Tabatha Forbes, NZ Fantail / Piwakawaka

For the past decade, Dr Tabatha Forbes has investigated the empirical practices of botanical and natural history illustration and the processes of collection, identification and introduction of flora and fauna. Her most recent body of work combines observational natural history studies with her doctoral research which considers place - both at large and intimately through post-photographic practice and video, with particular reference to Rarotonga which was her home at the time. Forbes believes that “getting to know a place is both an act of intimacy and a process of reductionism [wherein] we are constantly caught between our preferred perceptions and the realism of the place itself.”

Having recently relocated to New Plymouth after many years living in Rarotonga, she has been enjoying the company of piwakawaka / fantails so has chosen these indomitably cheerful birds as the subject of her ten pieces for the Point Blank exhibition.

Exhibiting since 1991, Forbes has works in private collections in New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, the U.S.A and the U.K. In 2005 she was awarded the ‘Wild Creations’ CNZ/DOC residency which took her to Southland to extend her research, and she completed a doctorate in fine arts in 2017.