Essence forms part of Pauline Rhodes’s Intensum series, examining the idea of intensity and containment with traditional materials of stone and metal. Rough Banks Peninsula volcanic rock forms the base, supporting a rusted steel element and two forms of white Italian marble are laid atop. The inside vertical faces of the cruciform are gilded with Russian gold in contrast with the iron oxides of the steel.
Pauline Rhodes has been working at the forefront of experimental art since her graduation from Canterbury University’s Ilam School of Fine Arts in 1974. The first ever recipient of the Olivia Spencer Bower Foundation Annual Award, she is one of New Zealand’s senior environmental sculptors. Her largely site-specific installations challenge conventional representations of the New Zealand landscape and traditional sculptural practice.