Te Waipounamu is the Māori name for the South Island. It also means greenstone. This exhibition explores the South Island, water, the nuances and numerous colours of greenstone.
Wayne Barrar’s remarkable photographs of Oamaru-found diatom fossils and single-celled algae take us into the world we cannot ordinarily see. He reveals a hidden world of abstracted patterns, where events are suggested and life presented as frozen in time. In his black and white landscape works, Barrar delivers moments of splendour and sublime beauty.
Ann Robinson’s Geometric Vase (Pale Uranium) is a masterwork. Space seems suspended, to hover. Colour alters completely, abruptly and – at times – seems to dissolve. Tone mutates back and forth. Shining Spleenwort – on the Faultline resolutely develops a fluid, rising, formal, visual narrative about the environment and threats faced.
Joanna Braithwaite’s Go for Gold poses numerous questions: is the endangered Otago skink more valuable to collectors than a nugget of gold? Is that rarity its ultimate burden? Jenna Packer sites the vanity of our times in the Otago landscape in two major works, Ringside and Strongman, presenting time travelling narratives with dramatic discourse concerning the morality and behaviours of the financial world.
Simon Edwards and Neil Frazer, in quite different ways, take us into the alpine landscape: Edwards to its moods and atmospheric fluctuations; Frazer to its physicality and menace. Galia Amsel evokes a season in Cirrus 3. Garry Currin’s Lilburn’s Retreat is a poetic layering of hidden reveals which acknowledges that great New Zealand composer’s South Island hideaway.
Israel Birch’s majestic, reverential Tai Aroha (Red) uses pattern and texture, building, hiding and revealing astonishing spatial depth, optical rhythms, spiritual and narrative complexity: it ebbs and flows, like water itself.
Of Ngāi Tahu descent, Chris Heaphy uses a distinctive silhouetting technique and symbolic language where scale is altered and time is collapsed. In From Beginning to End Heaphy presents cultural signifiers which become plural and general but remain particular and specific too.
John Edgar’s aptly-named Bomb uses the air-pocketed Mt Horrible basalt, spat out into South Canterbury when the volcano erupted and destroyed itself. Shane Woolridge’s A Drop of Water utilising slate from homes damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes is a triumph of form and motion captured. Neil Dawson remembers the earthquakes in the radiating patterns of the Pulse Disks.
Te Waipounamu also features major works by Dick Frizzell (Shaded Track); Layla Walter (Emily’s Hydrangea 2); Peter James Smith’s evocative Wind Across Dusky Bay; a suite of Stephen Bradbourne’s murine cane cylinders and vases along with Neal Palmer’s restrained, decisive West Coast II.