Sen’s Modernist Post Structures


Walk right in by Sen McGlinn in the Whangarei Quarry Gardens, New Zealand. Oct-Nov 2015.


1019_1415walkriOne of my sculptural interests is large outdoor works that can be entered and seen from the inside out. These works are sculptures on the scale of buildings, or buildings that use the visual vocabulary of 1019_1413walkrisculpture, rather than the language of architecture. As a sculpture, ‘Walk right in’ responds to the Russian modernist work known as ‘Tatlin’s tower,’ and Hossein Amanat’s Azadi monument. As a building, it demonstrates a technique for creating dynamic spaces in wood, with an effect completely different to the static effect of standard timber framing. The material is high quality Pinus radiata, with MCA treatment (an environmentally preferred product replacing tanalising). So the work is also a reminder of the important role of P. radiata in the New Zealand Northland economy, and a thank-you to those who have developed better cultivars, management plans and treatments.


Spin-off by Sen McGlinn, in the Wharepuke Sculpture Gardens, Kerikeri, New Zealand.
On show until September 2016.


My sculpture practice lies somewhere between micro-architecture and
autonomous sculpture, as I am interested in creating internal spaces
as well as surfaces and shadows. A sculpture can be as well designed
as a building / a building can be as sculptural as a work of art.

I’ve been working on a series of built sculptures that I call modernist post structures, using reciprocal frame structures as a sculptural form, and common fencing and farming supplies as a material. The repeated sloping pattern of the elements and the constant measurements make for a dynamic space, both inside and around the work. 0109_1536c_spinoff



Works in
the Modernist Post Series:

Every Angle, 2014
Lemon Squeezer + Domino theory, 2014
Walk Right In, 2015
Spin-off, 2015

“Oratory at Tahora,” sculpture / land art

Sculpture made out of dead tree branches and wood by Sen McGlinn + Sonja van KerkhoffThis is one of the sculptures we made for Tahora High-country International Sculpture on Kerry Turner’s sheep farm.

Sculpture of 9 seats in a circle covered by 5 branches by Sen McGlinn + Sonja van Kerkhoff

Click on any image to view a larger photograph
in a new window

Detail: Teachers and children from Marco school try out the seats by Sen McGlinn + Sonja van Kerkhoff.A circle of nine seats made out of the remains from a wood chopping competition underneath the shade of five branches collected from dead trees.

More photos are here >>


Video installation / sculpture out of recycled materials

Viewed from above: a sculpture / video installation made from recycled materials on Jan 31st in Puke Ariki, New Plymouth.

Viewed from above: a sculpture / video installation made from recycled materials
on Jan 31st in Puke Ariki, New Plymouth.

Sen and Sonja were in New Plymouth, Aotearoa / New Zealand, to participate in the 4th SCANZ residency at WITT (The Western Institute of Technology Taranaki). Their project was to create a sculptural form for the 5 video work “Kāinga a roto” using recycled materials as much as could be possible. Thanks to use of Ans’ camper we were able to transport the leftover recycled wood from our Rotorua project. The wood for the arches was recycled from the Govett-Brewster Gallery undergoing renovations, and most of the cardboard came from a construction site.

Thanks to the help of many and the use of the WITT workshop, it was finished in time for the opening on Feb 2nd, in Puke Ariki (the Taranaki museum of natural history + ethnology) in New Plymouth.
More about this work as well as images of the finished work is here >>

Exhibition at RAVE, Rotorua, till 27th January 2013

Portraits of the Spirit – Ngā Whakaahua o te Wairua

Paintings by Trish De Muth. Installation by Sen + Sonja.

Paintings by Trish De Muth. Installation by Sen + Sonja.

This show of furniture by Sen, and installations by Sen and Sonja closed on Jan 23rd, however the paintings by Trish De Muth and Kristian Lomath and the slogans from the Ae Weiwei video clip (see the 5 min video Rotorua Art Village, Aotearoa/New Zealand do Gangnam Style for Ai Weiwei) and the videos “Kāing a roto” continue to be on show until January 27th.

Paintings by Trish De Muth and Kristian Lomath

Paintings by Trish De Muth and Kristian Lomath.

