“The Poetic Condition” artists + opening times

1 Dec
Still from Cleaning the Air by Pietertje van Splunter

Still from Cleaning the Air by Pietertje van Splunter

The Poetic Condition
De Dichterlijke Aard
14 artists from
the Netherlands and
Aotearoa | New Zealand

A Red Lemon (Een Rode Citroen), 2015, 9' 53” Sound: Anne Wellmer. Drawings: Geerten Ten Bosch. Animation: Harriët van Reek. Text: Helene Cixous. Voice: Stephie Büttrich-Kolman

A Red Lemon (Een Rode Citroen), 2015, 9′ 53” Sound: Anne Wellmer. Drawings: Geerten Ten Bosch. Animation: Harriët van Reek. Text: Helene Cixous. Voice: Stephie Büttrich-Kolman

Lisa Clunie
Sanne Maes
Ellen Smith
Marg Morrow
Megan Dickinson
Elektra Bakhshov
Pietertje van Splunter
Sonja van Kerkhoff
Christiaan van Tol
Inge Reisberman
Martje Zandboer
Anne Wellmer
Channa Boon
Thom Vink

7 Dec 2016
– 14 January 2017

The Shutter Room
7 Rust Ave (opposite the public library entrance)

Opening 9 Dec: 4-6 p.m.

Exhibition events
14 Dec: 12.30 – 1 p.m. Artist conversation with Lisa Clunie

17 Dec: 12.30 – 1 p.m. Artist Talk about various projects in the Netherlands by Sonja van Kerkhoff

14 Jan: 12 noon – 1 p.m.
Artist Lecture by Auckland artist, Raewyn Turner. More about this exciting artist in a forthcoming blog. In the meantime watch this 2 minute video about one of her projects.

Blog about the works by the Dutch artists in the exhibition >>
More photos and information about all the artists

Roster for the artists in the gallery

7 Dec: 1-4pm Elektra Bakhshov
8 Dec: 1-4pm Marg Morrow
9 Dec: 1-4pm Ellen Smith
10 Dec: 10-1pm Sonja van Kerkhoff
14 Dec: 1-4pm Lisa Clunie – “artist conversation” 12.30 – 1 pm
15 Dec: 1-4pm Marg Morrow
16 Dec: 1-4pm Ellen Smith
17 Dec: 10-1pm Sonja van Kerkhoff – “artist talk” 12.30 – 1 pm
21 Dec: 1-4pm Megan Dickinson – “artist conversation”
22 Dec: 1-4pm Elektra Bakhshov
23 Dec: 1-4pm Lisa Clunie
24 Dec: CLOSED
28 Dec: 1-4pm Elektra Bakhshov – “artist conversation” 1 – 1.30 pm
29 Dec: 1-4pm Shutter Room member
30 Dec: 1-4pm Shutter Room member
31 Dec: CLOSED
4 Jan: 1-4pm Megan Dickinson
5 Jan: 1-4pm Shutter Room member
6 Jan: 1-4pm Shutter Room member
7 Jan: 10-1pm Sonja van Kerkhoff
11 Jan: 1-4pm Megan Dickinson
12 Jan: 1-4pm Shutter Room member
13 Jan: 1-4pm K. Adams
14 Jan: 10-1pm Sonja van Kerkhoff – “lecture” 12 – 1 pm by Auckland artist, Raewyn Turner

The Poetic Condition opens on Dec 7th, 2016

10 Nov

Still from Bird of Prey by Sanne Maes

Still from “Bird of Prey” by Sanne Maes

“The Poetic Condition |
De Dichterlijke Aard” looks at today’s big questions as an aesthetic exercise. All works by the nine Dutch artists explore, respond or extend the theme of our human nature and the relevance of the aesthetic of poetic intervention to the self, socio-political or society. They use a wide range of media and approaches to ‘big questions’ (who are we, how do we live, how do we think about others or relate to the news), so that the exhibition as a whole is like an installation encompassing diversities of vision. Some artworks are poetic selections relating to contemporary news, such as Channa Boon’s video or Christian van Tol’s drawings. Others take images associated with ‘the other’ culture or people and relate them to the personal, such as Inge van Reisberman’s photo-triptych and Anne Wellmer’s videos. Martje Zandboer’s suspended miniatures, which contain family photographs from the Dutch East Indies, mix Dutch colonial history with the theme of the personal and intergenerational. Thom Vink’s works take a more material versus human spirit perspective, where architectural models and photographs create a composite humane aesthetic, while Sanne Maes’ self-portrait video/drawing connects the self with the natural world. Pietertje van Splunter’s videos are like a poetics on the mundane: housework.
Still from Cleaning the Air by Pietertje van Splunter

Still from “Cleaning the Air” by Pietertje van Splunter

Her brooms seem animated by an unearthly force and the constant stacking of the differing tribes of kitchen utensils suggests a game with secret rules. In using humour with the overkill her videos are reminders that the everyday domestic, is also a microcosm of the amusing, perhaps necessary banality of habit. Sonja van Kerkhoff’s photographic works pose questions focussed on an object–subject that is extended beyond the domestic, where an image of a baby is extended into the three dimensional incorporating philosophical slogans.
The five New Zealand artists, Lisa Clunie, Ellie Smith, Marg Morrow, Megan Dickinson and Elektra Bakhshov have been asked to respond to the theme, The Poetic Condition as well as to the various ways the Dutch works push the boundaries of the photographic medium.

