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Denise Copland

Shared Lines: Christchurch / Sendai exhibiting artist


‘…is very likely’, Intaglio – etching, embossing, 373  x 270mm

1977 Diploma Fine Arts (Hons), University of Canterbury.

1971 Certificate Graphic design, CPIT.

Denise Copland is highly regarded as a master printmaker and has been awarded several prestigious awards including an Antarctic Arts Fellowship in 2001-2002 and has taken up several Artists-in-Residences since 1985. She lectured at the School of Fine Arts (1982-4), University of Canterbury, and was a Senior Lecturer at the School of Art & Design, CPIT until the end of 2006. She is now a full time artist.

Dee has exhibited extensively in over 20 solo and 145 group exhibitions since 1977.

Dee (Denise) Copland has long had an interest in human ecology and the geographic and maritime histories and climate change within, although not exclusively, the Southern Hemisphere.

If the ‘ business as usual’ scenario of industrialisation and consumerism continues unabated the adverse impact, visible and invisible, on all living ecosystems is very likely to be profound, irreversible and disastrous to the continuation of the planet’s food web as we know it.

Copland’s work explores historical and contemporary notions of survival and questions the balances and tensions between nature, humanity and culture. The linkages, relationships and shifting boundaries between nature and humankind are considered.

Her work is based on allegory and contemplates a metaphorical boarder space – the fine line that exists between life/death. Warm/cold. Success/failure. The memories of such things are explored in her workings.

‘ …… to bring into the light of day the voyages of discovery in the unconscious … what is seen….and experienced on the frontier between the inner and outer world’ – Max Ernst.

When asked about her participation in the Shared Lines: Sendai x Christchurch art exchange, Copeland stated, “What was, what is and what will be are common questions that connect the two areas and countries. For me participating in this exhibition is a way of honouring that connection.”

The concept underpinning the joint image, ‘…is very likely’, relates to the overloading of the Southern Hemisphere’s ocean’s carbon sink caused by raised levels of Co2 and acid rain in the earth’s atmosphere. This in turn is very likely to exert a profound and negative impact on all marine species and ecosystems.

Turbulence, the theme of Topsy-turvy #3 suggests that as a consequence of nature’s fury or by the pressure of industrialisation impacts, both negatively and positively, on all ecosystems and cultures. How ecosystems respond to and deal with this is largely governed by the choice to survive or not. In the case of humankind survival is often at the cost of others.

Antarctic New Zealand   

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