20 July - 18 August 2012
Regan Gentry [Bio]
This show took pumice as it's raw material to explore ideas of floating, suspension and internal pressure. These aspects are inherent in the stone and also drew parallels with how I was feeling currently in my artistic career. The stone was sourced from farmland around the Taupo region. Thanks go out to the owners of the land.
Pumice is a volcanic (igneous) rock that is a solidified frothy, silica based, lava typically created when super-heated, highly pressurized rock is violently ejected from a volcano. This unusual textural formation is due to the simultaneous actions of rapid cooling and rapid depressurization. The depressurization creates bubbles by lowering the solubility of gases dissolved in the lava, causing the gases to rapidly exsolve (like the bubbles of CO2 that appear when a carbonated drink is opened). This means the rock floats, and so all of the works included in this show will also.
The last major eruption from Lake Taupo, the Hatepe eruption, occurred in 181 CE. It is believed to have first emptied the lake then followed that feat with a pyroclastic flow that covered about 20,000 square kilometres of land with volcanic ash. A total of 120 km3 of material is believed to have been ejected, and over 30 km3 of material is estimated to have been ejected in just a few minutes. The date of this activity is known since the ash expulsion was sufficiently large to turn the sky red over Rome and China (as documented in Hou Han Shu).
Taupo erupted an estimated 1,170 km3 of material in its Oruanui eruption 26,500 years ago. This was Earth's most recent eruption reaching VEI-8, the highest level on the Volcanic Explosivity Index.