The Poetic Condition | De dichterlijke Aard
The Shutter Room
7 Rust Avenue (opposite the public library entrance)

7 Dec – 14 January 2017
Wed-Fri: 12 noon – 4p.m., Sat: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Disarm at TodaysArt, The Hague

26 Sep

23-25 September 2016

Disarm (mechanized) by Pedro Reyes in Pulchiri, The Hague.

Disarm (mechanized) by Pedro Reyes in Pulchiri, The Hague.

“Disarm (mechanized)” by Pedro Reys are a collection of mechanical musical instruments made in part out of firearms, including revolvers, shot-guns and machine-guns, given to him by the Mexican government in the city of Ciudad, Juarez, after they had been rendered useless by tanks and steamrollers. In hearing of his work “Palas Por Pistolas,” where he transformed 1,527 guns owned by the residents of Culiacán by melting these down into 1,527 shovels, which were then used to plant 1,527 trees around the world, he was offered 6,700 destroyed weapons from the Mexican Secretary of Defence in 2012. “Disarm (Mechanized),” his second work made from these firearms, can either be automated or played live by an operator using a laptop computer or midi keyboard. This 3.55 min video clip is a piece run from a laptop titled “Turner 2015” in the Pulchri gallery in the Hague.

“For Pedro Reyes the process of transforming weapons into objects of positive utility was more than physical. “It’s important to consider that many lives were taken with these weapons; as if a sort of exorcism was taking place, the music expelled the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for the lives lost.” Artlyst.com, 25 Sept, 2015

“Pedro Reyes’ work is a socio-political critique on contemporary society and our responsibility towards it. His projects are catalysts for communal and psychological transformation, triggering group interaction and creativity.

Disarm is a demand for towns and cities across the world to relinquish their weapons and transform them from agents of death to agents of life. It is an attempt to highlight the invisible violence that underpins the international industry of death and suffering: the commercial and government complicity that allows for weapons to be made and sold by public companies for shareholder profit; the laws banning assault rifles which go neglected; and the films and video-games which depict trigger-happy heroes. For Reyes, an idealist whose projects affect real change and are often explicit attempts to improve the society around him, a world free of guns is a human right, and a utopian ideal to which we should all aspire.” Lisson Gallery, 2013, London.

Pedro Reyes was born in Mexico City in 1972, where he lives and works. He has won international attention for his large-scale projects that associate social issues with imaginative solutions. Pedro Reyes was awarded a Medal for the Arts in January 2015, by the US State Department for his continued commitment to the State Department’s cultural diplomacy outreach.

See his website or his blog for more.

TodaysArt Festival, hosted annually since 2005 in the Hague, focusses on the presentation and development of contemporary visual and performing arts and emerging culture. About the 2016 edition.

WaterWheel Last Chance

16 Mar

19-21 March 2016

Waitapu (sacred water) Wairere (flowing water) by Vallance Wrathall, New Zealand

Waitapu (sacred water) Wairere (flowing water) by Vallance Wrathall, New Zealand, for the first session for the 2016 Water Works online symposium curated by Ian Clothier which will air, New Zealand time, on March 19th at 4pm. Tune in here: water-wheel.net/taps-list

“The placement of this installation at Ngamotu beach, New Plymouth, was in relation to the historical significance this water source had with the people of this area, extending as far back as the 1600s through to today. Water has a story to tell, we as people need to take our time to listen.”
Vallance Wrathall, 2016.

Climate change, financial crises, war, and global environmental damage have all put pressures on water forcing it to ‘work’ as commodity, capital and resource. While the natural world ‘works’ in the maintenance and transformation of water, there are also the ‘works’ created by the passing actions of floods, tides and storms. How can art, science, design, and activism reinstate the social, cultural and environmental value of water? How can we give recognition to the indispensable and invaluable ways that water works?

This will be your last chance to tune into to watch the annual water themed presentations and performances using the Waterwheel interactive, collaborative platform from March 19 onwards http://water-wheel.net/taps-list (This link shows you the time and date in your local time for the 7 sessions spread over 34 hours. You only need to log in if you wish to comment.) Run marathon-style, each 2 hour session will be broadcast from a different part of the world.

Screen capture during ‘100 Names for Water’ talk by Ulay during the opening of the “Water Views: Caring and Daring - Waterwheel World Water Day Symposium 2014.

Screen capture during ‘100 Names for Water’ talk by Ulay during the opening of the “Water Views: Caring and Daring – Waterwheel World Water Day Symposium 2014.” The images of Ulay (in Slovenia) and Suzon Fuks (in Brisbane) show the live video feed in a ‘stage’ panel where you can add up to 6 ‘video windows’ as well as text, slideshows or drawings. The live text chat is on the right. You can watch this talk here: water-wheel.net/media_items/view/4851

This annual online global event, run since 2012, is a showcase on water by artists, scientists, activists and academics from all walks of life.

