Month: May 2014

My Country: Contemporary Art from Black Australia at The Auckland Art Gallery

My Country: Contemporary Art from Black Australia. Group Show. 28th March – 11th August. The Auckland Art Gallery. Aboriginal culture is linguistically and culturally diverse. Originally over 200 Indigenous Australian languages existed, with numerous dialects. Many types of expression were traditionally part of cultural practices, including rock painting, body painting, carving, bark painting and sand drawing. An alternative world where this was celebrated, rather than subjugated, is the hypothetical situation one is met with upon entrance to My Country. Michael Cook’s ethereal inkjet photographs (Civilised #1, #2, #6, #10, #13 & #14) hopefully imagine a world where the colonists had accepted the Aboriginal people as fellow human beings rather than having them listed as “Flora and Fauna” (which they were, until a referendum in 1967 overturned it). The works are haunting; Aboriginal subjects wearing traditional Victorian garbs, underscore the alienation experienced thanks to The Crown. This notion is further explored in this first room (of particular note is Alick Tipoti’s large-scale 2007 print Kuyku Garpathamai, examining the arrival of Christianity in The Torres Islands). This …

Leisure Valley at St Paul Street Gallery

Leisure Valley. Gavin Hipkins. 4 April -17 May 2014. AUT St Paul Street Gallery. ROMANCING THE STONE I consider myself to be occasionally impotent and unable to perform the task of reciprocating pleasure when I view art. Part of what I find intriguing about art is that sublime stuff – the ahhhh, that speaks to my core. Intellectual yada yada is great but if I’m being completely honest, I am expecting the big reveal. I know that as an audience member, expecting to be impressed and challenged to that degree by every artist is a high expectation and a completely unfair burden. Having said that, that’s just how I feel at this moment in time. I felt this sublime hocus pocus when I viewed Gavin Hipkins’ latest Leisure Valley at St Paul Street gallery, AUT. As a fellow Brutalist architecture appreciator, Gavin’s photographs of the ruins of Chandigarh, India – a city designed by Le Corbusier & Co – moved me. I see the large format photographs on newsprint of partially disintegrated architecture, and representation …