Photo by: Laurie Roodt Medium: Oil on Aluminium
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Laurie Roodt

Laurie Roodt

Fine Art / MA

By Laurie Roodt

A place is largely defined by the people who live there. In this body of work, I have used Tronies (heads or mugshots), to capture the people of the Marlborough Sounds; a wild, remote, and untamed area at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. It is a place that requires a lot from a person if you are to call it home – wind gusts well over a hundred miles an hour, earthquakes abound, getting to the supermarket entails a five-hour round trip by car, or a boat and car combination, some homes are accessible by boat only. It is New Zealand’s most remote area. This was my home for eleven years, and it is home to each of my subjects.

I have selected my subjects in much the same way one would cast characters in a play. Each has been drawn from the pool of residents to present the viewer with a collective look at the people who inhabit this vast place of water, hills, and winding roads.

My subjects yielded to my wish to firstly photograph them, then produce paintings of them. It took a lot of trust on their part. Trust that was granted to me solely because I lived there too. The time I spent there was never going to be long enough for me to be considered a local, but apparently it was long enough for me to be allowed into homes, and to use my camera.

Each Tronie is an exploration of the subject’s current physical and emotional state. Simultaneously, each one is an exploration of planes, colour, geometry, and design. These are oil paintings on aluminium. They are an interaction of fluid paint on rigid surfaces, an attempt to create images of beauty whilst maintaining a sense of unashamed honesty about depicting the human face.
I have taken pains to infuse each Tronie with the subject’s individual reaction to be immortalised in paint. There was confusion, shyness, fear, scepticism, arrogance, amusement, vanity, and even some deep humility. In any event, all pretence was stripped away, and I believe that their true essence came to the fore.

When viewed as a whole, this body of work presents the viewer with a Tronie, a mugshot, reflecting the place we all got to share for a brief time in our lives: The Marlborough Sounds.

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