Some of these presentations are later published, and in 2014 an e-book was published which you can view here >> blog.water-wheel.net/2015/02/e-book-water-views-3WDS14.html
Here 450 participants, from 34 countries across 5 continents, interacted with audiences in real time on the internet and in 18 physical venues or ‘nodes,’ using the Waterwheel online video and sound platform. The symposium, held 17-23 March 2014, also focussed on a youth & inter-generational dialogue “Voice of the Future” strand.

Waterwheel was co-founded in August 2011 by Brisbane-based artist, Suzon Fuks, the design studio Inkahoots, who developed this, and the arts organisation Igneous, which manages it. It has never had any paid staff and the resources for its development from Australian national and Queensland state government arts funding were for artists who did projects using the platform. So now after 5 years the 2016 annual water themed online conference will be the last.

So to wet your appetite for this year’s theme Water Works – where 22 curators from 19 countries will discuss selected entries and respond to an online audience in a streaming event on Waterwheel.

The programme overview is here: http://bit.ly/WATERworks-programme

Indian classical singer Mahesha Vinayakram will open and close “Water Works” with a performance.

The first two hour session (water-wheel.net/taps/view/854) will be presentations of videos selected by San Franscico-based artist and teacher, Michele Guieu (micheleguieu.com/wordpress) followed by a presentation of seven New Zealand artists, curated by Ian Clothier (ianclothier.com) who runs the biannual media art residency and symposium SCANZ(www.intercreate.org) in New Plymouth where he lives.

The next session (water-wheel.net/taps/view/855), starting 2 hours later, is curated by Katarina Djordjevic Urosevic ((artskylight.com), Serbia), Joanna Hoffmann (University of Arts, Studio for Transdisciplinary Projects and Research, Poznan, Poland) and artist Pascale Barret (pascalebarret.com), Belgium)

Water Works session #3 (water-wheel.net/taps/view/856) is curated by:
West D.L. Marrin, an applied scientist in biogeochemistry, pollutant dynamics, water resources, and aquatic ecology. His lectures focus on global water quality threats, hydromimicry practices, and the water-energy-food nexus. He is a former adjunct professor at San Diego State University, U.S.A.;
Claudia Jacques & Victoria Vesna (waterbodies.org). Claudia (claudiajacques.com), currently a PhD candidate at the Planetary Collegium, CAiiA Hub, University of Plymouth, UK., researches space-time aesthetics in the user-information-interface relationship through the lens of Cybersemiotics. Intersecting art, technology and science, she designs interactive hybrid art and information environments that aim to explore perceptions of space-time and the digital-physical in the pursuit of human consciousness. Victoria (victoriavesna.com) is an artist and Professor at the UCLA Department of Design | Media Arts and Director of the Art|Sci center at the School of the Arts and California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI))
and Lila Moore (mdx.academia.edu/LilaMoore), an artist film-maker, screen choreographer, networked performance practitioner, and theorist based in Israel. She is a post-doctoral researcher at The I-Node of the Planetary Collegium, Plymouth University, UK, and holds a doctorate from Middlesex University in Dance on Screen which explores choreography for the camera and screen-dance in the contexts of performative and hybrid art forms, with special reference to ritual and myth from a feminine/feminist perspective.

Water Works session #4 (water-wheel.net/taps/view/857) is on sound art works and is curated by Leah Barclay, Eric Leonardson and Ricardo Dal Farra.
Leah Barclay (leahbarclay.com) is an Australian interdisciplinary artist, composer and researcher who specialises in electroacoustic music, sound art and acoustic ecology. Leah has received critical acclaim for her immersive performances, installations and large-scale community projects that explore volatile environments ranging from the central Amazon Rainforest to the floor of the Australian ocean. Her work is multi-platform in nature and often involves long-term community engagement accompanied by the development of virtual platforms to explore the value of digital technology in environmental crisis. Her diverse creative practice has resulted in a dynamic freelance career where she works as an artist, consultant, educator and researcher with various organisations and institutions. These include designing immersive education programs for UNESCO, directing large-scale interdisciplinary research projects for major universities across Australia and the USA and facilitating partnerships between communities, NGOs and government to explore creative approaches to climate action.
Eric Leonardson (ericleonardson.org) is a Chicago-based composer, radio artist, sound designer, instrument inventor, improviser, visual artist, and teacher. He has devoted a majority of his professional career to unorthodox approaches to sound and its instrumentation with a broad understanding of texture, atmosphere and micro-tones.
And Ricardo Dal Farra (linkedin.com/in/ricardodalfarra) is an Argentine composer and multimedia artist, researcher, educator, performer and curator focusing mainly on new media arts and electroacoustic music for more than 25 years. Dal Farra holds a PhD in Etude et pratiques des arts from Université du Québec à Montréal and is Founding Director of Centro de Experimentación e Investigación en Artes Electrónicas – CEIArtE (Electronic Arts Experimenting and Research Centre) at National University of Tres de Febrero, Argentina; Associated Researcher at the Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre, De Montfort Univerisity, United Kingdom; and Senior Consultant for the Amauta – Andean Media Arts Centre in Cusco, Peru.

Water Works session #5 (water-wheel.net/taps/view/858) is curated by:
Eklavya Prasad (linkedin.com) a social development professional who has led a grassroots campaign in rural north Bihar, New Dehli, India, since 2005 on decentralized and alternative drinking water solutions;
Atefeh Khas (atefehkhas.com) an Iranian artist who specializes in environmental installations, and is a member of the environmental artists group “Open Five” since 2005,
and Catherine Lee + Margaret Shiu, directors of the Bamboo Curtain artist residency studio (bambooculture.com), in Taipei, Taiwan.

