What if an artist was given free rein to infiltrate a building, extending beyond their studio space to fill it with their own sculptural work? From 8-10 December sculptor Isabella Loudon is opening up the building she has been working in for the last two years, and has now taken over. This is a rare chance to see a site-specific multi-roomed installation before the building is demolished in 2024.

“Trek across the country if you have to, Loudon’s studio is an unsettling immersive experience – open for a tiny window in space and time before disappearing forever”

Sarjeant Gallery director, Andrew Clifford

In late 2021, due to a bad bout of glandular fever Loudon returned home to her family in Marton to recover. One of the benefits of being in Marton was access to a studio space in a vacant commercial building owned by her parents. Initially it was just the former bookshop space downstairs and not the empty flat upstairs but as she settled in and was recovering from fatigue, the prospect of occupying the entire building became more appealing and over the last year she’s done just that. The building has become a giant artist project, with each of the rooms offering her an opportunity to bring works into conversation and play with each other and the architecture. Given the building is scheduled for demolition and with understanding and supportive parents as landlords, the gloves have been off, walls demolished, carpets pulled up, the building peeled back. In Wellington, Loudon’s studio was a windowless basement studio where she could easily hide, absorbed in her own world. In Marton with a large street-front window, there’s been a lot of curiosity about what’s going on in there, especially with the window now occupied by a family of elegant suspended organic slug-like forms made from black rubber innertubes.

The Sarjeant’s Curator and Public Programmes Manager Greg Donson says “There is a beautiful dance of formalism and disorder in Isabella’s practice. What I have enjoyed about visiting the building twice this year has been how it is difficult to see where the building’s spaces and her work end. They exist in quite a symbiotic way”


Isabella Loudon is a 2016 Fine Arts graduate of Massey University, Wellington and since that time she has been making a name for herself as one of Aotearoa’s most interesting sculptors. Her work has been included in large group shows in Wellington at the Dowse Art Museum, Adam Art Gallery Te Pataka Toi and City Gallery Te Whare Toi. Her primary medium at that time was concrete but over the last two years she has branched out into plaster, copper and discarded rubber inner tubes from cars, trucks, tractors and bikes. For Loudon, the space a work occupies is often integral to how it is read, she makes the comparison to how her drawings occupy the space of a page – ‘chaotic with one thing talking to another’. She likes to keep things tidy and organised in the studio but the instinctive way she works leads to a certain kind of chaos.

The Marton studio