A solo exhibition focused on climate change and its consequences launched in Pararparaumu last month and is resonating with viewers and buyers. The art is by Liz Stretton, and as one person said, the visualisation of climate change on canvas brought home an understanding that had failed to resonate through other means. As we sat down to chat with Liz about her creative practice, new of Europe’s heatwave and fires and a growing sense of climate change urgency was the backdrop.

Tell us about your current solo exhibition which focuses on climate change. Was it challenging to interpret the changing weather patterns and environmental impact on canvas?

Climate change and its consequences is no longer in the future – the evidence is all around us now. When I’m painting abstractly, as I see shapes and shadows emerge, a ‘dialogue’ if you like, starts between me and the paint which generally reflects the things I’m interested in. I try to create something through colour and form, etc, that hints at an issue but hopefully lets the viewer interpret what they see for themselves.

We have sold four artworks in your exhibition with one finding a home in Australia. What does it mean to you to be able to sell your art?
I’m just delighted when someone wants to own a piece of my work because it speaks to them for whatever reason.

What are some of the things you like and dislike about the world of art?
I haven’t been engaged in the art world for too long, and am still excited by everything about it!

If you could travel anywhere in the world to view an artwork, where would it be and/or who inspires you in your creative practice?

Well, I went to the Venice Biennale a few years ago and was blown away by the quality and the creativity of works from all over the world. Bill Culbert’s light installations was NZ’s entry that year and it was the most exciting thing to experience.

When did you first start creating artworks?
I’ve been creating art since my schooldays but very intermittently – everything else in life got in the way. Now, it’s a joy to be able to create art as and when I please.

What message or story would you like people to take from your exhibition?
The message I hope people take away is that the planet is fragile and we seem to be almost at a point from which there is no return. But there is still a great deal of beauty in the world and there are people working hard to find solutions for example in science, politics and in community levels and that needs to be acknowledged. I still have hope for the future and for humankind’s ability to adapt and to take action now. We have no other choice.

VIEWING: 9am – 5:30pm, 7 days a week at Robert Harris, Coastlands, Paraparaumu.