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Pataka

I managed a flying visit to Pataka in Porirua today. It wasn’t meant to be so quick but I got a phone call just as I arrived about something that needed my attention back up the coast.

I love the name “Pataka” and think it quite fitting for a gallery, even though I don’t think they have a permanent collection as such (although they have a Tuffery Bull and several of his large wood carvings).

As usual there was a lot to see. The photographs by Desiree Dolron of Cuba – Te di Todos mis Suenos (I give you all my dreams) were extremely impressive. The large format camera, long exposures, some computer ‘tweaking’ and exceptional reproduction technique resulted in images I felt I could almost walk into. The interiors were best in my opinion and captured something of the decaying past of Havana. The images on the web simply don’t do them justice.

Ricky Maynard’s photography has been well described elsewhere (and with more depth than I can give). I liked the Moonbird People series. Perhaps they resonated with my own connections to the Muttonbirders of the TiTi Islands in the South of New Zealand. Of these, my favourite was a photo called “The Mission”, but again I have no language to explain why. The close up portraits of the Wik elders were quite stunning too.

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Custodians (2005) Ricky Maynard

Finally there were the drawings of Joanna Margaret Paul “Subjects to Hand” (those damn hands again). I feel I should like Paul’s work, but I found much of it insipid, although there were some striking pieces eg Untitled (rose and violet torso) c1982 which features on the cover of the accompanying book. Unfortunately I had to rush off because the highlight of my whole visit today was a circular painting by Paul – “Jerusalem” which I immediately recognised as the accommodation in the old convent up the river. The gallery area where the painting was, was titled “the colourist” (or something) and I wasn’t sure if it was part of the touring exhibition or not. I have emailed the gallery to ask for further details, but the picture it was in a similar style to Paul’s “Inventories” paintings from 1977. For me it was like peering into a familiar room “through a looking glass”.

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Joanna Margaret Paul on the road to Jerusalem, 2002
Photographed by Peter Harrison

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