Animals and children
The Miramar-based artist received media attention in 2010 when she exhibited a live miniature pony and its handler at the Christchurch COCA Gallery. She won the Press People’s Choice Award.
Auburn has returned to her animal theme in a new exhibition opening at The Dowse on May 12. She joins three other Wellington artists – Ben Buchanan, Ann Shelton and Matt Hunt – in Solo, part of the gallery’s winter season of Wellington artists’ projects.
Animals it is again, but this time Auburn has gone for deer, and they’re not real. She’s cast a flock of 20 fawns out of expanding foam. She says her works appear almost like three dimensional drawings or roughly sketched art forms which, although simple, suggest lithe animal movements.
“I’ve always had a strong connection with animals,” Auburn says. “I guess I’m bit of an animal nut.”
She’s interested in the way we give human characteristics and emotions to animals.
“They’re a useful tool for portraying various human traits and a more subtle way of investigating human qualities.”
She also enjoys the way children relate to her art and uses animals to engage them.
Auburn has called her exhibit Training Aids and while her deer have embossed open eyes each wears ornamental blinkers, a symbol of those often used when training horses.
“Their vision is obscured so they get a false view of the world. It symbolises coming of age, how our reality of the world and how we see it is so often constructed for us.”
Auburn is originally from Auckland where she studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts. In 2010 she was the Olivia Spencer Bower Foundation artist-in-residence based at the Arts Centre in Christchurch, and was near competing her residence when the first earthquake struck.
“That put a halt on most of my projects, but it was amazing how everyone rallied around. I was given another space to work in and was able to hold my exhibition.”
Auburn moved to Wellington last year to work as a prop-maker at Weta Workshops. At Weta she’s been busy making weapons and armour “although I’m not allowed to go into the specifics” and continues with her own work as time allows. She’s working on another project for a Wellington exhibition in December, and on a large sculpture for the opening of a new gallery in Dunedin.
Solo: Four Wellington Artists, The Dowse, May 12 to August 19.