Mary McFarlane

Room Temperature

7 March 2015 - 17 May 2015

Room Temperature presents a large scale sculptural installation that Mary McFarlane has been developing over a number of years. Wire-wove walls form two rooms containing furniture, objects, and embroideries; all of which have been handmade, altered or collected by the artist. Audiences are invited to navigate the perimeter and look through the walls of the structure. Room Temperature explores the complex nature of an illness - signifying the emotions and experiences that arise on this universal journey.

The power of absence is a fundamental element in Room Temperature which is heightened by the objects themselves. A bed, a collection of plates and cups, books, an oxygen tank, a derelict bathtub and empty medicine bottles, articulate and frame a set period in someone’s life. Embroidered on hovering table napkins, wrapped around the lightshade and painted onto chairs are words and phrases that ask for a moment of contemplation. Here, language weaves a personal narrative through the atmospheric environment.

Room Temperature presents a large-scale sculptural installation which has been developed by Mary McFarlane over a number of years. This structure is divided into two rooms – a bedroom/living room and a bathroom – joined by a short ‘hallway’. Wire-wove walls create the perimeter; dividing the internal domestic space, with the external zone for audiences. The furniture, objects and embroideries, all of which have been handmade, altered or collected by the artist, are contained within these walls. Viewers can peer into the spaces, and navigate the perimeter, but are unable to enter. This self-containment of the uninhabited ‘landscape’, viewed from a distance, fittingly provides subtle references to the complex nature of a long-term illness.

Outside of this central installation, positioned on a shelf, sit a series of ephemeral drawings on tissue paper. These works provide a light and delicate pause for visitors who are invited to pick up the scrunched forms, unravel and read them, then crinkle them back up and return them to the shelf. The fragile nature of this series becomes immediately evident. The poignant words, written in and framed by numerous colours including pink, orange, blue and silver, are revealed as the tissue becomes flat. Like those in the installation, they reference and memorialise particular moments in time. 

Mary McFarlane is a sculptor and installation artist who lives and works in Port Chalmers, Dunedin. Her exhibition history comprises solo exhibitions, group shows, collaborations and public commissions. Recent solo exhibitions include Rainlight, Hokianga, The Diversion Gallery, Picton (2014); Blue Moon, Diversion Gallery, Picton (2013); The Moon Knows, Glue Gallery, Dunedin (2012); Hikoi, Dunedin Public Art Gallery (2008) and Halfway to Paradise, Janne Land Gallery, Wellington (2007). McFarlane has been commissioned to create a public installation for Museums Wellington in 2015. 

« Back to past exhibitions