All posts filed under: Reviews

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 …

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. …

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, …

Breathing in Beijing at Wallace Gallery

The world of residencies is a curious thing. The old saying, a change is as good as a rest probably operates here, but it’s become, it seems, something more than that these days. It’s morphed into a career move, the must have for all aspiring artists making their convoluted way inside the mysterious arena of professional advancement in the art business. China seems to have become the “it” place to be. One can speculate about why that is the case. Is it the attraction of the strange and slightly exotic, the challenge of that which is foreign, unorthodox, transgressive, the other? Or is it something to do with being on site of an emerging new world power and witnessing culture in major social ferment, change and flux? Whatever it is, it has attracted a growing number of New Zealand artists in recent years, one of whom is Bevan Shaw, freshly returned from a residency near Beijing. He was domiciled in a small town just out from the big city on the north-eastern outskirts, a place …

Waiver Flash Deviate at Eastern Art Express

waiver · flash · deviate took place on the inaugural Eastern Art Express – a free bus service to Malcolm Smith Gallery in Howick and Te Tuhi in Pakuranga, departing opposite Artspace on Karangahape Road, Tāmaki Makaurau. Bridget Riggir-Cuddy and Taarati Taiaroa commissioned three new works from artists Hana Pera Aoake, Matilda Fraser and Olivia Blyth to take place throughout the journey. The following is an account of the event from one of the passengers who took part in the journey. I drove to catch this bus Wearing a red jersey. Late, feeling anxious Only wanting to sleep   The last on I make my way down to the back where I spot a familiar face and say some breathless hellos before being instructed to put on the blindfolds we were greeted with as we boarded.(1) It was a hot winters day and the prospect of working up a sweat making idle sightless conversation amongst that small crowd had me move away to an empty seat. People don’t stop talking. Within earshot they’re musing as …

Creep!!! at Skinroom

Fear and Loathing Creep!!! at Skinroom came about from a casual conversation between two artists; Abigail Jensen and Eliza Webster — the director of Skinroom Gallery. Eliza had been receiving borderline stalker texts from a man, and the two stumbled across his page online, listed on FetLife.com, a social media platform like Facebook, but kinky. Aside from his continued unwelcome advances, they found themselves finding out more intimate details about his life and personal preferences than they ever wanted to know. Jokingly, they laughed about making an exhibition about this experience: Creep!!!  Centred around creepiness, unsolicited attention from men, and general undesirable smut, their works follow this theme. Although most works in the exhibition are flat works on paper or board, there are several installation pieces. In the first room, a yellow sheet of plastic cut with metal stud punches and rings hangs. Translucent and thin like stretched, pierced skin, this work by Jensen recalls Eva Hesse’s latex and canvas hung works. In the second room, Webster installed a dentist chair from the 60s, the …

Emanations at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery

The Art of the Cameraless Photograph. Ask a few people what a cameraless photograph is, and you’ll most likely be met with blank stares. Our experience of photography is manifestly entwined with the camera, the lens, and the act of looking through a device to see what is out there. The notion of a photograph made without a camera seems paradoxical. But the camera is ultimately a tool which causes light to fall on a light sensitive surface in a particular way – and if we remove the camera from the equation, what remains is the interplay of light, surface, and time. These are fundamentals every photographer engages with in the production of work. Yet on their own, they challenge our understanding of what photography is, or might be. Emanations at the Govett-Brewster has a breadth of material that will appeal to the photographic community and a general gallery audience alike. There is a wide scope of national and international practitioners, historic and contemporary work, and the variety of aesthetic and conceptual investigations afforded by …

Blonde Maiden series 2016 at ALL GOODS

When I was young, up to 14 we were still walking around with our skirts and with no tops, we went to school and the only time we wore tops or a whole dress was when we went to church but at my age we were still running around topless and there was nothing wrong with that. We went to Samoa college and I remember one guy said come and look at our photos and we went to his house and his father had all these nude paintings of girls just in their skirts going to school and it made me think ‘oh’, it made me feel it’s dirty and I realised, I said ‘are we doing the wrong thing?’ But then it made me really angry. Interview with Pusi Urale, 2013 (1) Pinks, peaches, yellows, blues and whites blend together in the 10 paintings of the Palagi female figure. Blonde Maiden, a solo exhibition by Pusi Vaele Urale, forefronts societal norms of beauty and measure. I heard grumblings from fellow visitors to the gallery …