Creative Kōrero, Multi-discplinary, The Spotlight

The Spotlight: Carol Bisset

Local artist Carol Bisset is currently exhibiting at ArtsPost in Hamilton – we love seeing Tauranga artists spreading their messages around the country! Her work often contains an emotional resonance and underlying nostalgia about people, places and time. Have a read of our chat below…

CBOP: Tell us a bit about your background.

Carol Bisset: I attended Art College in the U.K., completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art (Sculpture), after leaving school. After several years teaching I went on to complete post-graduate studies with an M.A in Art Education and a M.F.A. through Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

After moving to Auckland in 1988 I began working in adult education and community visual arts programmes.

With a history of teaching across a range of ages, most recently I have dedicated more time to my art practice and acquired a studio 4 years ago with the Incubator at the Historic Village. Since then I have continued with solo and group exhibitions within New Zealand.

CBOP: What does your work aim to say?

CB: My work comes from a personal perspective, often engaging with contemporary materials and processes through ideas which relate to ‘memory, belonging and loss’. For some time I have worked with a collection of family letters collected over 25 years. These letters formed the foundation of a body of work as they address notions of connection and dislocation with people and places over time.

More than ever the topic of ‘disconnection’ within society is seen as a major issue as migration expands across the world. On an individual level as a result of emerging technologies, we appear to be losing our ability to communicate making us increasingly isolated.

CBOP: Who are your biggest influences?

CB: Apart from the usual art history references (I have a particular interest in Contemporary Installation artists), close family members who are either creatives in their own right, or have been exposed to so much art over the years they have become an authority to be listened to…. they are probably the biggest influence on my thinking.

CBOP: How do you know when a work is finished?

CB: In theory if I reach a point when I am unsure about where to go next that’s usually an indication that it might be ‘finished’, but sometimes I don’t listen to that cue. The idea of ‘finished’ works is a bit of an anomaly as the work is ongoing and rather than the notion of something ‘ending’ I like to see it more as pressing a ‘pause button’ as developing ideas take over.

CBOP: Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

CB: Coffee!

CBOP: Can you tell us a little about your current exhibition at ArtsPost?

CB: Entitled ‘Value’ this is a group show in which each of the three artists explores what value means to them. Of particular interest to me is ‘how we are seen and how we see ourselves’: this addresses issues that women have about body image and identity. The work celebrates the female form on the one hand but recognises the negative stereotypical influences that we are exposed to; it comprises large scale drawings and installation pieces.

The exhibition runs until March 16 at ArtsPost, (Chartwell Gallery), Victoria St, Hamilton and is open 10am-5pm daily.

CBOP: Anything else lined up in the wings?

CB: I was delighted to be accepted as a finalist in the 2019 Parkin Drawing Awards and travelled to Wellington to install the work which I sold on the opening night. As this was my first time entering a competition, it was a confidence-building experience which has encouraged me to go further.

I am always looking for interesting places to exhibit and particularly enjoy the challenge of alternative spaces which activate my work in unpredictable ways. At the Tauranga Fringe festival last year in the Historic Village, I installed a light work which ‘played’ with the darkened interior of the former Blacksmiths building. It’s exciting to think that there might be other opportunities out there!


Check out Carol’s current exhibition ‘Value’ at ArtsPost, Hamilton here. View Carol’s tutor profile at The Incubator here.

Creative Kōrero, Multi-discplinary, The Spotlight

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