The ten portraits of young men in military uniform that make up Paul McLachlan’s Home Ground series are based on marble statues of soldiers which were carved in Italy, and erected throughout New Zealand to commemorate the Great War. Some of the statues were produced from photos of particular soldiers, in an attempt to capture a New Zealand likeness within these soldier figures. These are young men who are depicted in a blandness of expression, in an almost faceless quality which allows the viewer to imprint their own loved one onto the statue.
Using digital sculpting software McLachlan has fleshed out the features of the soldier statues to create a pseudo-realistic interpretations of the original models. The tactile nature of the photo-intaglio prints reflects the textured quality of the virtual sculpture.
New Zealand’s war memorials commemorate an event that is now absent from living memory and the memorials themselves suffer from neglect. One hundred years on, McLachlan’s Home Ground portraits stimulate a sense of national recognition and an awareness of the history that has shaped us as a nation.