Water Works session #6 (water-wheel.net/taps/view/859) is curated by:
Tracey Benson (canberra.academia.edu/TraceyBenson) a media artist and academic based in Canberra, Australia;
Amin Hammami (linkedin.com) previously a lecturer in Cinema, Audiovisual and Sound Art at the Higher Institute of Multimedia Arts of Manouba in Tunisia and now at the University of Dammam in Saudi Arabia. He has been involved with Waterwheel since 2011.
Tracey Benson (canberra.academia.edu/TraceyBenson), and
Amin Hammami (linkedin.com) previously a lecturer in Cinema, Audiovisual and Sound Art at the Higher Institute of Multimedia Arts of Manouba in Tunisia and now at the University of Dammam in Saudi Arabia. He has been involved with Waterwheel since 2011, and
Camilla Boemio (camillaboemio.com), an Italian curator focussing on socio-political developments within contemporary society. She was Deputy Curator of the Maldives Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale and was consultant for the art-science section at ISWA European project (Immersion in the Science Worlds through Arts).

A workshop on audio recording and streaming
(water-wheel.net/taps/view/860) by the London arts collective, Soundcamp (soundtent.org). Technologies for setting up a temporary or long-term live audio stream using a mobile phone or a laptop as well as a dedicated streambox out of low cost components, using the Raspberry Pi micro processor and Primo microphone capsules to make up cheap, high quality stereo microphones, will be demonstrated.
Real time audio has the potential to create a compelling connection to a site, which can directly convey much of the feel and uniqueness of a location. A small but significant group of projects is establishing a network of streams from diverse soundscapes around the world. Some of these events are SoundCamp 2016, (30 April – 1 May 2016), a 24 hour live stream of audio radio around the globe for International Dawn chorus Day (idcd.info) on May 1st, the Locus Sonus open microphone network (locusonus.org), the Balance Unbalance conference on acoustics and ecology in Colombia (9-11 May 2016), and World Listening Day 2016 (18 July 2016).

Water Works session #7 (water-wheel.net/taps/view/861) is curated by:
Annie Abrahams (bram.org) based in France, she is an pioneer of networked performance art.
Russell Milledge (researchgate.net) a co-founder of the interdisciplinary artists’ collective Bonemap (bonemap.com) which is concerned with the ecological edges of civilisation while creating immersive art and performance based in far northern Australia. Projects often engage Cape York, Torres Strait Islander and international contemporary artists.
Jason Grant (Australia)

And the waterwheel blog is an archive of water related events: http://blog.water-wheel.net

Spirit, people power, nature power – Wairua, Mana Tangata, Mana Whenua

31 May

10 April – 1 June 2015 0420_2000jess-se-lisaTop Left to Right: Detail of Wairua 2, oil paint/mixed media on canvas, by Keri Molly; Homage, oil on canvas, by Lynn Pirrie Smith; Pou Wairua woven flax + copper panel by Jess Paraone; Several Seas, photographic print on transparency by Sen McGlinn; Long Boat, mild steel by Peter Brammer; Puddle, Pigment print on cotton rag by Lisa Clunie; I want to be reborn, acrylic & oil stick on canvas by Simon Kerr; Prana, Pigment print on cotton rag by Lisa Clunie.

Whenua refers to the link between us and life or the life spirit, which sometimes refers to the land or the natural world. Curated by Piripi Ball + Laurell Pratt this exhibition theme of the spirit as the power of humanity and the power of the natural is expressed in sculpture, carving, weaving, paintings, photographic, installations and craft and design. Piripi’s remit for this show was to encourage artists to approach this theme from the materiality as much as from an abstracted stance and he was successful in getting work from a huge diversity of artistic approaches.
Left to Right: Tewhate-wha – Taonga tuku iho aa Tawhaki / Jeweled Heirloom of Tawhaki, maire, deer antler by Te Kuiti Stewart; Tiki-wananga – Matauranga Aariki / Knowledge of Progenies, kauri, koa, silko, feathers, paua by Te Kuiti Stewart; Where Two Waters Meet, acrylic & gesso on canvas, by Bev Wilson; Detail of a photograph by John McMullen.

0418_1925-hughLeft to Right: Detail: Where Two Waters Meet, acrylic & gesso on canvas, by Bev Wilson; Mauri, silver gelatin print by John McMullen; Rosary, oil on canvas by Hugh Major; Passion 3, mixed media on board by Brenda Liddiard; Koraro Totem, flax flower heads, pumice, copper wire by Carolyn Lye; Howling in the Night, plywood, indian ink, wire by Natascha Rodenburg; Four Strands, plaited bull kelp with harakeke tie by Carolyn Lye.

