Tess Wing


Graduating from the Dunedin School of Art with a BA in Visual Arts (Hons, 1st class) in 2021, Tess Wing has created a distinctive sculptural practice that evokes the tradition of the soft sculpture initiated by artists such as Claus Oldenburg and Yakoi Kurasama in the 1960s. In contrast with the culturally oriented works of earlier artists, Wing’s work distinguished itself by taking inspiration from the abundance of plush stuffed animals that accompanies childhood in most countries around the world in the wake of international consumerism. Wing’s creations are both “cuddly” and terrifying, recalling the primordial world of childhood, serving as an exploration of what psychoanalyst and paediatrician D. W. Winnicott called “transitional objects”- objects such as blankets and stuffed animals that occupy the duality of a child’s inner and outer world – a psychologically constructed interiority that also has an empirical status and function in the realities of family life and sociality.

Wing’s promise was recognised when she was awarded the Wallace & Jan Warburton Graduate Exhibition Scholarship on the basis of her exhibition “Eat or Be Eaten” (2020). The award included an invitation to produce work for a solo exhibition at the Pah Homestead, “Cutting the Cord,” on view 3 November 2022 – 12 February 2023 (after being delayed by the pandemic).

True to the ideals of New York School, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, before the art market reigned supreme, Tess lives for and through art, despite the material challenges that this entails. In Wing’s words, “As a recent graduate of art school, the biggest challenge I have faced as an emerging artist is figuring out how to juggle a work/life balance.” Having worked at one, and sometimes two, jobs during and after her education, Wing explains. “Time I spend working to financially support myself and my art practice takes away from [the time] I have to actually work on my work.” Wing continues, “I will never stop making art. Regardless of how successful, or not, I am, it is not something that I can stop doing. I have worked until the wee hours of the morning hunched over in the corner my bedroom when I didn’t have a studio space. I am not afraid of hard work. In fact, I find it difficult to operate without it.” In preparation for the exhibition at the Pah Homestead, Wing created “some of the largest hand sewn pieces I’ve done to date. This year, if I wasn’t working to financially support myself, I was sewing… my friends became very used to me just having parts of my work with me.”

With her exhibition at the Pah Homestead, Tess Wing has demonstrated talent, discipline and the ability to work independently as a committed artist, producing a stylistically and thematically coherent body of original work marked by a strong personal vision. We can expect (and very much hope) to see more of her work as it evolves in the years to come.

Hilary Radner, 2022, Dunedin

Precious Tue (2020/2021)

Snowball (2022)


Cutting the Cord (2022)



Tess Elizabeth Sandretto Wing


• 2021 ART VA6 Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours)

• 2020 ART VA5 Bachelor of Visual Arts

• 2019 ART VA5 Bachelor of Visual Arts

• 2018 ART VA5 Bachelor of Visual Arts


Anybody, 2019, studio exhibition, Dunedin

Best Fantastic New Thing, 2019 [end of the year exhibition] Dunedin

Site 2020, 2020, Dunedin School of Art

Between Then and Here, 2021, RDS Gallery, Dunedin

Mental Health – Response Received, 2021, Dunedin

Site 2021, 2021, Dunedin School of Art

All Is Full of Love, 2021 Broker Galleries, Queenstown

RT Nelson Sculpture Awards, exhibition of finalists, 2022

Cutting The Cord, 2022, Pah Homstead, Auckland [solo exhibition]

HIVEMIND (May 2023)

HIVEMIND (May 2023) – detail