The Heart is an Octopus
The sea is an integral part of who we are as people. We breathe it in, and it gives us energy. Its sparkly depths entice us towards it, to dive into and explore. It provides us with food and everlasting beauty. In this exhibition Emma and Michaela have looked at the ways in which we relate to the sea and its creatures. The paintings and poems were dreamed up on countless dog walks along the coast. Watching gannets diving for food, seagrass waving in the water, catching fish in the rock pools and popping seaweed underfoot. What would it be like to be part of the ocean, to live in the water and fall in love with an octopus?
Emma’s paintings have been inspired by Michaela’s poems and vice versa. Bouncing ideas off each other and sharing how the sea intrigues us as individuals.
Poem - Michaela Keeble
like an octopus
the heart muscles its way out
makes it way along the seafloor
the heart is an octopus
too clever for its own good
the heart has a head
and sends out pain signals
the heart is governed by legislation
that only goes so far
i am already dying like an octopus
but i will also live like an octopus
puzzling my way out of the cage
when i fight i fail
my brain is big and my teeth are small
my heart has eight limbs
puzzling and reaching
sometimes at the centre
there is negative space
i am mounding up home
hiding from sharks
Emma Hercus art bio
Born in Aotearoa, NZ.
Winner of the New Zealand National Contemporary Art award 2022.
Emma’s work is a fusion of imagination, vague memories, dreams, history and legends. Of people met in the mind’s eye and folk known for years. Each piece has a vague story for the viewer to conceive. Each viewer tells a different tale.
Emma’s use of paint is experimental and purposely accidental. Layers of colours, textures, and patterns. Frequently she paints over a painting creating a murky history underneath that peeks through. Building up a narrative of ideas and concepts that give the viewers glimpses of a mythical and magical world that lives around and within all of us. Using strongly intentional strokes of the brush that leave a rough texture, pushing and pulling the paint, scratching, and scraping it back.
Growing up in rural Aotearoa, inspiration is often taken from childhood memories and dreams. The common thread throughout Emma’s work is that we need to take care of our place and its creatures, to celebrate both those we still have and those which survive only in books and artworks. ‘To make people smile’.
Show Opening Tues10th - Sat 28th October
Opening Event: Thursday 12th October 6-8pm
Meet the artist & poetry readings by Michaela Keeble.