New York-based Lorene Taurerewa forges a remarkable, unnerving, connection between the traditions of portraiture and the psycho-drama of the sitter. Central to her work is the psychology of the subject and around this is built a world of unease. Contradictions abound – in Inherited Bodies 3 (2005) the figure is monumental, the gaze disarmingly certain yet indirect, a bird is softly held up by fingers but then silence arises, time becomes arrested and we enter the dissolves and depths of human nature.
Elizabeth Rees in Just Now (1997) explores the relationship between the body, mind and environment in which we exist. The palette for the figure and the landscape are one and the same – a metaphor is built, profound feelings of isolation and apprehension emerge right alongside the paradoxes of motivation and (in)decision.
Stone Mansion (2009/10) is both familiar and strange – where are we, what year is this, why are these men smiling as if they know something we don’t? Gary Waldrom provides a fragment of an unspecified narrative, suggesting something portentous is about to happen or already has. He imbues his works with a dream-state, peopling them with personalities and characters who are not to be trusted. Part-fact, part-fiction, “Stone Mansion” exists in the chasms of dream and the absurdities of personality.
The Secret Strength of Things (2012) is the largest landscape work completed to date by Simon Edwards. It shows him (once again) to be a master of layering surfaces so that “forms revealed as being as vaporous and ephemeral as the air itself, and the work a play with the sublime, the atmospheric effects of nature able to reflect and inspire imagination.” (1)
Black Pearl (2010) is a marvellously ambiguous, breath-taking work. Lorraine Rastorfer’s pioneering, distinctive technique of layering and combing paint results in shimmering textures, charged atmospheres, complexity of movement, gestural weaving and beautiful tonal variations. It’s as if we are witnessing a phenomenon – is it cloth flying or an aurora? Is that a landscape below?
Reuben Paterson’s Whakapapa – Get down on your knees (reconfigured) (2009) was first shown in the 6th Asia Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane and then again in the Bottled Lightning survey exhibition at the Gus Fisher Gallery, University of Auckland, 2012. It combines – in Paterson’s now mature, characteristic manner – geometric, weaving and carving patterns, fabric designs with dialogues about the passages of time and genealogy. This major work has plural realities and uses the chromatic qualities of glitter with remarkable authority.
Ian Scott’s Lattice Series is one of the most profound and important on-going series of abstract works in NZ art. In Lattice No. 249 (2013) Scott establishes optical illusions of depth and space with defined fields of colour, building contradictions and visual tensions with diagonal bands that weave over and under.
1. Mark Amery, Cantabrians building on the Past, Dominion Post, 2007