Work: Te Waimate
Construction: Basalt Stone, galvanised steel and concrete foundations
Size: H.6550mm x W.450mm x W.450mm
Chris Booth is an artist that creates a harmony between the delicate properties of balanced pebble formations and the colossal, towering effects of rocks and boulders. Sculptural assemblages such as Te Waimate are often set in the landscape from which they originate or assimilate into, malleable to the forces of wind and water.
Booth’s beginnings are found close to the land; the native bush and boulder strewn rivers he grew up with. “Our mother, an artist, painted...they encouraged us to to use our eyes – to read the land, it’s ecology and human history. A seed was firmly sown.” Thus, the artist’s reverence for natural stone. Te Waimate rises up like a vertical string of beads, the stones strung together by steel cabling. The heavy stones used in his work are indicative of Booth’s practice; found materials that require no intervention by the hand of the artist, simply requiring an assembling in to forms that take on a sculptural identity.
Through its organised, shaped and stacked whole, Te Waimate speaks of raw natural materials and the enduring forces of nature and change. In the similar vertical stone columns of Silent People 1991, his work takes on an anthropomorphic dimension, in which the sculptures evoke visual memory of standing figures. Retaining the elemental strength of the stone, we can still understand that the work could only have been conceived through the hand of man. This push and pull is not so much a conflict in Booth’s work, but rather an agreement, an integral relation. As Booth remarked in 1993: “Above all I am trying to make my sculpture in harmony with the land.”