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Ngaio Macfarlane

Based in the tiny town of Axbridge in Somerset, Ngaio has worked for the past 20 years as an artist-photographer and graphic and information designer, in partnership with Graham Higgins. Through their internet & design consultancy business they have worked with a wide range of companies ranging from national and international companies through to smaller specialist businesses, delivering a wide range of web-based services.

As a graphic designer, Ngaio has worked on designs for FMCGs, web and print.

They have found the internet to be an immensely creative arena, where the boundaries between art and technology often become indistinguishable.

Drawing heavily, though not exclusively from the natural world for inspiration, Ngaio’s painted works follow two quite different styles.

The “Heteroperspective” series: detailed studies of a variety of subjects, ranging from wildlife to odd architectural features presented mostly against a plain blue ground. By removing context, the subject becomes an isolated point of focus, which compels the viewer to explore the depths of the surrounding spaces.

And the “Life” series: these works are a mix of still-life and landscapes that concentrate more on light than form. Both strands of work have been under development since 1993.

Photography has come to play an increasing role in Ngaio’s artistic output and this side of her work is often done in partnership with Graham.

The Somerset countryside provides a wealth of subjects for classic landscape photography and features strongly in their work. But for both Ngaio & Graham, a photograph can sometimes carry too much detail. This has prompted them to explore alternative methods of both image capture and image printing.

Lensless photography, using pinholes and pinhole variants to produce a photographic image goes back to the beginning of photography, yet can be used to produce powerful modern images. And both Ngaio and Graham make significant use of pinholes for image capture. Developing a technique by which they have found that it is possible to, in effect, paint with light, to soften and dissolve the details of form and structure; which allows the emergence of a striking visual essence of almost pure light and shade.

In the “Impressions” series of work, Ngaio developed a technique of digital post production of a photographic original to end up with a convincing watercolour effect on the printed paper.