VERDANT - Maurice Lye
AN EXHIBITION AT KINA GALLERY
Maurice Lye is a Christchurch based photographer who has been exhibiting since the late 1970’s. Legend has it that Maurice’s father gave him his first Kodak Brownie 127 camera when he was 12 years old. It wasn’t long before he learnt the art of processing film and printing his own images from his home garage-darkroom. Inspired by one of the most innovative and influential C20th American photographers, Edward Weston, Maurice has had a life devoted to photography.
A long creative career working in ad agencies, as a graphic designer and technician his work has been exhibited in several exhibitions of New Zealand photography.
A self-described scavenger and beachcomber I would also describe Maurice as a hunter of the obscure and sublime. He observes and captures things most of us over look and is a prolific collector of images. It’s more than documentary photography, and his place within the contemporary history of New Zealand Photography is fixed.
In 2010 he produced the book ‘Only God Can Make a Tree’ described by Maurice as a collection of colour photographs spanning over 30 years and many miles of travel throughout New Zealand. “I enjoy and respect the many ways people, create, beautify or arrange their surroundings, the passion, love and sometimes a bit of madness which goes into many of the subjects in this book. All the photographs were taken as the scene presented itself, nothing was manipulated or rearranged, the random coincidences are just as interesting."
There is often whimsy and humour in Maurice’s work, which ranges in camera format, print scale, on location and in the studio. Portfolios of his work are well presented all over social media with daily posts to instagram under @mauricelye and @strollingweka – both representing different sides of his practice.
Selecting works for the Verdant exhibition came out of an idea to look into the images he has taken in the Taranaki region over the last 10 years. Maurice presents a snapshot of different aspects of Taranaki’s unique social landscape. The mountain normally representing the region appears in different subtle and subliminal forms - deeply located in the land and psyche of its people.