0420_2001d_bevisLeft to Right: Detail of Nga Kete O Te Wananga (The 3 baskets of Knowledge), digital photographic print on eco-ethical wallpaper by Sheree Edwards; Emergence, carved slate, kauri, mother of pearl, bone, by Bevis Hatch;Clearing – Cowboys & indians on the pa site, digital pigment ink print on archival paper by Ellie Smith; Wairua, acrylic on canvas with oil sticks by Lynn Pirrie Smith; Whare Ihu, puriri and totata, oil paint and aluminium by Aaron Hoskin; Portrait of Ted, photograph on paper by Dr Chris Reid; Portrait of Zena, photograph on paper by Dr Chris Reid;

0418_1926b_julie-al-dorLeft to Right: Round Pit fired pot, stoneware thrown pot, pit fired with wooden horn handle by Julie Cromwell; Untitled (Solar Flare), pigment print on cotton rag by Lisa Clunie; For the love of Stars, feather crosses by Alicia Courtney; Journey Home, screenprint by David Knight; Birdman Series, acrylics/spray paint on wood by Leonard Murupaenga; Pit fired Pot Thrown, stoneware pot, pit fired, copper wire around horn handle by Julie Cromwell; Early Tides – Rawene, silver gelatin print by John McCullum; Hidden, carved oak, sooty mould (fungi), cooper wire, wood, glue, ink by Natascha Rodenburg; Jerusalem Window 1V, mixed media on canvas by Brenda Liddard; Waka, wood-fired, ceramic sculpture by Dorothy Waetford.

The exhibition runs until 1 June 2015,
Kings Theatre, 80 Gillies St, Kawakawa.
Open Wed-Sundays: 10-4. Their facebook page.

Artists in the exhibition
Piripi Ball | Regan Balzer | Gabrielle Belz | Nicholas J Boyd | Peter Brammer | Michelle Chapman | Kiri Clark | Lisa Clunie | Alicia Courtney | Julie Cromwell | Richard Darbyshire | Barry Downs | Davina Duke | Anthony Dunn | Sheree Edwards | Philip John England | Ally Grant | Rhonda Halliday | Shellie Hanley | Nicola Hart | Bevis Hatch | Aaron Hoskin | Leanne Jackson | Tavis Jacques | Darren Keith | Simon Kerr | David Knight | Thomas Lauterbach | Brenda Liddiard | Jo Lumkong | Carolyn Lye | Kirsty Mackenzie | Linda Munn | Hugh Major | Sen McGlinn | Pita McIntireJohn McMullen | Keri Molly | Leonard Murupaenga | Jess Paraone | Lee Ralph | Israel Randall | Karen Reeves | Theresa Reihana | Chris Reid | Natascha Rodenburg | rosy & rich | Carla Ruka | Petera Reid | Kathy Shaw | Ellie Smith | Lynn Pirrie Smith | Nikitta Shine | Barbie Stevenson | Te Kuiti Stewart | Kathy Shaw Urlich | Sonja van Kerkhoff | Dorothy Waetford | Yonel Watene | Karena Way | Lee Ralph and Adam Wharekawa | Bev Wilson | Sasha Wilson | Ann Winship

Recycling the material – VillageArts, Kohukohu

9 May

Sarah Lenton's plastic wrapped stones

Sarah Lenton’s plastic wrapped stones are a three dimensional composition of greys, black, white and red.

“It is not a tale invented but a confirmation of what went on before it…” is a quotation from the Quran (Sura 12, verse 111) which speaks of how everything including religious truths are nothing new: that is, everything is recycled, comes around again. The message is recycled although the materials or cultural lens may differ, and so Meaning boils down to a subjective contexutalized point of view.

For decades contemporary artists, have recycled the materials of objects, sometimes with the aim of raising awareness of the effect of context and at other times purely as a medium.

Although a recycled item can never be as ‘modernist’ as the medium of oil on canvas or steel or marble because when an object gains a new life in the context of an art institution (whether an established gallery or not) the viewer will immediately notice, for example, that this old shoe is hung vertically and not on someone’s foot. The context of an art gallery would obviously change the aesthetics of the shoe (we might examine it for the colours and textures or for wear and tear). But the viewer might also wonder why are the walls at eye height in an art gallery so important or why do we have the culture of the rectangular stretched canvas? But what about a show that throws light on the theme of rubbish? Where relocated recycled or found objects are invested with values.

“Rubbish – a new collection” is the latest exhibition at the Kohukohu Village Arts gallery in the Far North of Aotearoa | New Zealand where 29 artists have recycled the material.

Artists such as Méret Oppenheim (see her 1936 teacup and spoon made out of fur.) or Pablo Picasso (see his 1942 bicycle seat “Bull’s Head”) have been using ‘found objects’ in their art since the 1920s but in this day and age where we are increasingly aware of the renewability of materials, it is no surprise that many artists choose recycled materials over a blank canvas.

A detail of David Stanley Benson's grid-locked mobiles in the empty spaces of three pieces of unused concrete reinforcing bar and below Sarah Lenton's plastic wrapped stones.

A detail of David Stanley Benson’s grid-locked mobiles in the empty spaces of three pieces of unused concrete reinforcing bar and below Sarah Lenton’s plastic wrapped stones.

Some choose this for economic reasons. Others for ecological reasons, and some for the conceptual (the extra story or double meaning).

Some use the recycled as a medium while other artists use the recycled as part of the message in their work.

A detail of David Stanley Benson's sculpture.

A detail of David Stanley Benson’s sculpture.

Sculpture by Lindsey Davidson

One of three sculptures by Lindsey Davidson in which copper wire is delicately held inside the protection of a barbed wire structure.

