Work: Nikau II
Construction: Crystallised sandstone, grey and blue stones
Size: H.1400mm x L.3200mm x W.900mm
Nature and change are almost synonymous with the work of Chris Booth. The sculptor has an obvious yet hushed reverence for the land - wherever he walks. Nikau II demonstrates a proficient sculptor’s keen eye for natural form, the revealing of something of nature’s ‘hidden order’. Booth finds this in the Nikau: an indigenous plant with a prevalent history, aiding the thatching of rooves, weaving, bowls and food.
Nikau II is comprised of a small, almost delicate pebble structure which sits atop a >lat crystalline sandstone slab from his home area in Northland. The pebble edifice is woven, like a blanket, with stainless steel cable, tensioning the arcs of pebbles and creating a miniature, hut-like structure. The intricacy of the structure’s braiding out of stone and steel is the mark of a talented artist’s process.
Booth himself states: “For many years it has been a vision of mine to inhabit my art with flora and fauna as well as working with land, nature, spirit [and] community”. Becoming not just a site-specific sculpture but an integral part of the nature itself, Booth’s work grows lichen, algae, moss and fern over time, becoming a mirror of its environment. Nikau II is a sort of temporary shelter for the creature who wish to inhabit it - like a birdhouse in a tree. Booth’s artwork In Celebration of a Tor, 1993, Cumbria, UK - where the hollow of the woven stone ‘tube’ encouraged animals to make a home - signalled the beginning of the artist’s encouragement of living nature within his art. Nikau II, in keeping with Booth’s oeuvre, becomes nature’s dollhouse.