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Here Now at Casbah Gallery

At last some sculpture! We don’t see enough of it these days. What we do see is a lot of conceptual work but little honest to goodness solid 3D stuff. So it was nice to see the sculptural pieces of Korean artist, Sena Park, at the Casbah in Hamilton recently. Her mixed media creations are predominantly made of wood and concrete with other items either attached or embedded into the cement: bits of stick, rope, fabric and or plaster, and sometimes covered with a touch of paint. Some of the forms, those predominantly made of concrete, have a geometric look which remind one of origami outlines. Small cubist constructions roughly configured, they possessed a strong industrial aspect almost as if they are simply altered ready-mades where the initial forms could have been picked up from some demolition site.

I did like the unorthodox combination of materials. It reminded me of the way singular buildings today are clad in a heterogeneous substances – wood, concrete, corrugated iron etc. The sculptures themselves did possess a certain architectural feel. One of them was raised up slightly awkwardly on four small poles which conveyed a kind of futuristic look that recalled those geodesic domes of old. Her other sculptural contributions consisted of a series of looping cords variously bound with different coloured pieces of masking tapes or plaster. These tangled forms took on organic shapes, some hung from the wall, other twining their way across the floor. These were less interesting than the concrete constructions. Rohan Hartley Mills “skipping rope” pieces in the current Wallace Award Show in Morrinsville uses a similar idea only to better effect.

The second artist exhibiting in the show is Clinton Richards, recent graduated from Whitecliffe. He specializes in altered ready-mades, using old picture prints ripped from calendars and splatters them with paint. Slightly cheesy and mass produced images of flowers get the treatment. There is some effort to harmonize colour with the use of gold and mauve and or play with the notion of value. May, July and November are specified. It’s a smart idea though a little underwhelming. The exploration of the nature of art is beginning to pall, frankly, as is the notion of mark making. Enough, please. Art about art has had its run. Find another subject.

What did take my eye was a fabric piece, entitled, Fishy Flag (2) made of denim cloth of various colours – bronze, gold and silver – that managed to be both figurative and abstract at the same time. It was actually flying like a flag should off the gallery balcony until some bonehead walking along the street below saw it and complained, so it was forced indoors. Health and safety, can you believe! Richards, Golden Mondrian, a plastic stool, painted in gold, with one leg pinning down on the floor a small roughly contrived Mondrian work on paper, was a bit of a tease. However this sort of iconoclasm is a little too easy and glib.

Here Now, an obvious reference to what’s currently happening, was a bit like the curates egg – good in parts.  

Peter Dornauf

Clinton Richard, Golden Mondrian, Found discarded chair, spray paint, gold:silver paper, acrylic, pen.

Clinton Richard, Golden Mondrian, Found discarded chair, spray paint, gold:silver paper, acrylic, pen.

Sena Park, Untitled #1, Mixed Media

Sena Park, fluid drawing, Mixed Media

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