By Kip Brook Christchurch - Timber from Sumner and Mt Pleasant homes crushed in the February 22 earthquake last year have been recycled and finely shaped for an emotional art exhibition which opens in Christchurch on Saturday.
Artist and model Simon Jones has produced new 10 works out of the golden rimu timber from homes severely damaged last year for his Nunataks: Rising from the Rubble exhibition at the Fo Guang Yuan art gallery in Riccarton which runs from August 4 to September 16.
Jones said today the exhibition provided closure for him after he and his partner had been rocked by the earthquakes in the last two years. ``When the first quake struck on September 4 2010, everything shook so hard I didn't know what was going to happen - it was possibly the end of the world for all I knew. I had never been in an earthquake before,’’ he said. ``I realised that nothing was solid, everything was moving. Many times my workshop shook with thousands of aftershocks, and it took an inner strength to carry on working.
I got through the quakes with the help of meditation and I like to think my work makes people reflect and feel calm and peaceful. ``Creating these works post-earthquake, is an affirmation that life is worth living in Christchurch, and that we can rebuild our lives here, though we considered leaving many times. This work is a celebration that we in Christchurch can rebuild and that our spirit is not broken.’’
Last year, Jones auctioned off a solid oak quake cabinet he designed for the Red to the Black exhibition in Wellington with half the $2610 sale tag going to the earthquake relief appeal. The 31-year-old artist has been crafting one-off wood pieces for the past three years after working as a furniture maker's apprentice and then as an assistant for sculptor Graham Bennett. ``I suppose I just took an indirect route to becoming an artist by starting with furniture I like the artist's model where you design and craft something and put it in a gallery so people who buy your pieces are investing like they would when they buy a painting. I like one-off sculptural pieces that are art in themselves."
Jones is fortunate to have accessed free timber donated from red stickered Christchurch homes being demolished around Christchurch. His first solo exhibition is made up mostly of 10 pieces, mostly from earthquake salvaged and other recycled timber In his spare time he is a model and has been the face of campaigns for Nicolas Jermyn and Munns. - Word of Mouth Media NZ