What we bring back, Sydney 2018

Drawing, Drawings, Sculptures, shows, Uncategorized

All works are available to view at my Wellington Studio on Vivian St. Please email me to make a time and come visit!

What we bring back

AirSpace Projects and Gallery, (Deep Space gallery), Sydney, 2 – 18th August 2018

What is deep space? This show suggests it is the place we go to as artists and bring things back. Internal, unknown private space. What we bring back presents sculptures and drawings as relics or traces of what we bring back from the embodied experience of making. Fragments of sculpture expand out and through their boxes; relics that are still in the process of becoming. In living, creative space, we need protection; amulets, wands, and tool belts,  because we don’t know what we will find.

The passageway to deep space is the body: a shifting gateway of processes and actions. In these drawings and sculptures, the moving body is traced through colourful pastels, charcoal and lines that struggle against each other; supporting while they are also escaping. Sculptures are made from materials that are soft, decorative, painted and spiky: stuck, cut, bound, and added to. We are all a collection, like flotsam bound together by living in a swelling, tumbling ocean of activity.

All drawings are framed, and all sculptures are in luxe, black velvet lined wooden boxes:

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We are woven together 860 x 840mm framed, pastel, oil pastel, charcoal on paper, 2018, $1650

Sian Torringon artworks June 27, 2018q

Bone Fire, 450 x 620mm , pastel, oil pastel, charcoal on paper, 2018, framed in oak frame, $850

Sian Torringon artworks June 27, 2018q

We are still apparent, 450 x 620mm framed, pastel, oil pastel, charcoal on paper, 2018, $850

Sian Torringon artworks July 12, 2018

Lump treasure, 2018, mixed media, $400

Sian Torringon artworks July 12, 2018

(home), 2018, mixed media, $550


Sian Torrington Artwork Scan November 28, 2017

Fight with Love Club, 2017, mixed media, $650

Sian Torringon artworks July 12, 2018

Heart, 2014, mixed media, $600

Sian Torringon artworks June 27, 2018q

Dipping witch stick, 2018, mixed media, boxed in black velvet and wood box, $850

Sian Torringon artworks June 27, 2018q

Witch stick with bumps, 2018, mixed media, boxed in black velvet and wood box, $850

Sian Torringon artworks June 27, 2018q

Witch stick with lump, 2018, mixed media, boxed in black velvet and wood box, $850

Sian Torringon artworks June 27, 2018q

Witch stick with reach, 2018, mixed media, boxed in black velvet and wood box, $850

Sian Torringon artworks June 27, 2018q

Witch stick with fire, 2018, mixed media, boxed in black velvet and wood box, $850


Here’s a short video to show some of the detail in a sculpture:

30 second close-up tour of Witch Stick with Lump

Siân Torrington explores relationships of interconnectivity, and interdependence, through an expressive language of colour, mark making and structural props that hold drawings and sculptures together, as we are held together. Siân graduated with an MFA with distinction from Massey University in 2010, has had numerous solo and groups shows, and works from a studio in Wellington New Zealand. Her work has been commissioned for public art institutions, including ‘Soft is Stronger than Hard’ at City Gallery Wellington, and ‘The way you have held things’ for Christchurch Art Gallery, as well as for festivals, and by the Public Art Fund, Wellington. She has held artist residencies in Samoa at Tiapipata Arts Centre, and Shanthi Rd, India through the Asia New Zealand Foundation.



Recent work

Drawing, Drawings, Uncategorized
Sian Torrington Artwork Scan

We are bound, together we fall apart, 1510 x 1800mm pastel,  charcoal, graphite on paper, 2017

Sian Torrington Artwork Scan August 09, 2017

Growth, 400 x 650mm, oil pastel, pastel, charcoal, graphite on paper, 2017

You are delicate enough, you are strong enough 2020mm x 1510mm

You are delicate enough, you are strong enough, 1510 x 2020mm, pastel, charcoal, graphite on paper, 2016



Heads or Tails – is the LGBTIQ community a myth or reality? By Kassie Hartendorp

Drawings, Femme, process, Queer, Uncategorized

I’m honoured to be described in this beautiful piece of writing around queer community, and the actions and doing that make it, small and significant and many as they are. Kassie is a gifted weaver of truths, politics and reflection, and I really recommend reading this piece that shed light and value on LGBTIQ community through intimate moments and actions remembered.

“She is adorned in the loud and sparkly, like a beacon of lost femininity that evaded the stake. I gently pass my old school friend over to her, from hands to hands, and they sit and they talk in the sanctuary as paper flutters over their heads like spirits.”

Heads or Tails


Photo credit – Tash Helasdottir-Cole

Free download PDF of We Don’t Have to Be The Building publication

Essays, feminism, Gender, process, Uncategorized, Writing

In 2017 I made a publication about We Don’t Have to Be The Building, a major public art installation shown on Courtenay Place, Wellington, in 2016.

