Zina Swanson has always taken the measure of things. In this, her first show at Jonathan Smart Gallery, the typically controlled watercolours Temperature and Muddy Puddle Measure traverse this territory, monitoring our bodies and nature, particularly in and around their most common interface, the home. Lawn continues this theme with lightness and poise - a gently pressed and glued grass mat hanging delicately over a heated towel rail in glass.
The title work of the exhibition, My hand is a season, is different however. This is a sculpture (and watercolour) more of agglomeration than observation. Zina has fashioned a stylized tree out of box profile aluminium painted in two tones of green. It is free-standing, a little like an artificial Xmas tree. But instead of festive decorations, Zina has placed objects of the garden upon its boughs, including: a rubber kneeler; virginal white garden sox and sneakers; cork matting; a spare part for the tap; 3 growing filaments of ivy; and a 'graft' replete with curious crystals. Garden shop commodification is suggested by a rosary-like swathe of hand-crafted yellow price tags draped over the work. There is an optimistic sense of healing or transformation about the whole - gold flakes sit on a pittosporum leaf, inset cloves add spice to this notion, and the ubiquitous Swanson thermometer protrudes from a dot-painted terracotta pipe calibrating the progress of things. I can't help but think that this is Zina at her playful, material best. And the green fingered hand, the drawing which accompanies the sculpture, rounds out the work looking strangely capable, weird and wonderful all at the same time.
Press release courtesy Jonathan Smart Gallery.