Ecotone, watercolour paint and Mairangi streamwater on Fabriano cold press watercolour paper, 300gms, 1170 x 2700mm
1 - 35. Mairangi Stream and Wairau Creek studies and notes, graphite, watercolour, stream water, clays and sulphurous silt from Mairangi stream mouth, on Fabriano and Arches Watercolour Papers, 300gm, varying sizes
The Hyporheic Zone
The hyporheic zone is an active ecotone between the surface stream and groundwater. Exchanges of water, nutrients, and organic matter occur. 1
During daily walks and observations of the local Mairangi Bay stream environment I’ve been a close witness to the way elements in this environment interrelate. This area is a site of exchange and co-mingling with the flows of weather, tide, hyporheic zone (1) transfer from underground aquifers and the effects of human endeavour all registering an effect. I’ve been engaged with testing and measuring, then reflecting, interpreting and journaling, creating a record of interactions to better understand the shifting and fluid nature of this place. Here, where urban and natural worlds meet, I’ve been drawing daily water samples to test the creek water, tracking temperature, weather and tidal effects, taking notes, photographs, videos, studies in watercolour and pencil.
Discovering things in an experiential way, immersed in the physicality of the site, I reflect on what is valued and what is precious. The history of this stream from the recent colonial time, the pre-colonial history of the Tangata Whenua, the history prior to human habitation, stretching back, all are enfolded in the eroding sedimentary layers of the sandstone cliffs, once under the sea. At times the stream smells sulphurous and stagnant, thick with algae and black slime, flowing across the beach, played in by children and animals. The river embodies a steep ecotone transition between our modern, urban environment and natural ecologies. While this situation has greatly dampened the mauri of the stream, signs of life are still present; the eels, rhythms of water movement, plant life and schools of small fish. Reflecting on my observations and studies presented here, I am drawing a number of these aspects into larger format work, seeking to include elements of the tangible and sensed, the measured and tested together with environmental concerns about patterns and rhythms of life forms above and below the surfaces of water.
Installation photo, including twenty-one water samples, from the Mairangi stream, recycled baby food jars, stream water, sampled 30/10/20 - 19/11/20, Whitecliffe, December 2021
Study, Aerial roots, Pohutukawa, after rain, Watercolour paint on 300gm paper
Ecotone, installation detail
1. The Functional Significance of the Hyporheic Zone in Streams and Rivers.Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, Vol. 29:59-81, 1998, accessed 22 November 2020. https://www.annualreviews.org