Most artists in this show, such as David Stanley Benson and Sarah Lenton have used recycled objects as the medium. Benson cut shapes out of wood offcuts and in suspending these inside the grid, his work emphasizes the frame within the framework of a triptyph, a traditional format for art story telling from a bygone past. His Matisse-like cut-outs hang freely yet each is enclosed – perhaps a metaphor for the mundane, the urban or futile. Each individual element throws a shadow beyond the frame, yet each is still dependent on the grid. Instead of the concrete reinforcing being filled with concrete, each ‘element’ has been ‘concreted.’

Sarah Lenton’s plastic melted stones function in more abstract terms. They are a three dimensional composition of greys, black, white and red.

Lindsey Davidson’s three barbed wire and copper sculptures are poetic spatial inter- ventions. Each copper bundle is surround- ed by a barbed defense system. Perhaps a metaphor for the dependency of the vulnerable elements within an eco-system or the mutability of the systems themselves, given that some of the barbed wire was rusting.

While most recycled materials in the show are used as a medium that replaces paint or marble, some, such as in Michelle Mayn’s woven “Recycled Rain Cape / Pākē,” (A pākē = a New Zealand Māori rain cape) bring in the socio-political or the cultural lens.

Michelle Mayn's woven Recycled Rain Cape / Pake

Woven computer wire and plastic pākē (Maori rain cape) by Michelle Mayn

In any other exhibition or context, we wouldn’t notice whether the plastic or wire was recycled or not because what stands out is the delicacy of the form suspended out from the wall and the fine weaving. Traditionally pākē (rain capes) were made when needed from leaves found at hand in the bush. By making this pākē from plastic and wire, which are commonly found discarded, she is continuing the legacy of other contemporary New Zealand based weavers who work traditionally with new materials such as Ani O’Neill or Anna Gedson. However Mayn’s work is more sculptural and in this context this work is a statement about how art can change the material. Cold plastic and discarded computer wiring gives form to something soft and protective.

Mayn’s delicately woven sculpture-come-fashion-statement is also a reminder that rubbish is in the eye of the beholder.

Detail of a pendent by Tavis Jacques

Detail of a pendent by Tavis Jacques

Tavis Jacques’ pendents also reference the worlds of design and fashion. The material, glass shards, appear sea worn. Washed up glass is not only rubbish but a sign of disregard because at some point it was thrown into the sea by someone. The artist has redeemed the insult.
The works display a delicate balance between form (the sculptured and irregular contours as well as minimal traces of what was once a bottle) and design (the forms are almost wing-like and the carved incisions are a double spiral). Rubbish is recontextualised as ornament.

"Down to the bone" by Sue Matthews is as painterly as it is sculptural and conceptual.

“Down to the bone” by Sue Matthews is as painterly as it is sculptural and conceptual.

“Down to the bone” by Sue Matthews is a cross between a Maddox (Allen Maddox (1948-2000) was a New Zealand known abstract expressionist painter) painting and a fluxus object. Matthew’s combination of painting, sculpting and assemblage are akin to the Fluxus use of intermedia.

The title refers not just to the bone held up like a trophy above the kauri platter by a pair of forks but also refers to scraping the barrel, using things to the last drop. The paint, her statement informs us, is scrapings from paint tin lids while the platter is a warped reject. Here rubbish is what has been conserved as well as the found or collected objects. There is painterly delight, sculptural magic and conceptual wit in this work.

It is an associative work where the edges between one medium or idea merge with another. Perhaps the next time we scrape the leftovers from the plate life gives us, we might think what else can be made of them.

The "The Bix-Box Racer" + "The Bix-Box Racer" by Malcolm Ford.

The “The Bix-Box Racer” + “The Bix-Box Racer” by Malcolm Ford.

Malcolm Ford’s model planes are other works which are a rich combination of the conceptual, the ecological and the material. “The Bix-Box Racer” is a model based on a 1930s single seater 7 cylinder radial plane built for speed. It is made out of weet-bix cereal packaging. Weet-bix was the iconic New Zealand energy breakfast meal for those of us growing up in the 60s to 80s.

His biplane titled “The Bristol Black Sack,” constructed out of discarded corrugated cardboad covered with a black rubbish collection bag, is based on a combination of the German, French and English biplanes developed towards the end of World War 1. The art of model making is generally concerned with the presentation of a faithful representation aimed at the illusion of a copy of a larger item. In using recycled packaging as well as a rubbish bag, Malcolm Ford has turned this concern with the craft of representation on its head. Then as if this is not enough, he melds the elements of the German, French and English biplanes so the distinctions between those who were at war in the skies of 1918 are dissolved into one art statement. Time does not stand still and we should beware of a nostaglia that is uncritical.

Left to Right: "Down the Rabbit Hole" by Marg Morrow, "In Milk We Trust" by Sonja van Kerkhoff, and abstract collage compositions by Erika holden

Left to Right: “Down the Rabbit Hole” by Marg Morrow, “In Milk We Trust” by Sonja van Kerkhoff, and abstract collage compositions by Erika Holden

In Marg Morrow’s work “Down the Rabbit Hole,” scale is what you notice first.

