Auckland-based artist Conor Clarke is somewhat of an avid collector. With medium format camera and tripod she roams the rural heartland and suburban sprawl on the hunt for vistas, flora and architectural details that together form the components that make up her photographic works. The media frequently associated with the collector is here distilled into works of almost unnerving seamlessness. There is a sense of impenetrability where absolute control, order and uniformity reign with barely a leaf out of place. In a punning title- Picturesque Improvement- Clarke comments not only on her process and aesthetic but on the cultural legacy of colonialism that endorsed the domestication of nature and imposition of familiar physical structures as part of the process of subjugation and control. In this suite of works Clarke alludes to this era with fine Victorian fretwork framing the vista as if viewed from a colonial mansion. Her work questions how land and space are perceived, used and occupied; which voices or discourses are sanctioned and the ways in which barriers or boundaries maintain the status quo.
Robyn Pickens, 2008