Sally Tagg

Pukanui Portal

glass photo-montage
2170 x 1400mm

New Zealand based photographic artist Sally Tagg specialises in large format botanical images and flower studies. She exhibits her artwork locally as well as internationally and has produced a number of books. In one of the most well-known of these she combined her talents with author Witi Ihimaera to produce the photographic portrait book ‘On Top Down Under’(1998).
Most recently Sally Tagg has focused on botanical images in her work. Brick Bay’s Pukanui Portal draws together her interest in botanical images and the symbols of life, death and spirituality. The colour green symbolises growth and renewal, the skeletal leaves suggest the cycle of life; combined they form a mandala-like 'sacred space'.
In terms of technical expertise, Tagg’s work has long been distinctive. She has often stepped beyond traditional photographic techniques, preferring to manipulate images with layering and using a variety of strata to create a hybrid image. Recently she has developed a system that allows her work to be hung outside, by printing onto vinyl and perspex with U.V. resistant inks. She has taken her Brick Bay work Pukanui Portal one step further. Here she has transformed the original photographic image into glass and metal. The minute points of light contained in the leaf become an iridescent glass matrix. The stainless frame literally becomes the 'portal' or doorway as it revolves on a central axis, creating a space to enter visually.  
Sally Tagg works from a strong philosophical base, one that she developed while working as a portrait photographer. She explains - ‘when you take a photograph you arrest a particular moment. That moment can never be repeated. If the photograph has worked according to your expectations, you feel amazement, excitement, joy. From then on, it’s fixed and held for as long as that print is around. This is the way photography defies the passing of time.’* Pukanui Portal is of this ilk.

Dr Robin Woodward

*Artist’s statement Brick Bay 2006

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