Tag Archives: painting

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.

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A Leiden Last Judgement – 2011

24 May

Contemporary artworks by 12 Leiden artists: Maurice Braspenning – Hans de Bruijn – Casper Faassen – Gijs Donker – Hanneke Francken – Marjolein van Haasteren – Allart Lakke – Johan Scherft – Thomas Raat – Maayke Schuitema – Guido Winkler – Izaak Zwartjes
Triptych by Allan Lakke, 2011  - Photogpragh: Sonja van KerkhoffThis life-size copy of van Leyden’s 1526 triptych onto canvas (the original is around the corner on display in the Lakenhal until June) by Allan Lakke (www.lakke.com) was wedged behind the stairwell, as if it didn’t quite fit. Here Lakke has ‘copied’ frame and painting as one unit. This reproduction, just like a reproduction a ‘famous painting’ reproduction – flat and photographic – only that this is a life-size copy set under a ceiling that is too low and a stairwell that is in the way, makes it not so much a comment on reproduction as a comment on context. Where does one fit a triptych about the “last judgement” in today’s world? Lakke’s other works in the show, models of tryptychs with blank panels seem in contrast more about the history of reproduction.

Sculptural triptychs by Allan Lakke + Casper Faassens  - Photogpragh: Sonja van KerkhoffCasper Faassen’s triptych, of the same dimensions, omits the figuration evident in Lakke’s. The central panel of frosted glass is illumined by a spot and the hinged two side panels are transparent sheets of glass. Is there nothing to say? Has it all been said? Has the story been removed or is it replaced with a new story? In any case what we are left with in Faassen’s work is an aesthetic of form bordering between high art and the domestic.

Casper Faassens and Allan Lakke are the initiators of this exhibition. They selected the artists, negotiated the location, and found sponsorship.

Magna Mater by Maayke Schuitema  - Photogpragh: Sonja van Kerkhoff Some artists in the show responded to the themes of life and death, heaven and hell, or judgement such as Maayke Schuitema’s “Magna Mater”. Here a pregnant woman has replaced the crucifix and is flanked by scenes of women who are literally and symbollically juggling symbols of birth and death. Each woman’s womb bears either an symbol for life or death.
Pope, 2011, by Maurice Braspenning  - Photogpragh: Sonja van KerkhoffAnyone familiar with contemporarty art can’t help but think of Francis Bacon‘s 1953 iconic screaming pope, and Maurice Braspenning’s painting, “Pope” hold its ground in this context. Braspenning’s pope (the current pope, Benedictus XVI) is more insideous. The scene seems serene. Braspenning’s craftmanship makes the looking enjoyable. However sooner or later you start to see the inconsistences.
Pope, 2011, by Maurice Braspenning - Photogpragh: Sonja van KerkhoffDetail of the painting, Pope by Maurice Braspenning. Photograph by Sonja van KerkhoffThe smile is like too much makeup, and then the faint chalklines, make the decorativeness seem like a facade. And are those white circles puncture holes or signs of decay? Of ruptures in the structure? Is the pope laughing at himself or at an imaginary audience, at God? at the world today? Or is he communicating with a world we are missing? A spirituality we can’t see?
Braspenning’s work is complex and he has kept the vocabulary simple. The title is just “Pope”, the profile is delicate, yet not fussy.
But if you take time, each detail is loaded with messages about the appearances of things. Is the cross in the Pope’s eye a blindspot or a source of guidance? Or is it a cross hair target found in mechanical devices, so that the Pope is a “deus ex machina” – directed from where? from above or from within?
Is the black on the left just a large glossy black oval. A mirror? A void – a symbol for what is missing or a bubble about to burst? Or just a reminder that a surface is just a surface? A reminder of our own materiality.
Braspenning leaves the judgement up to us.

Painting by Johan Scherft  - Photogpragh: Sonja van KerkhoffJohan Scherft‘s contribution to the show were a number of finely painted vignettes, which border on outsider art. For the painting, “De Boom van de kennis van goed en kwaad (The tree of good and evil)” a magnifying glass was supplied so you can view the tiny creatures living idyllically in the tree in a Romantic garden before there was any judgement.
4 works by Marjolein van Haasteren  - Photogpragh: Sonja van Kerkhoff
Marjolein van Haasteren has placed 3 small glossy dark photographs of urban scapes and given these titles such as “Underworld” or “Gate” – the images are from our world, the here and now. Next to these is a large abstracted painting titled “Styx” and above this is a 5th work, a soundscape of subtle rumbling abstract sounds made with Martijn Groen. The diverse media and approach create an almost installation-like experience on themes related to definitions of borders and locations. For example the ‘gate’ could refer to an entrance inside the image presented on the surface of the form underneath the layers of laquer, or to within the depth of the form itself or to the idea of civilisation. Or perhaps the gate is even an escape from the locations presented by the imagery? Likewise with the painting: forms seem to defy gavity and above could be under where the Styx serves as a metaphor for being in a state of transistion. Passages VIII 2011, metal, wood, paint framework by Guido Winkler  - Photogpragh: Sonja van KerkhoffPassages VIII 2011, metal, wood, paint framework by Guido Winkler  - Photogpragh: Sonja van Kerkhoff

Finally Guido Winkler has made a free standing triptych which you can interact with.
It was fabulous.

All three panels could be moved in a variety of ways.

You could make your own abstact combination or you could see the grey shades as symbollic for shadows or you could make real shadows by positioning the panels.
Passages VIII 2011, metal, wood, paint framework by Guido Winkler - Photogpragh: Sonja van Kerkhoff
Interacting with this work physically, and moving around the work to view it from various locations, made me think this was a brilliant interpretation on the theme of the show. Judgment was doing -is active and mutable. And in today’s contemporary intellectual world a more ethereal experience. We live in worlds with shades of grey – no longer is this a world where there is a clear right or wrong way of leading one’s life – judgement is in how we lead our lives and our motivation lies in the shades of grey of whatever we call ‘doing good’ than in a medival black and white fear of damnation. How we are judged is in the here and now and in small daily acts, such as whether I moved that panel this way or that way. And finally a judgement of form or aesthetics created by each person is then left for the next visitor to encounter and to change.

‘t Laatste Oordeel -12 actuele interpretaties was on show at the Scheltema Contemporary Arts Centre, Leiden, 26 March – 1 May 2011, www.lovl.nl