Art & Architecture
Art New Zealand

Art New Zealand

Winter 2020

New Zealand’s most respected and widely-read visual arts magazine, Art New Zealand presents an independent quarterly round-up of the visual arts in New Zealand, by the country’s best art writers.

New Zealand
Art New Zealand 2009 Ltd
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4 Issues

in this issue

11 min.

Auckland Billy McQueen Archive 02 Föenander Gallery 5–25 March KYLA MACKENZIE This, Billy McQueen’s third solo exhibition, stems from his family archive of photographs and follows on from Archive at Antoinette Godkin Gallery in 2018. McQueen (Ngati Manawa), a former print technician, graduated in 2015 with a MFA at Elam School of Fine Arts. With the memory of printmaking, he developed a cohesive, distinctive muted palette, a tendency towards textured, layered surfaces, indeterminate figuration, and abstract imagery. This show signals McQueen’s move towards a brighter palette and greater viscosity. Pale paintings like L.McGreggor reflect his earlier use of muted tones, while in several other canvases thickly applied heightened colour literally overlaps this earlier, more sparing impulse. The artist’s subjects do not just serve as pictorial armature for plastic experiment; they reference family and…

16 min.
the body in the work

Séraphine Pick’s paintings represent heightened states of consciousness and uneasy conditions of unconsciousness. The overriding impression is one of transformation. She translates the experiences of revellers and ravers―intoxicated, euphoric, mesmerised―and of intrepid explorers of technologically enhanced landscapes and forms of communication. Her own work can be characterised in terms of rapid changes, between different styles and structures, and unsettling disruptions, exerted on images and on the sensibilities of viewers. Pick studied at the Canterbury School of Fine Arts in Christchurch, graduating in 1987, and gained recognition initially for her ‘white paintings’ of the 1990s, with floating images of fragmentary memories. Increasingly intricately surreal dreamscapes followed, but Pick has also, since the early 2000s, worked with source images that evince the weirdness of everyday realities, or at least of the mediated…

9 min.
imogen taylor’s fragments

Sappho’s poems have come down to us from Greek literature as teasing fragments, her verses only preserved for posterity through being quoted in classical texts by other authors, or else unearthed as stray lines and phrases on shards of pottery and pieces of papyrus from archaeological digs. With their glimpses of rapture and yearning, their lyrical imagery, and their assertive themes of relationships and friendships between women, Sappho’s recovered writings―the Sapphic fragments―have become canonical in women’s studies, feminist politics and queer theory. Aucklander Imogen Taylor―who has established a reputation as a riot grrrl, one able to produce witty comix and to wrangle paint with adroit flair and deadpan comedy―was awarded the 2019 Frances Hodgkins Fellowship at Otago University, and Sapphic Fragments marked the end of her Fellowship year. In this exhibition, painting…

10 min.
tubular welds

We (I say presumptuously on behalf of those who take a keen interest in contemporary art) expect to be surprised, not see the same thing over and over. Yet sometimes we go to an exhibition by a particular artist precisely because we dimly expect to get the same thrill we got last time we saw their work. I confess to being disappointed at the first sight of Yona Lee’s new show at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery (DPAG), an outcome of the Visiting Artist Programme the gallery runs in conjunction with the Dunedin School of Art. I knew, and liked, her previous work, such as the In Transit (Arrival) installation she put together for Te Tuhi in 2017, and looked forward to the arrival of a similar and new manifestation…

10 min.
a space in between

The Lighthouse was then a silvery, misty-looking tower with a yellow eye that opened suddenly and softly in the evening. Now― James looked at the Lighthouse. He could see the whitewashed rocks; the tower, stark and straight; he could see that it was barred with black and white; he could see windows in it; he could even see washing spread on the rocks to dry. So that was the Lighthouse was it? No the other was also the Lighthouse. For nothing was simply one thing. The other was the Lighthouse too. VIRGINIA WOOLF1 Alongside my encounters with Zac Langdon-Pole’s recent work—investigations into histories, materials, people, processes and the workings of perception—is a distant, more shadowy memory of a pleasant feeling, accompanied by other feelings, more subterranean . . . and distinctly more unsettling.…

8 min.
but not sad

Milli Jannides’ recent exhibition, Sympathy Activity at Mossman, Wellington, is a dissonant collection of works painted over the course of 2019 from the artist’s base in Portugal. Across 14 variously sized paintings, intensity rises and mutes, colours and surfaces shift, matte opacity appears against faintly shiny ridges of oil paint. To view the show collectively impels questioning of logic and meanings, sources and references. Most of all, we are drawn in by the idiosyncrasies of each work, into the individual world it opens. Given the unravelling of a global pandemic, the idea of being physically in an art exhibition feels remote at present. Our modes of viewing are certainly different. The uncertainties extending from this meet with something latent in Sympathy Activity. A strange breadth in the show is evident regardless…