Dreams come and go. Lino wears. Memories can guide or mislead. Wallpaper tears, curtains fade.
Art can both preserve and question these domestic surroundings and human behaviours.
Rachael Garland's latest body of work, Dream, explores all these themes and more. There are references to the landscapes of her Whakarongo childhood and that time is not a straight line. There are also architectural references - for example, just about every house she has lived in had an arched doorway.
Garland now lives in Whanganui but it was at Queen Elizabeth College in Palmerston North where she was able to peruse her passion and tap into her talent.
Specially room 13. Art teacher Susan Artner's classroom. The 1980s.
"I used to hide out there a little bit over lunch breaks. There was a core group of us that did the same, it was like our refuge."
Garland says Mrs A's art room was like a second home with its armchairs and pot plants.
She has loved art "forever", but it was at high school that she first had tutoring and materials to play with and could take ceramics as a subject. From Mrs A she received a good all-round exposure to artistic endeavours.
Born and raised on a sheep and beef farm in Stoney Creek Rd, Garland was nearly 30 when she left Palmerston North.
After leaving school she had a variety of jobs including at a cafe, in a payroll department, and in the transfusion medicine department at the hospital.
In her late 20s, Garland went to teachers' college for a year, but quickly realised there was no way she wanted to be a teacher. Art tutor Paul Hansen encouraged her to do art.
So she went to Whanganui's Quay School of Arts intending to major in ceramics. She loved that art form, but the ceramics department closed down after her first year so she chose printmaking as her major because it meant she got to make her own printing press.
In 2003, she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She had intended to go to Whanganui, gain a qualification and return, but the River City drew her in with its amazing spaces, old buildings that could be rented cheaply, and artistic community. She never made it back.
Garland has three sons and her art practice by necessity revolves around what she can achieve in the domestic realm. She learnt to adapt so she could work at home without access to sophisticated technology. Think making up her own paper clay recipe, using building products and salvaged objects.
As a mother, her days of standing on sharp bits of stray Lego with bare feet are behind her. Now it's washing socks, buying multiple loaves of bread, and being called "bruh".
Garland says the eight mixed-media works that make up Dream are derivative of a long-standing investigation around how the understanding of memory and our perception of time can be altered.
"The experiences we respond to by remembering them are rarely chronological or ordered.
Memories and recollections of experiences serve to outline our identity and in part define who we are. Somewhere in the continent of our memories lies the subtle imprint of what has been and gone, and the realisation that indeed who we are is made up of the ghostly presence of all that is now no longer."
Garland says visually her work is quite layered, partly because she trained in printmaking that relies on building composition through a series of printed layers, but moreover it alludes to a visual combination of past and present, real and imagined, half-forgotten, slightly remembered.
Most of the Dream works feature a woman. Garland says the figure is partly a self-portrait, but perhaps more a metaphorical dreamer – "a ghost-me".
It is based on a selfie she took in 2020. Just as the timer went, her distinctive long red locks took on even more of a life of their own and light coming from a window worked its magic. Garland says she had a lot going on at that time; she was aware of how the past follows us and had a little moment of hope that connected her to something bigger.
Breaking out to the bigger canvases of Dream was frightening because she is used to thinking smaller. She becomes hyper-focused when finishing a painting. Before that intense period of work, she has subconsciously grabbed information, percolated it, and then produces - or as she calls it, vomits.
"I feel the works a lot, that's how I work in some intuitive way."
In 2015, Garland completed her Master of Māori Visual Arts at Massey University. As a Pākehā, this study sent her out of her comfort zone challenging her in a good way.
What: Dream by Rachael Garland
When: Until July 31
Where: Zimmerman Art Gallery, Thursday to Sunday, 11am to 3pm