The ‘rabbit hole’ refers to the metre long tube of fabric created by knitting discarded clothing. This Odenburg-esque soft sculpture hangs from an enormous spool that in turn is suspended from above. Unlike Oldenburg however, what you notice is the combination of recycled elements. So for example, you can clearly see that the cable spool serves as a scaled up cotton reel.

Liz McAuliffe’s approach is to collect, order and display. A wall shows her suite of five “Collections.” Three are found objects, such as a wheel hub and a piece of wood, which have been hung like trophies on display. Two of these collections consist of arrangements of objects on shelving.

Left > Right: Fused plastic by Sarah Lenton, Wall Flowers by Christine Butler, + Yellow plastic with wire and other objects on the wall are by Lynsie Austin, Chair with metal protusions by Beverley Cox, "Collections" the objects + shelving on the front wall are by Liz McAuliffe.

Left > Right: Fused plastic by Sarah Lenton, Wall Flowers by Christine Butler, + Yellow plastic with wire and other objects on the wall are by Lynsie Austin, Chair with metal protusions by Beverley Cox. The objects + shelving on the front wall are “Collections” by Liz McAuliffe.

A detail of "Collections: A Measure Of Time" by Liz McAuliffe.

A detail of “Collections: A Measure Of Time” by Liz McAuliffe.

In “Collect- ions: A Measure Of Time” objects have been placed at markers along three wooden rulers. The top ruler is dotted arte povera-like with rusted and flattened found objects. Perhaps they mark the passing of time? To me they are reminders of treasures in the unexpected. The second row consists of packaging and the third a row of small bottles. These remind me of Damien Hirst‘s cabinet displays of ordered collections.

a new collection

April 11th – May 14th 2015
Village Arts Gallery, Kohukohu, Hokianga

Artists in the exhibition are:
Hebe Albrecht, Lynsie Austin, David Stanley Benson, Christine Butler, Beverley Cox, Janine Creser, Lindsey Davidson, Claire Deighton, Malcolm Ford, Wally Hicks, Erika Holden, Tavis Jacques, Leona Kenworthy, Cherie Keys, Sarah Lenton, Sue Matthews, Michelle Mayn, Liz McAuliffe, Gillian McGrath, Rachel Miller, Marg Morrow, Tina Mudrach, Jill Reilly, Karen Reeves, Sash, Lise Strathdee, Nathan Suniula, Sharon Terrizzi + Sonja van Kerkhoff

Contemporary in Kawakawa

17 Jan
Acrylic on canvas by Theresa Reihana in the Kings Theatre gallery, Kawakawa

Acrylic on canvas by Theresa Reihana in the Kings Theatre gallery, Kawakawa

“Rip, Shit & Bust – a response to invasive mining realities,” is the first exhibition in the recently renovated 1936 Kings Theatre just down from the Hundertwasser public toilets on the main street in Kawakawa in the north of Aotearoa | New Zealand.

detail: Orificia Coffee Table by Sash. Glitter, masks,	LED	lights +  show case plinth.

detail: Orificia Coffee Table, glitter, masks, LED lights + show case plinth, by Sash.

Many of the paintings, prints, ceramics, raranga (flax weaving), carvings, sculpture and installations by the 17 artists relate to the exhibition theme of concern about drilling or mining: heightened naturally, by the recently begun Statoil oil exploration along the Northland coast. “Orificia Coffee Table” by Kaikohe artist Sash is a flashing glitter display case at shin height. The viewer has to adjust their stance and focus before the ‘blue worm’ which threads through the multiple eyes of Papatuanuku (Mother Earth) is recognized. The gentle flashing light works both as warning and metaphor for the flux of the natural world. Masks hide and reveal: here they represent a multi-eyed essence that is open and vulnerable. In Sash’s other work, “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls” an oil like ooze in continual flow, cascades over brightly painted and glittered rocks and texts.
Theresa Reihana’s paintings and prints address the theme of the environment in more painterly terms. One of her paintings, pictured above, shows a fracture in the kowhaikowhai pattern above a clock face from a bygone age. The broken up earth below is almost abstract. The three divisions are like three worlds: the future (spiritual, conceptual or material consequences, with a fault line in the pattern of the universe), the present (time undefined) and the past (what has been done to the earth).

Whenua II + I by Theresa Reihana

Detail Left to Right: Whenua II + I by Theresa Reihana, acrylic on plywood.

Each of the “Whenua” works by Theresa Reihana consists of two parts, the large face and a baby in a fetal position. Here “Whenua” is a powerful metaphor for what is missing between the two (in the Māori language whenua means umbilical chord). The gouged and ripped layers in plywood in the ‘earth mother’ indicate something is amiss, while the baby (each of us) floats disconnected.

Fossil Fuel by Gabrielle Belz

Fossil Fuel by Gabrielle Belz, intaglio print on paper, 1 in an edition of one.

The print “Fossil Fuel” by Gabrielle Belz is a playful reminder that resources are finite and part of an ecosystem. Some of her other prints, such as in “Kia Tupato” (Be Careful), have drawings or cartoons on plastic laid on top of the print.

Kia Tupato by Gabrielle Belz

Kia Tupato by Gabrielle Belz

The text in this work reads “Don’t wake Ruamoko,” a reference to the guardian or cause of earthquakes. Her other prints also warn of unnatural disasters as a result of mining or drilling and Bev Wilson’s painting below addresses the same topic.

