Posts Tagged ‘Cauchi’

A recent post from Peter Peryer along with my visit to the Wayne Barrar show at DPAG, has got me thinking again about the nature of photography as art.

In my own mind photography is art. Hanging about in a gallery stock room today with Laurence Aberhart and Ben Cauchi works just reiterated this to me. Peryer’s work is certainly art.

So why do I have more trouble in the equally as beautiful photos of Ans Westra and some of  Wayne Barrar‘s work? I see these as a possibly a cross into documentary and photo journalism. Marti Friedlander perhaps spans this? Perhaps there is no difference at all.

My reaction to art is often emotional. Photography as an art form is the perfect illustration of art being a way of seeing the world through another’s eyes.  Maybe my issue with more documentary type photos is that it is just what my eye might see, the more artistic photography is something I might never see for myself…I am not sure if that makes any sense. Also all the artists I have mentioned have a great range and there is no defining them really.

I was thinking about Anne Noble’s “In the Presence of Angels” series last week too. I like the blurring of definitions and realities there. Maybe this series appeals because in my loud and busy life, the apparent calm and simple quiet of the convent seems very desirable.

Anne Noble. The Walled Garden of the Enclosure. 1989. silver gelatin print

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A Kind of Blue

I have thought long and hard before writing a post about this exhibition (Kind of Blue: new acquisitions and loans). You see I don’t ‘get’ art sometimes, or don’t get the nuances anyway and this exhibition has me stumped even though I have visited three times.

The DPAG spiel on this exhibition says “Over recent years the Dunedin Public Art Gallery has been strategically collecting, through acquisition as well as loans, a number of significant artworks by a range of contemporary artists from New Zealand and overseas. Kind of Blue provides an opportunity for a select group of these stunning photographs, sculptures and paintings by a range of emerging and established artists to be exhibited together for the first time.

This small selection (only 19 works) appears to be made up from the gallery’s collection and the Barr loan collection. I was very keenly looking forward to it after my contemporary art revelation of 2008 at Reboot at the City Gallery, Wellington. It was a mixed bag and I was a bit confused by the labelling/layout in the catalogue (no labelling in the actual gallery). Like I said though, I don’t ‘get’ things sometimes. I very much like Ben Cauchi’s photos and it was interesting to see  Yvonne Todd’s Founding CEO, 2008 which I thought might have been from the Wall of Man series but is dated earlier. A touch of lightness (but yet…not) was found in Campbell Patterson’s Lifting my mother for as long as I can series. The highlight for me was seeing in person the Peter Robinson polystyrene works. I have seen lots of photos online but to see them in person was amazing. Measure of disorder with its delicate chain links was wonderful, but oddly rearranged the second time I visited – although for the better.

At the floor talk I attended for reboot, Jim Barr talked a bit about Martin Creed’s work 88 so I was excited to see that too. Visit one – couldn’t find it and dumb old me couldn’t work out the blurry photo where I expected the Creed work to be (it turns out the photo was part of  Roman Signer’s Fireman’s glove with photograph). On my second visit, I damn near stepped on  Work 88: A sheet of A4 paper crumpled into a ball as it sat on the floor, albeit with a large DO NOT REMOVE sign beside it. Today, the ball of paper was there, with no sign. I am very suspicious though, as it looked nothing like the ball of paper from last week. Yeah ok I am nit-picking, but I found it disturbing.

 Work No. 88: A sheet of A4 paper crumpled into a ball
1995 – 2008, Paper, Approx. 5 cm diam
Unlimited edition
(Image from Martin Creed website)

For me , the catalogue hits the nail on the head with “it is difficult to discern what they [the artists] represent or are contemplating as a group“. I liked individual works, but as a group “they are only remarkable for their aloofness“.

The catalogue also says “there is a distinct coolness to the works” and I am thinking perhaps they were going for a gloomy atmosphere as they say the works address “aspects of absence, melancholy, loss“.  The show is dedicated to artist Julian Daspher who died in July 2009, so I guess that is fitting.

My plan is to go to the floortalk with Jim Barr and Mary Barr on 11th October (3pm) in hope of further clarification.

A Kind of Blue at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery runs from 29 August to 6 December 2009.

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Facing Mortality

Various circumstances have led me to think quite a bit about mortality lately, but rather than facing it, it has been more of a quick glance in that general direction. I guess it hit with a bump when I realised that ukulele playing will be out of the question – at least for a while, or until someone comes up with a nice metal finger tip like Ada’s.

I recall the Anne Noble exhibition “States of Grace” and how disturbing my partner found the images of her recently deceased father. I thought the whole show very moving. Just illustrates how images impact differently. Along these lines I was going to ask some artist if they could make something out of my current journey and the likely impending loss of a finger. When I visited David Cauchi, he showed me drawings of hands and said “because, you know, your hand is always there” and I thought at the time “well maybe not all of it”. So this would be pretty gross to some, as would another friendly suggestion involving bone jewellery.

