Year: 2016

Letter from the editor: Considering natural life cycles of the #

I finished installing my work quite quickly for our group exhibition. I went into the other gallery space to see what the rest of my friends/the artists were doing. Louisa Afoa had a film triptych already installed. I sat down to watch it. I didn’t expect to have any strong feelings toward or against the work. It was more or less a way to spend time. Surprisingly, siting on that ply wood bench turned out to be one of those gushy defining moments that everyone within the arts industry has. That moment when seeing something reaffirms why you too are involved in the arts. It’s not that the work itself was necessarily great—it was after all a student exhibition—but more a moment of realising what art can do. HomeAKL the now infamous Pacific art exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki opened the night after our show, so our opening by coincidence had a really good turn out. Despite that great turn out I knew that no one would write about this work that …

Morning musings

It’s 8.46am on a Wednesday morning and I’m siting inside one of the new cafes that has popped up on Karangahape Road. I’m drinking a flat white because they don’t make mocha’s here. My breakfast is in my bag. I’m balling on a budget. There are two other people that are on their Mac Books. I make person number three. The furniture is that kind of Ikea-wooden-exposed-table-top type thing. The people coming inside are young and trendy looking. Next door is the new cookie place that sells American style cookies for $3.50 (the Snickers and Nutella are my favourite). The South Auckland girls that go to Auckland Girls’ Grammar are making tracks to school. From my seat I can see the rainbow flags above family bar. I remember my first time clubbing on K Road. Wasted, blurs of faces, lights and music that you feel vibrating in your body. Kebabs are the best at 4am. The Samoan consulate has moved to Mangere. I don’t see as many Pacific people go into the building anymore. Recently I …

Fleshbag at Skinroom

The essentialists are having a hard time of it these days. It began with Simone de Beauvoir and her assertion that Susan was of the female “persuasion”. Later Foucault did some archaeological digging to expose the fabricated nature of sexuality, and theorists like Judith Butler have carried on the torch to do with gender flexibility.   In art circles the spotlight gaze has been firmly turned around and trained on the viewer. Cindy Sherman is probably the quintessential artist who has done more than most to explore the issue of the chameleon nature of nature, the body, the role play of gender, and Fleshbag, a show currently running at Skinroom Gallery in Hamilton, continues that investigation. This is evident particularly in the work of LarzRanda/Mainard Larkin. With titles like I am who I am and Yesterday when I was younger, this transgender artist plays with the internet medium and the phenomenon of the selfie to probe the manipulation of image and identity using 1990’s graphics and digital devices to render the self as now male, now female, …

Greetings from Canada at RM Gallery

The phrase ‘time is of the essence’ is something I have difficulty understanding. I heard it a lot during my time at university. I understood this saying to typify western constructs of time, to signify the idea of time as the byproduct of all things. However, to my brown skin and my cosmic being I understand a different kind of time. The phrase ‘island time’ has always been important within my family. If a family function started at 12pm it would mean the function would start at 1pm real time. You might be thinking what does that even mean? Well, if something doesn’t feel right, then it will cease to occur, unless all the cosmos is succinct within oneself, and it is only then, things will begin. People might think island time is funny, stupid or unprofessional, but that’s not true. It is something beautiful that all Islanders will inevitably intuitively share with others (only when the time is right, I might add). It has been three weeks since I was asked to write a …

In conversation with Andrew Matautia

Andrew Matautia is a Wellington photographer who seeks to capture candid moments through his ethnographic photography practice. Born in Samoa, Andrew’s family migrated to New Zealand in 1988. Recently completing his Masters in Design Innovation at Victoria University School of Design, Andrew spends every moment observing and documenting the world around him. Georgie Johnson: How long have you been practicing photography, and what got you into it? Andrew Matautia: My father use to shoot on a Minolta SRT 101b back in the day, and he took that to every family and church gathering we ever attended, and I think that rubbed off on me throughout the years. So it has been something I have always been interested in, looking back at the things I have photographed I’ve just recently realised that I actually started shooting way back in 2007, taking photos for my brother’s wedding on a wee Sony Cyber-shot. I finally decided I would take it seriously in 2011 when I purchased my first DSLR. I just started teaching myself from there. G: Why photography? …