The work was made to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Homosexual Law Reform this year, and looked at the past, present & future of queer female sexualities and activism. In researching for this project, I worked in the Lesbian and Gay Archives NZ and I created various story-sharing events, so that I could listen to and weave together many different people’s experiences for the work. I interviewed people directly, and ran workshops called Let’s Talk About Sex. My intention was to ensure that the voices and stories not held in the archives could also be heard and acknowledged.

More than 100 people contributed in some way to the colourful, messy, bodily, glitter-speckled assemblages that resulted. The publication is an attempt to capture the methodology and experience of making the project, which was based in fully informed consent, and exchange of offers. It includes my own writing on the process, images and collages, and an essay about the project by Ellie Lee-Duncan.

It’s free to download, and I’d love to hear what you think!


Publication PDF We dont have to be the building

Open studio 24th Feb in Wellington



I have been offered a solo show in Sydney in August 2018. This will be my first solo show in Australia, and a wonderful opportunity to share my practice with curators, gallerists and a new audiences. I’ve been invited to give two artist lectures, and plan to show new sculptures and drawings as precious relics of the creative process, in a show called “What we bring back”.

Getting the work and myself there is going to be costly, and so, as well as funding applications, I am running an open studio with lots of beautiful small works for sale. I only open the studio to the public once every couple of years, so it’s always a special time.

It’s this Saturday, 24th Feb from 11am – 3pm. Come visit!

open studio

Come learn expressive drawing with me!

Classes, Drawing, Uncategorized

In 2017 I started teaching my own classes, in my own way. It’s really all about process, permission, and expression. I will teach you skills and techniques, but it’s more than that. It’s the privilege of being a guide for you to find you own way of drawing, through a series of guided exercises and experiments. I love it, and it feels like another part of my practice to develop the teaching I’ve been doing in a tertiary context for the last 7 years, into something that is much more Sian shaped. Interested? Get in touch because I’m running a range of classes this year. The first one is here:

Expressive drawing class 2018


Want to learn to draw_

Here’s some drawing from the last class…

photo 4

And here’s some feedback:

“There was a LOT of ideas and methods covered that I’d never have thought of alone, and have been able to take at least a chunk of that away and apply to what I do away from the classes.  I have attended beginner drawing classes before where I was shown techniques like measuring, line, value, etc, and that is all extremely important and valuable, and needs tons of practice (for me at least).  What you put into this course was the part that turns mechanical lifeless drawings into something personal, something intimate, and eventually something of real value.  That’s not possible to read in a book, no amount of words would cover it as well as 4 short sessions did, and I’m sure that is only the beginning.  What worked for me was that the approach of this class was so different to others on offer.”

What happened in 2017…

Drawing, Drawings, feminism, installation, Poetry, process, Queer, shows, Studio, Uncategorized, Writing

It is the last day of 2017 here in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and as usual, I am taking some time to reflect on this year. Usually I do this with pen and paper, but this year I thought I’d share it with you here.

It’s been a year of big change, with some serious illness (five bouts of flu) meaning a lot of time spent at home, thinking and developing new ways of working that aren’t quite so draining energetically. A lot of that has been drawing energy that I’ve been expending far outside of myself, back in; a process of gathering everything closer.

Body is a mighty teacher, and this year she has shown me that the support and appreciation I need will come through continuing to build a practice that brings people together in various ways through expressive art making. At the beginning of the year I spent a week inviting people to come and be drawn on one long 10 metre piece of paper at Toi Tu in Auckland. Conversations, relationships, connections…

This work was part of an exhibition that showed a range of works that I’ve been developing around intimacy, starting with drawing myself, then developing systems to support fully informed consent around other drawing other peoples’ stories and images. How to ask properly, respect and honour the gift of people letting you look, listen and be together.

AAA Intimacy Stages Active Empathy at Studio One Auckland

My next project was to ritually let go of my role as a contract lecturer at Massey School of Fine Arts, where I have been for the last 7 years teaching drawing, sculpture and making processes. I wanted to honour the relationships I have valued, as well as give a significant gift to the students, particularly those grappling with issues around gender identity, cultural identity, and sexualities. The show ‘Te Aho Mano / A Thousand Strands, showed work from my Asia New Zealand residency in Bengaluru, India, as well as new work and collaborations with Anahera Gildea and Leilani A L’iga Pua. You can hear those here:

and here: https://soundcloud.com/siantorrington/final-chapter

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Anahera and I ran workshops where students and staff were invited to discuss what they are working on, what helps them to say what they need, and what holds them back. These conversations mainly focused on feminism and how we can stick together, as well as new models for critique.


Full disclosure and acknowledgement has been a theme for me for some time, and in the show I included my book collection of inspirational and foundational writers for me. I was delighted that the books were re-ordered every time I cam into the show, telling me that people were using the comfy seats and having a read.