So I’ve been looking for other art involving loss and trying not to look at that involving death, but all roads seem to lead to Rome. I am hoping to get back to Te Manawa before we leave the region and look what’s on there, “Dispelling the Myth”. This thought provoking exhibition considers various attitudes towards dying and death” . Thankfully the also have  “Solid Gold: Classic Hits from the Rutherford Trust Collection”,  which includes a Clairmont I want to see – especially since I didn’t get to look at the blue self portrait at the Art+Auction preview in Wellington – and those wonderful Fomisons. I suppose if you are looking at mortality in art, Fomison would do the trick and maybe this one especially for me right now.

Study of hands on page 235 of “Roxburgh’s Common Skin Diseases” 12th edition 1961 (#51)

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Ghosts in the machine

I have had an eventful Sunday. I started off feeling rather glum and not just about the election (although I am a bit scared as to what will happen now). However it was a beautiful day and I’d arranged to visit the studio of David Cauchi.

Now, I don’t hang about with artists much but I am always a bit in awe of their energy and knowledge. I have liked what I’ve seen of David’s work online and it was great to view it in person. I was impressed with how it has progressed over time too. His initial sketch book was incredible and I was particularly drawn to his portrait series. I am inspired to search out Picabia’s work and look forward to seeing more of David’s. A pity he has no dealer in Wellington (although maybe that’s part of plan?). Also, time spent drinking tea and talking art is good for the soul – and you have to admire someone who plays music from their laptop via a valve amp (well I do, being a valve freak)!

Part two of my day was seeing “Rain of the Children” at the Paramount. I was the only one in the theatre which was special considering it’s the first time I’ve been to the movies in 6 years. This is a very moving film and I’d highly recommend any one see it. Vincent Ward seemed clumsy and pushy at times but you could tell he was working from his heart. I guess in the back of my mind was the question as to why a pakeha was telling this story – but then maybe only an ‘outsider’ could?

Te Kooti’s War Flag

So after that I wandered over to Te Papa because I recalled some time ago they had Te Kooti’s flag on display and I thought maybe there would be something there from Rua Kenana, but no.

Finally I have to confess to something I’ve never done before. At Te Papa , I cried in front of a painting. I won’t say which one though because I am that predicable. I think I’ll just put it down to hormones though.

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Rita, Rita, Rita….

You can’t go anywhere in the NZ art world right now without running into her and today I found out (rather late in the piece) about the Rita Angus Symposium this weekend at Te Papa. I am now scheming to try and get there but the logistics are tricky and does being a housewife count as “unwaged”? This is something I would really like to get to!

Self-Portrait at Clifton (circa 1945)

In weekend news, I travelled to Palmerston North (otherwise known as ‘the vortex’) on Sunday. Unfortunately I missed the opening of David Cauchi’s Cauchikunst at Thermostat which was on Saturday and runs until 25th September, but I did manage to meet up with the delightful Helen (of swapsie goodness). All in all I am not quite so daunted at the prospect of possibily moving there now. I also have it on good authority that Mao in George Street make excellent Shanghai style dumplings.

I have also been assured on several fronts that learning to skateboard and/or surf before I am 40 may not be ridiculously out of the question. However with the Large Hadron Collider firing up this week – I may not need to worry. As jaymam over at Poneke’s blog observed

“Today in 1985 “The Quiet Earth” starring Bruno Lawrence was shown at the Toronto Film Festival.

A man wakes up to find himself alone in the world, and goes about trying to find other survivors, as well as to find out what happened. He suspects that a government research project he was involved in had something to do with the disappearance of everyone.”

Paranoid? – not me!

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An odd Saturday, one played out to the theme of Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life“, (although I much prefer “Passenger“). Still it prompted me to think of the quote from Trainspotting, “Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career…” Click here for the rest of this excellent rant.

Oddly I don’t remember choosing or signing up for the suburbs, yet here I am with 3 kids in a street of beige 1970’s split levels. :-)

Choose Life by Marie Oudkerk

So to cheer myself up I splashed out and bought another older Landfall (207) from a great, yet somewhat expensive, second hand book store a few blocks away. I am behind the times as this copy is from 2004, but it contains some amazing items.

For example, James Brown writes Communities are made up of stories and literary communities are no exception. In New Zealand everybody has a James K. Baxter story or a Denis Glover story or an Alan Brunton story, just as everybody in Montreal has a Leonard Cohen story. This then is my Allen Curnow story.”

Which is funny because recently I heard two more Allen Curnow stories and while I’ve been doing this blog I have had very generous correspondences with several artists and writers (correspondence being the subject of Brown’s piece).

Peter Wells also writes of when the Listener stood for something and the arts and books editor held reputations in his hands as “a power broker, a gatekeeper, and in a very important position in the New Zealand arts“. I do wonder that this magazine carries any such weight these days – actually I doubt it (but I am happy to be corrected).

In other news Dave Cauchi says the NZ art scene is too cosy – “a nice comfy chair and cup of milky milo.” which has got me thinking…

And Peter Peryer’s wonderful blog is just making me too homesick for Central Otago – even with the -10 C frosts.

Oh – and just as a random piece of information, I actually can hypnotise chickens you know.

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