The RAVE furniture

Jam Session on Jan 13th in Rotorua. Barry (on the reject seat to the right of the Table seat) Don (on the macrapapa seat) and Anna (on the retro bench).

Jam Session on Jan 13th in Rotorua. Barry (on the “Reject” seat, so called, because it had borer in the wood) to the right of the “Table” seat) Don (on the “Macrapapa” seat) and Anna (on the “Retro” bench).

Sen’s art residency was to create new stuff out of old wood or old furniture donated by the citizens of Rotorua.
Sen flanked by a musician and a yoga practitioner

Sen flanked by a musician and a yoga practitioner

Here are the results of this. For the Jan 13th Hot Lakes Craft Fair we took the chairs outside and a jam session ensued courtesy of Don C (on Martin guitar), Anna on ukelele, and Barry on harmonica.

Sen’s proposal was to make a sculptural gazebo or temple form from diverse seats a bit like the June 2012 project however in response to the wood we ended up with, we made furniture (Sonja made the “Macrapapa” seat and Sen made all the other items. In the end 9 seats (benches or chairs) and one vanity were created.

>> The blog about Sen’s first three chairs
>> Sen’s proposal with illustrations
>> Our final project at RAVE: The exhibition, “Portraits of the Spirit – Ngā Whakaahua o te Wairua”

“The Pine Tree” – Jean Quinlyn

Jean with the painting she chose for the outside door to her room at Glenbrae Rest Home, Rotorua. Dec 2012.

Jean with the painting she chose for the outside door to her room at Glenbrae Rest Home, Rotorua. Dec 2012.

The first painting of Sonja van Kerkhoff’s Art for Orientation project for the December 2012 – January 2013 RAVE (Rotorua Artist Village)

Jean Quinlyn (87) at Glenbrae told me that a pine tree is what is important to her. Her father moved with her family to Rotorua to work in the forestry when she was 5 years of age and these trees have made an impact on her ever since. So now the door of her room bears a painting of a pine tree. And visitors can find her at “The Pine Tree.”

Signs and symbols are not only easier to see but can also say something about the person: their history or what they like.  
This is a detail of the wall of a house from the 1800s in Southern Germany, August 2012.

Wouldn’t it be fun to say, Grandad’s room is the one with the orange dragon.

Sonja’s “Art for Orientation” project is to create customized paintings for the elderly in a rest home, for their door.

It is easier to find a room in a corridor if there’s a painting of a flower or animal or symbol for both visitors and the residents, and the art can reinforce the individual identity of the resident.

Tailor Made Art

I will interview each person (if possible with their family members) who would want a painting to hang on their door or next to their door, so we come up with a symbol or image they want.

It would be easy to say “her room is at the purple hat” to a new visitor.

My interview will help them decide what it is that they want and the painting hung in the hall is theirs to keep.

It might be a bright red tea-cup painted in the style of a van Gogh painting, a pair of golden scissors, an rainbow in sixteen shades of pink or a green cat with three eyes. It might be a Puhutakawa tree or a star, a hand-shaped cloud or a purple raindrop.

The idea is to hang paintings in a hallway creating strong identifiable elements. The residents might even want each door in a shared hallway to be a differing flower so that hall becomes the hall of the flowers while another hallway could be one with the colourful cats.

So ask your mother, father, whaea, kuia, gran, nan, grandma, grandad, grandpa, koro:

Would you like a painting on your door?

Dutch/New Zealand artist Sonja van Kerkhoff will come and interview you about what you would like. Would you like your favourite animal, a special object, or element of nature or something completely different? Wouldn’t it be fun to say to your visitors, my door is the one with the purple unicorn. Or to say, just look for the van Gogh crimson carnation? Or, “My room’s at the sign of the windmill”

Or several residents might choose a common theme such as butterflies where some choose an artistic interpretation such as the red butterfly above while others choose naturalistic or cartoon images of butterflies.

You will have a say about how the painting is made. It could be impressionist or art deco, a Picasso-like violin or a surrealist fork, like a cartoon or done in a realistic manner.

If you or your family member or friend would like a painting made (on card or other materials) in December 2012 and January 2013, email sonjavank AT or make a comment below giving me a way to meet you at the RAVE studios in early January 2013. You can also ring the RAVE studios (07- 3489008) and pass on a message for me to ring you.