Earlier this year, artist and writer Charlotte Watson spent a long winter month in Finland completing a residency. Mostly isolated, she spent much of her time drawing and writing. The Small Hours series captures the effects of her experience, which was no mere jaunt for someone who has spent most of her time living and working in the far south.
The prints show places of Watson’s imagination, created from residues of lore on shipwrecks that have occurred around the Subantartic Auckland Islands. Incidents such as the sinking of the Grafton and Invercauld saw men stranded, with the nearest help being 460km across rough ocean to Invercargill, the small town where Watson grew up.
“The local museum has a collection of artefacts” she notes, “seal skin boots and a measly sea biscuit, all things I frequently went to visit.”
“These prints at first glance have nothing to do with Finland, but they are the manifestation of my dreams and nightmares had during that quiet month, where all around me was frozen and landlocked, utterly white and still.
“I craved the rough coast and sea of my childhood, having grown up in the midst of the roaring 40's at the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island. There, the weather is the first point of conversation, as fronts move up from Antarctica and pummel the southern tip of the country.
“In Finland I realised that the stories I knew were those of the sea.”
To find out more about Charlotte Watson and her work, visit her website (www.charlottewatson.org).