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Rosemary Petterson (nee Harray) has been a practising artist for the last 15 years, exhibiting nationally in both sculpture and painting.  After graduating from the Otago Polytechnic School of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Art (Sculpture major) in 2006, Rose worked as an exhibiting artist, exhibitions installer and was freelancing in the film industry in a variety of roles, including production design, art direction, props master, sculptor and on-set standby. 


In 2013 she completed a Post Grad. Dip. in Design focussing on Animation/Digital Sculpture. While continuing to sculpt in a variety of media, including steel, wood, wax, paint, plastic she added 3D printing to her repertoire and employs a variety of construction methods to achieve her work.  

Rose lives in Oākura, Taranaki with her young family of 3 children.  She works from her purpose-built studio, sculpting and painting whenever she can, as school hours allow, and in between family life as well as learning two languages - Hebrew and Te Reo Māori.  Studying Hebrew and Māori with their aspects of reo (language), kōrero orokohanga (stories of creation), whakapapa (genealogy) and wairuatanga (spirituality) has greatly informed my work and added many layers of complexity to the concepts I explore. 

Wider Artistic Statement

I use my art practice as a way of understanding who I am and what the Divine Creator of the Universe is speaking to me. 

I allow the different aspects of wairua (spirit) to speak to me as I create and engage with colour and form.

I work with a wide variety of sculptural and paint medium, from the softness of wax to the rigidity of steel, from large scale immersive sculptures to small intricate paintings.  Using 3D printed material to create intricate and delicate looking work that actually has a strength and robustness to it.


Even though the medium I work with is varied, the main focus and exploration of concept remains consistent throughout my art practice.    My art practise is largely to do with identity and the duality of opposites, who we are as both physical and spiritual beings and how we relate to both the physical and spiritual worlds.

I explore the concept of opposites, where is the line between duality and dichotomy?  How do binary oppositions relate and reflect one another?  How do the seen and unseen worlds give reference to each other?  I am interested with the abstract concepts of light and dark, in relation to their physical and invisible properties. The duality of light and darkness and the separating of light and darkness.  I use solid materials in a way that speaks of both the abstract concepts of light and transparency, and also of darkness and density.  I explore the relationship between the ethereal and the earthly, the spiritual and the physical, what is permanent and what is temporary, peace and order despite chaos, the paradox of fire and water.

I work in ways that are both deliberate and intuitive. I love to employ symbolism and pattern to provide a visual starting point of who we are and how we fit in the world. And I also use a process of 'allowing', while I work. To allow the paint to pour how it likes, to allow the paint to speak the mysteries of the Spirit and the Cosmos, to reveal truths about ancient pathways and to be make visible the things that are invisible in a process that is largely intuitive. 

In 2017 I began a journey with my family into Te Ao Māori (the Maori world), we started learning te reo Māori, the indigenous language of Aotearoa (NZ), me ōna tikanga and now find ourselves in many immersion spaces. The whakaaro Māori (Māori thought) about spirituality and relationship to place, people and whenua (land) has hugely influenced the way in which I approach the concepts that underlie all of my work.  And in 2020 I started learning the Hebrew language and cultural thought, which once again has added another layer of meaning and intent to my art practice.

The exploration of these concepts ultimately lead me to the ask and answer the questions;

Who am I? And to whom do I belong?

What is my identity? both my spiritual and physical whakapapa (genealogy) 

Who are we as a part of creation and as co-creators?  

How do we sit in the liminal spaces, the spaces of the 'inbetween'? Being in the world and yet not of it.

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