The title, A Place Between, heads a group show at the Casbah Gallery, Hamilton that conjures with ideas of a no-man’s land, a plot marked out with nebulous boundaries that inhabits both literal and psychological territory. These are areas difficult to pin down, indeterminate and hard to classify. They exist where slippage occurs, the in-between zones, a place where hybrids might breed, a trans terrain.
The exhibition attempts to open up such a space where the viewer can “wander between”, excavated by six artists, all originally from the Dunedin School of Fine Arts, now dispersed (Auckland and Melbourne) but come together to create gaps, legroom and liberty.
Charlotte Maguire located hers, searching for a wave, that brief moment of exhilaration between the hunt and the wash up the beach, a space that takes one into “blue light” into “a thousand luminous spheres”. Such experience can prove dangerous. Hospital is where one quickly discovers another place between, where recovery is slow and time treads water. Such time however can prove fruitful. The result was a work called Blue Crush, card-like configurations made of aluminium on which are placed computer drawn abstract forms – triangles, biomorphic wave shapes and ellipses, painted in blue, yellow and white. These ‘cards’ with their hieroglyphic notations are hung in grid formation, Killeen-like on the wall and resemble a game that might involve matching images. The game is also a place where play, that space outside confines, offers room for emancipation.
Kathryn Tulloch created a giant light box without both light and glass. Instead she provides a minimal luminous surface on paper as substitute with hints of yellow pigment brushed across her ground. Called, Congealing Glow, she posits its opposite immediately adjacent on the gallery floor where objects comprised of bits of black and white detritus, (crunched up pieces of paper) rest on a large black card. Here the “place between” falls between vision and the dung-heaps of the world.
Emily Hlavac Green does use a light box, several of them in fact to summon images of beautiful, almost cinematic landscapes using the most humble of means. With bits of fabric and scrunched up paper, she generates the illusion of mountains, hills, terrains soaked in green, blue and purple. Called Postcards From Elsewhere, these imaginative places have an arresting beauty that belie their material source.
The notion of the copy, the replica is explored by Irena Kennedy, but in this case she is interested in the “Decay of the Copy” which is the title of her small porcelain white clay imitation motor tyre. First exhibited at the Splore Arts Festival as a tyre swing, slung up high out of reach to preserve its purity, it nevertheless was reached by persons unknown and, ironically, used as a tire swing. Its spoiled and dirty appearance at Casbah is testament to the triumph of functionalism.
Both Kate van der Drift and Jenna Todd’s photographic work engage with landscapes, the former with disaster areas she labels “post-event” landscapes, while the latter creates dreamscapes which evoke that same locale between “knowing and unknowing”, between that ambiguous location flanked by fiction and fact.