Rewilding the Garden by Molly Timmins

Rewilding the Garden

Molly Timmins

13 May to 09 June 2024

Sanderson are pleased to present the exhibition Rewilding the Garden featuring a new suite of paintings by Molly Timmins (Ngāpuhi, Pākehā).

Timmins is a painter based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. Her work explores gardens as both an environmental physical place, and as a painted subject throughout art history.

Directly referencing her recent master’s thesis, Timmins’ ‘Rewilding the Garden' critiques European gardening conventions, and through her research she aims to reject the organisation of the ‘gardenesque’ with its order and control.[1]

The artist’s practice takes influence from her Ngāpuhi and Pākeha whakapapa, presenting a nuanced conversation between the two. Referencing her own heritage alongside considered painting techniques Timmins' navigates the colonial influence over both the garden and painting history, and the way in which women have historically existed in these spaces within Aotearoa in the last century.

The artist explains:

“My grandmother Hazel owned a Bromeliad business, carried on by my mother today. This matrilineal relationship to exotic plants and colonial gardens provides passage and sensitivity to the garden as a domestic space of peace, identity and comfort. This is balanced by a critique of the way these histories have subjugated women within the limits of convention.

On my father’s side I have Māori heritage. My tupuna Moengaherehere signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Much like my bromeliad heritage, my Māori whakapapa has informed my work and stands behind my paintings. I am particularly interested in how these two elements of my heritage may contrast, and how by painting endemic foliage alongside synthetic decorations or imported plants this speaks to colonisation and the coexistence of different cultures within Aotearoa and its gardens.”

Timmins’ 2021 exhibition Haberdashery utilised embroidery alongside painting to navigate hierarchies of genre and craft within the art world and explore the idea of ‘women’s work’. In 2022 her exhibition Hybrid Gardens continued these ideas through depictions of personally familial garden scenes, including imagery of family owned green houses.

In Rewilding the Garden, Timmins pushes her explorations further, presenting the garden abstracted: through wild and jagged dollops of paint, a Bromeliad leaf or Ponga frond emerges, before dissipating back into 'well gardened' brush-marks. Letting the paint lead, these artworks reimagine the garden outside of any hierarchy, as its own entity and as a tangible idea led by the imagination.

[1] Timmins, Molly. ‘Rewilding the Garden’ Master’s Thesis. Whitecliffe College of Art and Design. The Print Guys, Auckland (2023) p.32

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