Inhabitation at Collective studio

Soft surface and depth in Watson’s Inhabitation Large paintings on both paper and canvas consist of smudgy yet subtle build ups of filmy translucent layers. Amanda Watson’s solo exhibition, Inhabitation showed from the 11-13th September in Collective studio and gallery, Hamilton. Using a dry brush to scuffle lightly across the surface of the works, the result is ambient and smokey, with shapes remaining soft and indistinct, but with depths of colour and shade existing within each form. Collective studio is a tucked away pearl within the growing art scene in Hamilton city. Situated up a narrow flight of stairs on Victoria street (above where Browsers bookstore was previously), is a beautiful old house repurposed as artist studios. Watson’s exhibition started within her studio spilling out into the foyer and hallways. Viewing her works within this communal studio space was inviting and homely, away from the antiseptic atmosphere of white cube galleries. Watson’s process consists of a preliminary background of ink, charcoal, and compressed pigment scribbled to give depth, followed by thin multiple layers of paint. …

Today as A Female

Over the past ten weeks I have conducted nine hour long interviews. The aim of the interviews has been to open up a conversation about what it is like to identify as a contemporary female today by documenting women in their homes and asking them a series of intimate questions Is there ever a time at home that you feel your gender influences your responsibilities? “Mostly at my boyfriends. I’ll probably end up cooking for both of us because he doesn’t cook, and I’m hungry. I’ll do all the cleaning up. He doesn’t make comments or anything like that, it’s more that sometimes I feel like I’m automatically put into a position where I have to do female roles because, he’s not going to do it for me. If I don’t end up doing it, then it’s not going to happen, sooo…” Do you like having your picture taken? “No. Unless it’s me and I have like a thousand practices before. I mean not really, I’m not like afraid of the camera, like if we …

Lonely Island at Te Tuhi

I have fond memories of filling up water bottles and stocking up on canned foods, batteries and first aid kits with my family. The ‘end of the world’ paranoia brought my family together and with it revealed the worlds futuristic anxieties. It was the year of the Y2K bug (also known as the Millennium bug). The fear was brought on by the media who stated the reason for the world ending being ‘the practice of using two-digit dates for convenience predates computers, but it was never a problem until stored dates were used in calculations’ (1). Technological life seemed to flourish soon after the four digits 1999 rolled over to 2000. It was a global relief that all bank machines and computers didn’t get wiped out and reset. Regular life continued. I remember on my first day back at intermediate school, everyone was talking about Jennifer Lopez’s green dress, from the 2000 Grammy Awards. Designed by Donatella Versace, it was described as “jungle green”, “sea green” or “tropical green’’ a green dress with touches of blue to …

Crystillizing Universes at Skinroom

A load of old bricks at suitably named Brickbat Bay and their historical significance prompted artist Ziggy Lever to think about some of the big questions: Time, memory and metaphysics. T S Eliot was thinking something of the same when he began writing the Four Quartets in 1935. Time present and time past Are both perhaps present in time future And time future contained in time past. The backstory for Lever is the site of what was once a thriving business; Amalgamated Brick and Pipe, a nineteenth century pottery factory that was later deliberately destroyed in the twentieth century when the company had depleted all he clay reserves in the area. The remains of the works, huge chunks of the kiln and other detritus were simply discarded, dumped on the beach and for the last 100 years the sea has gradually reclaimed them, becoming home to mangroves, crabs and molluscs. It gets one thinking. It got Levers wondering about subjectivity, perception and time. The rocks become, in the artist’s hand, reimagined as meteorites or asteroids, …