The Horses Stayed behind
27 January - 29 April 2018
Ten-thousand horses left New Zealand for the front lines in World War One, only four returned. It was this fact that occupied Cat Auburn during her time in Whanganui as Tylee Cottage artist-in-residence. For The Horses Stayed Behind Auburn asked horse owners from across the country to donate a small clipping of full length hair from their horse or pony’s tail which she then made into rosettes, flowers made in the style of Victorian hair wreaths.
Rather than creating a figurative motif or picture with the 500 resulting rosettes, Auburn has instead chosen to present them using a formalist aesthetic. Like a heartbeat stretched across five linen canvases the horizontal arrangement, devoid of narrative, allows each unique flower to hold onto its individuality while maintaining a role within the larger group. Each horse and rider is identifiable, in stark contrast to the anonymous fate that awaited thousands of the horses and men who left New Zealand for the war.
Education programmes are available for this exhibition.
Image: Cat Auburn, The Horses Stayed Behind (detail) 2015, horse hair, copper wire and unbleached linen. Image Richard Wotton.