Art New Zealand

Art New Zealand No 156 Summer 2015

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



Auckland Seung Yul Oh HaaPoom Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, 29 August–8 NovemberEDWARD HANFLING It is difficult to find writing about Seung Yul Oh that does not include the word ‘playful’. Te Uru’s director, Andrew Clifford, uses ‘playful’ twice and ‘play’ once over the course of seven paragraphs in the catalogue for Oh’s show, HaaPoom, and I will have exceeded those iterations before I have finished writing this review. But my point is that Oh’s work is not playful, or not simply so. Oh moved to New Zealand from South Korea in 2003, and graduated Elam in 2005, quickly attracting attention particularly for his glossy cartoonish sculptures. Last year the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and City Gallery Wellington staged MOAMOA, a survey of the first ten years of his career. Clifford has sensibly developed…

meditations on materiality an interview with marté szirmay

Marté Szirmay: I don’t know any other home. The 1956 freedom fighters-my father was one-could never go back. A whole generation of Hungarian young men got exterminated. They either escaped or were killed. What’s going on now with the refugees-to me, it’s a nightmare. So I came here as a relatively traumatised youngster. My parents’ aim was to assimilate: live in peace; learn the language; not to say ‘I’m different from you, and I demand that . . . ’-no. My mum worked several jobs, so did my dad; we rarely saw the two of them together. They began again from nothing. Three kids, two adults, £15 that the Red Cross put in my dad’s bag, and the clothes we stood up in. To talk about home: in 1999, when…

plant selection recent work by pamela wolfe

For the best part of two decades Pamela Wolfe has focused her artistry on the painterly richness and metaphorical potential of plants, paying tribute to a long tradition of flower painting while seeking to express her subjects in a new and contemporary manner. Although her latest offerings bear little stylistic resemblance to her early works, the level of focus, interest, and assiduity has not diminished. Wolfe is a consummate forager, collector, and presenter of botanical goods. The composition of every piece is the result of her skill in carefully arranging the specimens, examining and photographing them from a variety of angles, and then transporting them onto canvas or paper. When the painting process extends beyond the life of the flowers, Wolfe uses the photographs for reference points. The results are undeniably…

status of the land recent paintings by emily karaka

Settlement, as Emily Karaka proves in Settlement, an exhibition of 15 large paintings at Orexart Gallery in Auckland in July and August 2015, is a loaded word. Her paintings function as a form of archaeological fieldwork, revealing a hitherto concealed history. She is a radical painter in the sense of returning to roots and showing them as blitzed, zapped and blighted, with landscapes turned into contestable territories, zones of conflict; and then those landscapes regenerating, blossoming-albeit mutated, metamorphosed, chromatically complex. In New Zealand art terms, we think of the landscape paintings of Peter Siddell and others as showing the Auckland isthmus as quiescent, benign, ‘settled’, suburban. This ‘settlement’ is the legacy of the Arcadian visions, of the surveys and topographical depictions, of nineteenth-century painters. Karaka’s paintings challenge that calm ordering-the varnished…

body moving arie hellendoorn’s electro-animist op-art

Netherlands-born painter Arie Hellendoorn lives and works in a quiet, semi-industrial part of the Hutt Valley,in a house that was once a railway cottage, the perfect base for an artist who works with his hands and deals in the business of movement. Such quaint imagery is, however, at odds with the unseen reality overlapping this one, of a much larger scale and ambitious character: Hellendoorn is an increasingly Australasian presence who now straddles the Tasman, represented in both Wellington and Sydney, with a growing reputation and subsequent demand that allows him to sell out shows. This combination of the intimate and the worldly is to be expected from an artist given to conflating the microscopic and the macrocosmic, a conundrum of scale he keenly explores through that playground of ambiguity, the human…

image/world recent work by andrew beck

On first encounter, Andrew Beck’s works are striking for their formal precision. Carefully handled and finely attuned to textural effects, restricted to black and white (and the grey tonal range between), each assemblage manifests a palpable intensity, as if eye, hand and mind have worked in unison. Works are presented singly as framed objects, as pairs and series, and as multi-part sequences arranged in careful relation to their architectural settings. They occupy space commandingly both because of their individual visual impact and because of their subtly contingent relation to their surroundings. Each operates as a rebus or puzzle that the eye firstly has to take in and then the mind unravels. Take Shadow Redux (2015), a framed black-and-white rectangular composition just over a metre high and a little less wide. This…