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Joni Murphy – Untamed

22 March, 2019 - 25 April, 2019

“Untamed” – Hortus Matres Series

Exhibition of semi-abstract paintings of New Zealand flora.



This series of work explores memories of childhood and experiences of motherhood. As the titles of these paintings suggest – “Hortus Matres” – Our Mothers Garden, there is also a narrative of motherhood/womanhood/Mother Earth and tending to gardens woven through these paintings.

“Memories of time spent in my mother’s and grandmothers’ gardens have deeply shaped my experiences today. Observing our immediate surroundings, tenderly caring for seedlings and the dark earth in spring, watching them grow through summer to flower and fruit, bearing nourishment for the body and soul. Harvesting crops and herbs to feed our families has been an important ritual in the cycle of the year.

“My intention is to evoke nostalgic memories of childhood gardens and native bush, wild and untamed. I hope to bring to attention the dependency we have on our environment, not only for physical wellbeing but for our spiritual/emotional wellbeing too.”

Living is New Plymouth, Taranaki, Joni Murphy is a full time painter, illustrator and graphic designer who draws her inspiration from nature.

Raised in Onaero, with the wild beach as her playground and her mother’s wonderful garden as her sanctuary, Joni is deeply inspired by nature, our landscape and the experiences that make us who we are becoming each day.

She states, “I love to watch the dancing shadows created by the sun shining through trees, sparkles on the ocean, shapes, patterns and colours of the flowers and leaves through all their changes with each season… these things make my heart sing!”

For Joni painting is an intuitive process, of creating interesting spaces, a layering of experiences. It is a process of being present to what comes, changes in light and form, discovering new subtleties.

“Our experiences in the world are incredibly layered. Each moment, each layer is transforming, fragile and fleeting. I want to remind my viewers to notice the moments.”

Her favourite mediums are watercolour, for its delicate and subtle qualities, and ink, for the “deep, gutsy, moody contrast” and intricate details.

She loves watercolour, the flow and movement of colour which is unpredictable and at times uncontrollable excites her and gives each piece something of its own unique personality. Watercolour and ink allows her  to create painting filled with transparent layers and shining light.

She is also attracted to the feminine qualities of watercolour, both the water element of femininity and the unpredictable and intuitive nature of working with this medium. There is a sense of connection to the history of female artists, being as it is a medium traditionally used by women and considered a ‘ladies medium’ during the Victorian era. She says, “I find this old-fashioned notion very amusing”.

Over the last decade Joni has developed a unique and distinct style working in watercolour and ink.

Her work includes large original paintings, botanical illustrations, art prints, cards along with catalogue and product design. She has exhibited in group and solo shows throughout New Zealand.

Dip.Hon.Fine Arts. Dip. Media Arts & Creative Technology. Cert Art of Wellness

See more of Joni’s work at her website and on Facebook.


22 March, 2019
25 April, 2019
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