Acrylic on canvas by Bev Wilson

“There’s a Frac/tion Too Much Friction (as Tim Finn
would say) yeah” acrylic on board, copper-coated nails, by Bev Wilson

Under the mountain red breaks out around fractures and intrusions, like wounds that are irritated.

Raranga by Te Hemoata Henare

Detail: Raranga, woven flax, by Te Hemoata Henare.

Raranga by Te Hemoata Henare consists of two 4 metre woven flax strips. A maro (a traditional apron or loin cloth that covers the pubic area) hangs in the middle flanked first by mountain patterns and then by river-like patterns. For a Māori person, acknowledging your mountain and river always comes before any mention of ancestry, so that identity is symbolically situated in connection with the natural world. The title refers to the technique and medium she has used but it could imply that the land or the natural world – the blank horizon above – is continuous and enduring. In the text about her work she refers to the whakatauākī (proverb), “Whatu ngarongaro te tangata, Toitu te whenua” (People perish but the land remains).

Manaia, acrylic on canvas, by Julien Atkinson

Manaia, acrylic on canvas, by Julien Atkinson

Detail of Manaia by Julien Atkinson

Detail of Manaia by Julien Atkinson

What makes this exhibition curated by Lau’rell Pratt and Theresa Reihana so stimulating is the diversity of media and styles and approaches.
Julien Atkinson’s five large canvases are exquisite, not just because of his fine use of colour and technique but in their fine balance between design, technique and the conceptual. From a conceptual perspective, the manaia, a hybrid guardian of spiritual and material worlds, stands as if about to pounce on us, should we dare to approach. This stunning creature, the manaia, perhaps mythical, or perhaps not if only we had eyes to see, stands there to protect the land. Through the body we can see a horizon – the land this creature is guarding. In terms of design and technique: there is a beautiful play between flat decoration and three dimensional illusion, and Celtic and Maori stylistic features, along with sci-fi or hyper-realism.

Ruru, acrylic on canvas, by Tinike Hohaia

Ruru, acrylic on canvas, by Tinike Hohaia

“Ruru” by Tinike Hohaia, like Julien Atkinson’s paintings, is a celebration of creation combining the decorative with the painterly. Ruru, Māori for a native owl (The morepork, Ninox novaeseelandiae) is associated with the spirit world in Māori mythology. It is believed that if a morepork sits conspicuously nearby or enters a house there will be a death in the family, and so like the manaia, this work could be read as a warning. In some traditions the ancestral spirit of a family group can take the form of an owl, known as Hine-ruru, the ‘owl woman.’ These owl spirits can act as kaitiaki (guardians) with the power to protect, warn and advise.

Over-painting by Nellie Para

Acrylic and photographic print on canvas by Nellie Para

Tinike Hohaia is one of nine artists in this exhibition who were students of Theresa Reihana’s marae noho (live-in workshops in a Māori setting) coordinated through the Northland branch of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (a nationwide Māori educational foundation whose courses range from beginners’ to university level). Some of the artists, such as the kuia (Māori elder) Nellie Para, another of Theresa’s students, are exhibiting for the first time.
Here Nellie Para has appropriated a photograph on canvas of the British actress, humanitarian, and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) by giving her a moko (tattoo), a tīpare (a Māori style headband) and a whakakai (an earring), against a sky that reminds me of psychedelic art. I loved it that an iconic western image from a bygone time has been coloured by a local elder.
Hidden	Destruction	and	 Devastation, acylic on canvas, by Ann Hui

Fore: Hidden Destruction and Devastation, acylic on canvas, by Ann Hui, Orificia Coffee Table, glitter, masks, LED lights + show case plinth, by Sash.
Back: two paintings by Julien Atkinson, three paintings by Bev Wilson, two paintings and two prints by Maarie te Mamaeroa Jane Ruys, and five ceramic objects by Rhonda Halliday.

Whispering Time (II) by Keatly Te Moananui Hopkins

Whispering Time (II), photogravue intaglio, by Keatly Te Moananui Hopkins.

Hinepukohurangi, acrylic on canvas, by Natascha De Swart

Hinepukohurangi, acrylic on canvas, by Natascha De Swart.
Artist statement: “The mist is a blanket for our land and rises as a blanket in our sky for our earth.”

Reading what the artists had written of themselves or their work gave me a sense of the diversity of Northland’s artistic and cultural communities. Many artists introduced themselves via whakapapa (their mountain, river, and tribal connections) followed by something about their work or approach. The format had not been standardized: some wrote of themselves being on a journey, others listed prior shows or galleries, and others provided statements in relation to their particular works.
Artists in the exhibition: Julien Atkinson, Gabrielle Belz, Graham ‘Tiny’ Dalton, Natasha De Swart, Rhonda Halliday, Te Hemoata Henare, Tinike Hohaia, Keatly Te Moananui Hopkins, Ann Hui, Keri Molloy, Kahu Reedy, Theresa Reihana, Maarie te Mamaeroa Jane Ruys, Sash, Alby Shortland, Nellie Para, Bev Wilson

The exhibition runs until January 20th 2015,
Kings Theatre, 80 Gillies St, Kawakawa.
Open daily: 10-4. Their facebook page.