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b. 1961, New Zealand

Fiona Pardington Biography

Fiona Pardington is a New Zealand photographer of Māori (Ngāi Tahu, Kati Mamoe and Ngāti Kahungunu) and Scottish (Clan Cameron of Erracht) descent, who is highly regarded internationally and nationally because of her inventive formats, unpredictable techniques and extremely varied range of thematic exploration. She rose in national prominence in the late eighties with her silver gelatine prints that explore the body, the female gaze, sexuality, implied violence and fetishism, often coupled with elaborate frames or mounts covered with dense and ornate collaged text. She was part of the international ascendency of women photographers in the eighties that was a reaction against male dominance—particularly via painting—in art.

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As demonstrated in A Beautiful Hesitation (22 August—22 November 2015), a large travelling survey show organised by City Gallery Wellington which in 2015 presented over 100 of Pardington's photographs, over the past three decades the artist has explored a startling range of subject matter, including rare or extinct bird specimens, bird nests, partially carved hei tiki (Māori neck ornaments), vanitas still lifes, 1950s soft-core porn, imperialist phrenology, children's letter writing, ornamental glass horses, plaster fungi replicas, the butterfly watercolours of Vladimir Nabokov, and fake hei tiki. She is extraordinarily prolific.

With these assorted projects she has proven herself extremely proficient in judging the nuances of scale, colour and illumination that accompany each image. Her images have a mystery and a satisfying cultural depth that draws on the history of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and its relationship with Europe.

Over the years her practice has been characterised by a wide range of mark-making and treatment of textures and movement. In the early years of her career it demonstrated a fluidity that is not typical of somebody investigating photography, but more associated with practitioners of printmaking or painting. An expert in tonal manipulation, she likes to explore different types of photographic sensuality.

As well as participating in numerous institutional exhibitions and biennales, Pardington has been the recipient of several notable accolades: In 1991 she was awarded the Moet et Chandon Artist Residency in the small village of Avize, in Champagne, Northeast France, forming a relationship with that nation that she has maintained all her life, and in 1996 and 1997 she held the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship in Dunedin. In 2011, she was awarded an Arts Foundation Laureate Award as well as a Quai Branly Laureate Award: La Residence de Photoquai. She is also the only New Zealand artist to have been made a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier de L'ordre des Arts et des Lettres) by the French Government—bestowed by the French Prime Minister in New Zealand in 2016.

John Hurrell | Ocula | 2019

Fiona Pardington Featured Artworks

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Auntie Ollie's White Rose by Fiona Pardington contemporary artwork
Fiona PardingtonAuntie Ollie's White Rose, 2011Pigment print on Hahnemühle cotton rag
98 x 125 cm (incl frame)
Jonathan Smart Gallery Contact Gallery
Andrew's Huia Pair by Fiona Pardington contemporary artwork
Fiona PardingtonAndrew's Huia Pair, 2020Pigment inks on Hahnemuhle photo rag, each panel 90 x 120 cm
Yavuz Gallery Contact Gallery
Fugitive Being by Fiona Pardington contemporary artwork
Fiona PardingtonFugitive Being, 2020Bronze, 24 carat gold plating and burnt Japanese wooden base
Yavuz Gallery Contact Gallery
Onawe 8 by Fiona Pardington contemporary artwork
Fiona PardingtonOnawe 8, 2020Ground rock on paper
32 x 25 cm
Jonathan Smart Gallery Contact Gallery
A85769 by Fiona Pardington contemporary artwork
Fiona PardingtonA85769, 2019Pigment inks on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag
Starkwhite Enquire
A85764 by Fiona Pardington contemporary artwork
Fiona PardingtonA85764, 2019Pigment inks on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag
Starkwhite Enquire
A69170 by Fiona Pardington contemporary artwork
Fiona PardingtonA69170, 2019Pigment inks on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag
Starkwhite Enquire
Ants on Hibiscus Petal by Fiona Pardington contemporary artwork
Fiona PardingtonAnts on Hibiscus Petal, 2014Pigment inks on Epson Hot Press Natural 310gsm
110 x 146 cm
Jonathan Smart Gallery Contact Gallery

Fiona Pardington Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Recent Photographs at Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch
Closed
20 April–22 May 2021 Group Exhibition Recent Photographs Jonathan Smart GalleryChristchurch
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Closer than they appear at Yavuz Gallery, Sydney
Closed
30 July–28 August 2020 Group Exhibition Closer than they appear Yavuz GallerySydney
Contemporary art exhibition, Fiona Pardington, TIKI: Orphans of Māoriland at Starkwhite, Auckland
Closed
12 June–20 July 2019 Fiona Pardington TIKI: Orphans of Māoriland StarkwhiteAuckland

Fiona Pardington Represented By

Starkwhite contemporary art gallery in Auckland, New Zealand Starkwhite Auckland

Fiona Pardington In Ocula Magazine

Fiona Pardington Ocula Conversation Fiona Pardington By Kate Brettkelly-Chalmers, Auckland

Working closely with City Gallery Wellington curator Aaron Lister, the New Zealand photographer Fiona Pardington has developed a retrospective that speaks to the extraordinary breadth of her practice. Fiona Pardington: A Beautiful Hesitation includes very early family portraits from the 1980s alongside her well-known photographs of objects...

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Fiona Pardington In Related Press

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The surprising links between Brexit and Oceania art exhibition Related Press The surprising links between Brexit and Oceania art exhibition 20 October 2018, New Zealand Herald

The Telegraph described it as an "ambitious and astonishing exhibition" while Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones declared he didn't just like the art but wanted to live in the world it portrays. He also speculated that modernist masters like Picasso were more influenced by Oceanic art than we might have previously realised. The...

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Inside the magical world of celebrated NZ artist Fiona Pardington Related Press Inside the magical world of celebrated NZ artist Fiona Pardington 15 July 2017, stuff

I was pretending I was 14 years old when in fact I'm 55...," says bruised photographer Fiona Pardington, ruefully considering the preceding day's events, which included a lost parrot and the Piha Volunteer Fire Brigade. She recently moved to a house high on the hill overlooking Lion Rock and the black iron-sand beach at Piha, on the west...

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ON THE ORIGIN OF ART Related Press ON THE ORIGIN OF ART 29 March 2017, ArtAsiaPacific

Like most private museums, Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is a reflection of the tastes of its founder—in this case the sex-and-death inclined David Walsh. Situated in an idyllic spot in Hobart, capital of the island state, MONA is pitched as a subversion of traditional art world institutions. Staid wall labels are abandoned in favor...

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Getting to grips with the nature of art at Mona Related Press Getting to grips with the nature of art at Mona 23 January 2017, Apollo

Since opening in 2011, the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) in Hobart, Australia, has put man’s biological impulses and realities at the heart of its curatorial mission. Mona’s founder David Walsh declared infamously that the only relevant themes in contemporary art (and the ones guiding his personal collection) were sex and death. Newspaper...

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Fiona Pardington In Video & Audio

Fiona Pardington - Ngā Ringa Toi o Tahu Related Video & Audio Fiona Pardington - Ngā Ringa Toi o Tahu 5 July 2017, Ngai Tahu

For several decades Dr Fiona Pardington has been a prominent figure in the contemporary art world both locally here in Aotearoa and internationally. An extraordinary talent, she has received numerous accolades for her hauntingly beautiful photographic works.

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