Focus on ‘easily overlooked things’

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ALEXIA.JOHNSTON

@alliedpress.co.nz

Behind one of the doors dotted along the Wanaka Arts Centre’s main corridor is a work in progress.

Local artist Anna Priluka works from the small room, creating intricate works of art.

Each creation is planned and researched, right down to the natural history behind the many tiny ecosystems which feature in her works.

Priluka, who recently secured herself a place at Hullabaloo Art Space in Cromwell, said her creations focused on the “easily overlooked things” that could be missed by a naked eye.

Tiny subjects such as bugs are her forte.

Piwakawaka – Mt Iron 2019.

Using traditional botanical and natural history illustrations as a starting point, each artwork relies on a range of sources – from ecological surveys and botanical identification manuals, to recipes and gardening books, she said.

Her works were “species lists made visual”.

In a time of worldwide environmental change, her artworks focused on the local and often overlooked – “the diminutive that disappears before we even notice it”.

“They seek to celebrate the wonderful diversity and beautiful strangeness of New Zealand’s natural environment, while at the same time reminding us of the fragility that is inherent in such complex, interdependent systems.”

Priluka, who moved to New Zealand from Melbourne more than 10 years ago, has also turned her artistic focus to food ecosystems in recent times.

One of those works, intricately crafted on a piece of A4 paper, is a creation which depicts all the ingredients required for a green chicken curry.

Although Priluka specialises in painting – mainly acrylic or water colour on paper – she also enjoys print-making and weaving.

“I just love it,” she said, of the many mediums she specialises in.

Alpine Ecosystem and Gecko.

 

Art had “always” been a part of her life since childhood.

Priluka, who grew up in rural Melbourne, spent her younger years surrounded by native plants and animals.

She studied print-making at Australia’s Southern Cross University in her early 20s, before moving to New Zealand.

Priluka studied ecology at Lincoln University, where she became “more and more interested” in painting the ecosystems that were used as part of her studies.

“Eventually, I moved to Dunedin to finish my BVA [bachelor of visual arts] at the Dunedin School of Arts, but ecological studies are still an important element in my practice,” she said.

Priluka, who has been living in Wanaka for the past five years, recently joined Hullabaloo Art Space in Cromwell, where many of her works are on display.