Posts Tagged ‘Smitherman’

Down at my local

I had some time to stop by the Mahara Gallery again yesterday to see their new shows. I was lucky to have a quick chat to Director Janet Bayly and also to tag along on a curators talk they were giving.

At the moment they have RAY (Real Art Youth) which is work made following the recent visit of the Real Art Road showto the regions schools which kicked off at the gallery. Only a few of the works were from direct inspiration, but the floortalk pointed out a few more that had links to artworks that were “in the truck”. Although a lot of it is what you’d expect from a high school art show, there were some very ‘sophisicated’ pieces amongst it from the students (a few of the teachers works were also included). One thing I thought was great was that the gallery had framed up some works which really gave them a whole different look – a valuable exercise for the students and actually to the viewer as well, making me think about the value and process of ‘framing’. The art also made me wonder about where these kids will end up after school and whether I should “buy now” from some very promising talents. I was surprised that there wasn’t more ‘edgey” stuff but maybe taggers and/or bombers don’t take high school art or perhaps what they produce doesn’t end up on gallery walls. There were some that looked very much like Jacqueline Fahey’s skatepark and ‘Bringing it Home’ series – but that was just my interpretation. So how many of these artists will go on to art school (or not) and become the future of NZ art??

Tradgedy Outside the Dairy II From Bringing it Home, 2003

Also on show were new works by Neville Smitheram now residing in the Horowhenua. These mostly paper works of encaustic and acrylic were fantastic. Geometric, digital – but an analogue take on it and something quite ethereal about the waxed paper. I imagine this type of work is quite challenging to gallery regulars but I feel its great to see work like this in the mix.

Lastly was what I would call ‘outsider art” which could be easily dismissed. Local artist (and builder) Rhys Collier had a short film “My Dreams are Death” and assemblage pieces on show. I was kind of repulsed but drawn to a work, “Burnt” which consisted of burnt wooden boards, bloodied foot prints and a highly lacquered red (bloody) fibrous mass. I would have happily taken this home (although it would not have got a good reception). I used to work in a healthcare field and can say this is a truly visceral artwork and ‘spot on’. In my view, Colliers other works didn’t compare.

The Mahara has been described as “the little public gallery that could” although it faces challenges with location and the building. However, some significant shows continue to be mounted here that acknowledge and perhaps are more suited to the intimate spaces.

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