made up of one hundred million million cells, none of which have any idea who we are.” - Marcus Chown

For over 30 years, Wellington-based sculptor/installation artist
Elizabeth Thomson has been drawn to areas of scientific knowledge such as botany, micro-biology, oceanography and mathematics. With images and concepts from those fields as her starting point, Thomson’s works take flight. They impart a sense of mystery, beauty and the sheer exhilaration of being alive in a universe which is itself living, sentient and ever-responsive. The works in Cellular Memory attest to a career-long commitment to grappling with both natural history and the human condition, fuelled by poetic imagination as well as by much research, field-work and long hours in the studio. The result is a body of work which asks some fundamental questions: How does humanity fit within the broader realm of nature? To what extent are we a part of, or distinct from, our environment? And how might the human imagination engage with the field of scientific knowledge? - Gregory O’Brien

Born in Auckland in 1955, Elizabeth Thomson is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s leading artists. Since graduating with an MFA from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, in 1988, she has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand and abroad. Her installations, sculptures and prints are included in major public collections throughout New Zealand.      

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