Art New Zealand

Art New Zealand Spring 2016 #159

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 Alex Monteith Shadow V Gow Langsford Gallery, 15 June–2 July EDWARD HANFLING This is an odd one. I like Alex Monteith’s sensibility-her taste for speed and thrills and bigness and intensity, and the way she channels this into her art, making videos that capture those qualities with a sense of directness and duration. She does not (usually) get too poetic or precious. Monteith offers entertainment in a concentrated, rigorous form, without the narrative contrivances of popular entertainment-she gives it to you straight-whisky neat rather than sugary soft drink. But her most recent exhibition does strike me as having some unnecessary frills. It is not that there is a whole lot in the show. The pièce de résistance is unquestionably the large video projection with mirror images of colossal crashing waves and retreating, sucking foam-footage…

angels of history and destiny

The door is half-open. I knock, and Jeffrey Harris appears down a narrow walkway in the otherwise completely full-up big space that is his main studio, in a former automotive workshop located near Dunedin’s old warehouse district. He leads the way through a warren of jumbled-up finished and half-finished paintings of all sizes, stacked or leaning, up the stairs to a small room at the end of the mezzanine that is his current painting studio. We begin talking about Renaissance Days, shown over summer at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, and I ask about the impulse for the exhibition. Jeffrey Harris: Three of the paintings in the show were in an exhibition I had at the Brett McDowell Gallery in Dunedin in March 2013. Cam McCracken, the then new director of…

exterior monologues inner visions

Exuberant, multi-layered, mercurial, this Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre-originated show is a sight to behold. The only disappointment about Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless Photograph is that it will not tour. The collective energy at the New Plymouth location deserves a greater wandering. As a child, my universe was slowly deconstructed. Through science experiments and through logic, the mysteries of the cosmos could be explained. But this did not mean magic was lost-instead, the invisible materialised and the microscopic became gigantic. Emanations is this sense of wonder manifest, sometimes playful, at other times foreboding. Curated by Geoffrey Batchen, noted international photographic historian and Professor of Art History at Victoria University of Wellington, with significant curatorial assistance from the Govett-Brewster’s Paul Brobbel and Sarah Wall, the show is the most comprehensive gathering…

artist activist affect alien

On 30 March, the New Zealand public stamped out Prime Minister John Key’s campaign to change the New Zealand flag. On 2 November 1995, an installation at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki by Diane Prince (Ngati Whatua, Nga Puhi), which invited visitors to the gallery to trample on the flag, was removed from the exhibition Korurangi: New Maori Art after complaints to the police and the threat of legal action. Despite sharing a lack of enthusiasm for the British ensign, two more contrasting characters than Key and Prince would be hard to find: one a mega-rich money trader and popular neo-liberal politician; the other a Maori activist and artist. And while (failed flag referendum apart) Key is perplexingly popular, Prince’s artwork angered many, provoking copious complaints, letters to…

i write in haste in near darkness

‘You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with . . . a perfect organism-its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility‘, Alien, 1979 In Autumn of this year, Auckland Art Gallery announced Karekare-based artist Joyce Campbell would be a finalist for the 2016 Walters Prize, a biennial award considered to be New Zealand’s most prestigious contemporary art award. The jury selected Campbell’s Flightdream, a 25-minute-long high-definition video, as an outstanding contribution to contemporary art made in the last two years. Although the work has been exhibited in Australia twice in the past year it was chosen based on its initial installation, when it was simply projected in the intimate upper space of Newton dealer gallery Two Rooms, in the Spring of 2015. When questioned about the prize, Campbell extolled her…

against permanence

I’ve had access to the internet since I was about 13 years old. I learned how to touch-type between searching for pictures of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Roswell on the World Wide Web. Printing carefully selected pictures of teen idols and then vigilantly pasting them on all of my exercise books and ring-binders was a frequent occurrence, not uncommon amongst my peers. Similarly, my bedroom was often covered in magazine and print clippings while the walls were decorated from floor to ceiling in posters. This analogue process was self-curated; a visual projection of what I believed to be an accurate collage of my personality traits and interests. Janet Lilo: Status Update, in title, pertains to both the current state of the artist herself and the very common practice of sharing…