I was determined to honour and finish We Don’t Have to Be The Building in 2017, which I did by taking the works to Auckland as posters with the help of Pride and Phantom Billstickers.

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With the support of many of you pre-purchasing copies, I also made a publication about the project, including colour posters of the final work, lots of reflection on the process, and an essay by Ellie-Lee Duncan. Thank-you to everyone who made this possible, including Creative Communities funding and The Armstrong and Arthur Charitable Trust for Lesbians.

The publication was launched in November at the HELP fundraising exhibition, where I also spoke and showed works in support of the cause of supporting survivors of sexual violence. As part of the week I ran a drawing workshop upstairs at Thistle Hall where we used drawing to express some of our feelings and responses to the #metoo campaign.

HELP opening

As part of my work revolution, I’ve brought my teaching practice closer to my art practice, and begun teaching my own workshops. I was delighted to be funded by Toi Poneke to trial a six week Queer and Trans* drawing class, building community and creativity together.

The success of this told me to keep going, and two more rounds have been supported by Rainbow Wellington, one still to come in 2018!

I’ve also been teaching at Gordon Harris my Expressive Drawing class, which I will run again in 2018, along with Life drawing at Toi Poneke, and Where do you get your ideas from? Excuse the glare, all the drawings were proudly hung in the front window of the shop!

Want to learn to draw_

Some drawings found their homes with buyers, including these ones:

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And some others featured in art awards around the country, including the Parkin Drawing Award;

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So that’s some highlights! In 2018 I am looking forward to more teaching, developing new collaborative workshops and relationships. I will be working on some commissions, some exciting shows, and ways to keep sharing my practice. Happy new year, may it bring you everything you need.




feminism, Femme, Gender, Queer, Sculptures, shows, Uncategorized

I’m putting together some thoughts and works for a show to fundraise for Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP, working with survivors of sexual abuse and their whanau.

I’m writing labels, and thinking / feeling through these works:

All of my Club works were made in response to the violence and abuse that we experience on the street and in public places. As women, queer and trans* communities, non-binary people, who are targeted


with judgements, assumptions and worse. When I was stopped on the street by a group of men and verbally abused, I began to wonder what a queer, revolutionary response or defense would look like. I imagined my friends, lovers and communities appearing in drag, as punks, activists, femmes, heros, in glittery heels and shabby glory. These clubs were what I imagined we might carry; to resist these forces of fear and shame with pride, colour and surety in our own being and collective existence.

New publication – the process


I am working on this new publication about We Don’t have to Be The Building. It will be produced as loose leaf pages, so that people can have artwork on their walls for $40. It’s always important to me that folk can access my work on a variety of levels, so this is part of that effort. As ever, I’m enjoying the process, so thought I’d share some of it here. It will be launched end Nov, if you’d like to pre-order one, let me know!

Things repeat, in good ways

Essays, installation, Poetry, process, Sculptures, shows, Studio, Uncategorized, Writing

I’m in the process of making my second publication about a project. Both of them have been to do with buildings, and process, and how to create and hold things together. The first, a physical building, the second, the building we make together by how we stick together. The structures that we form through solidarity, love and connection.

Both are using the same method; assemblage, complex, sticky and with each piece related actively. You can read one way, and then the other. This is the best way I can make sense.

I found this piece of writing and images from the first one; Inhabitance, so here they are… if you’d like to pre-purchase a copy of the second one, about We Don’t Have to Be The Building, contact me on siantorrington@gmail.com

Meeting points of nature and human maintenance in buildings and the built environment. I walk around to see what I find in the neighbourhood. Gutters are rich with trees, drips have made drawings down the side of buildings, and posters have made a mummy of a house. There is a bin which has been papered to make it look weatherboarded. Drawings are everywhere.


I found the information about this place in the archives. It was owned by a woman and she wanted all of the best materials used. The best concrete, rimu and roofing. Now there are holes everywhere made by borer and when I bang a nail into the wall dust falls and falls. Without maintenance there is accretion. This is a scene where human action plays against inaction; because nothing has been done these patterns of mould and falling paper pile up. And my drawing repeats them, extends them, makes them clearer.

Someone broke the window in a shop next door. I looked in and saw that there were flags in there. I hadn’t noticed them before. Is this what I would do if I broke in? Is this what I am doing in here? Leaving a mark, leaving many marks. Leaving a sign of inhabitance and noticing what was found here.


The tap drips. The bath is accumulated with water which has stained it brown. So what would I accumulate here? There is colour which drips also and builds up. The glitter in the bath, and the pastel which is imitating the spread of mould on the walls. There is a kind of communication here.

Things hold on, and things hold in. Lines are travelling through this space becoming tight and slack, falling into puddles or holding doors closed. Paper, wool and wood all serve the same purpose,

a structure within a structure which is holding its own