Fauna looks at the animal and human life of our place in the world.
Dick Frizzell takes us to Lake Virginia, Wanganui in Down by the Lake (1985) where a nude man carouses with swans: then to the graphic routines and rituals of Bedtime (2008) and on to the rural symbolism of road signs in Horseshit (2015). Joanna Braithwaite, characteristically imbuing animals with human attributes reminds us of the great peril of our time. In Human Animal (2017) and Biosphere Crisis (2015) Nigel Brown poignantly pleas for action beyond mere words. Tania Patterson and Paul Dibble, wise to the beauty and spiritual symbolism of our native birds, let stories be told.
Chris Heaphy uses the alluring allegories of birds, flowers, and silhouetted vignettes in a conversation about culture, identity and time. Neil Dawson places single feathers as signifiers of beauty and iridescence that become metaphors of what we value. Andrew McLeod links the myth of mermaids, Italian Renaissance and sea life with a sense of order in the universe. Terry Stringer’s classicism, morphing figures and portions of faces and bodies move back and forth between spiritual discourse and celebration of the human condition.
Andy Leleisi’uao constructs visual parables where animals have human faces, seahorses are carried on poles, where signs and symbols populate the environment and are being carried about, where the rituals of ceaseless work are seen. Jenna Packer conflates the body-building vanity and the New York stock market symbolism of the iconic bull into a narrative about what is at risk and is being lost as we pray to the demigod of money. Michael Hight, playing about with scale and the language of objects builds contrasts and visual tensions, using memory and the disorder of dreams as story-telling devices and components.
Chris Charteris seeks the spiritual and emblematic in stone. Lisa Reihana in Cook’s Folly (2017) revisits Cook’s voyages in the Pacific. In PELT – Sabino (2010) and PELT – Pilosus (2016) Reihana using the plumage of ostrich feathers blends animal and human together in a secular fiction, part utopia part dystopia that whisks myth and a possible future together.
Robert Jahnke in Nga Manu a Maui: The Birds of Maui (2009-12) using the ubiquitous pattern of the sighting scope of a gun, stencilled text and silhouetted shapes builds a deeply nuanced lament about what we have done. Neil Adcock using pounamu unites the stylised language of the tiki form with the occlusions of pounamu. Landscapes are built, distinct personalities evoked.