Narratives about absence and presence, contrasts of the past and the present, dialogues of threat and celebration, exploration of myth and legend, place and atmosphere are everywhere evident in the ninth annual Royal Queenstown Easter Show.
Neil Dawson’s Reflections series wall sculptures are visual metaphors, where he (re)visits key works and subjects of his career, utilising the duality of shadow while placing important symbols and images – such as the renowned, fluid, Horizon work at the Gibbs Farm and the lyrical forms of the Akaroa (Ohae) landscape itself – into his characteristic domed form. In there, the formal architecture elements of a building are contrasted with his sculpted forms while all is repeated upside down and shown to be imperilled by the ever rising water levels of global warming.
Te Rongo Kirkwood’s traditional warrior cloak form of Nga Tuaitara o Taiheku (Black & Red) combines glass, harakeke (flax) and light, while collapsing layers of time and space into entwined memories and consciousness.
Internationally acclaimed, Lisa Reihana’s monumental Sex Trade / Gift for Banks …. traverses cultures, time and places, while examining the legacy of Cook’s three voyages into the Pacific with a contemporary sensibility. Likewise Flogging reminds us not simply of how much Cook changed over time but that every contact and all behaviours had real consequences.
Terry Stinger’s That Certain Smile is a shape-shifting masterwork that is ceaselessly transforming, morphing between fact and fiction, across dream and into imagination. Two hands clasp and wondrously intimate allusions of figures and faces emerge, where the mysteriousness of an unexplained smile beguiles.
Joanna Braithwaite’s trademark use of humour, contradiction and pathos in Slippery Slope reveals a multi-layered present and alarming future. Hannah Kidd’s Tropical Invasion sculptures tell a different tale, where our native bush is infested now with imported plants and birds. Layla Walter’s ghostly, haunting Kokaho#10, Nigel Brown’s Korimako and Tania Patterson’s sculptures use native birds as messengers.
Neil Frazer paints the alpine landscape as if sculptures, Simon Edwards stands further back, harnessing the mutations of light, distance and atmospheric effect, while Dick Frizzell reveals pattern in the farmed landscape.
The Royal Queenstown Easter Show also includes key sculpture by Shane Woolridge and Graham Bennett, and Hannah Beehre takes us into space and the endlessness of a clear night sky.