Callum Arnold journeys into Otago and down into the Catlins, using atmospheric overlays to introduce items of memory upon and into the pictorial convention of a landscape. He uses glimpse and reflection, positions roads, trees and signposts where they could not be and in this way is subverting what we see and how we see. He builds sensations which we recognise as akin to travelling into the landscape and viewing it from the inside of a car. Was that seen or just supposed and felt? Jenna Packer also traverses the improbable and impossible, building parable and myth out of contrast and contradiction. Waka, hot air balloons, dragonflies, sailing ships and planes from WW1 and WW2 meet along the Otago coast. Time is manipulated and collapsed; obsessive stories emerge in which the history of technology, exploration and journey reaches from pre-history through colonial contact into the maelstroms of war, and now.
Tony Bishop builds interpretations of the Southland landscape through repetitive patterns and stylised rhythmic devices in which the mundane tasks and daily events of the farmed environment are elevated, and examined. He helps us see what is actually happening; how use is recreating landscape. Geoffrey Notman looks to the edges and finds amongst the detritus of our leisure and hidden behaviours a cultural dynamic comprised of pieces and bits.
Simon Edwards takes us for a walk in the park and masterfully dissolves the spaces between almost everything. He makes us feel the haze coming; as it eats up what we think we can see. Evelyn Dunstan implies the landscape by establishing narratives of the environmental threats facing our forests and trees. Her critically acclaimed and remarkable cast glass pushes the absolute boundary of what is possible in that medium and technique. Rebecca Harris is likewise concerned with the botanical pests that clot our environments and how they impact on us. She builds a metaphor about identity through portraiture. The altering – as in rising – scale of Neil Dawson cone-form Golden Oak Leaves and Blue Birds sculptures use internal light to propel shadows outside the work and in this way a dialogue emerges about flora and fauna.
Do we read the landscape and its stories? Or just dream it? If we dream it, does it then matter if it was real or not? Is an invention, no matter how improbable, able to exist with the same weight as something we accept as fact? Questions such as these concern writers and artists alike and in the Winter Show are asked, answered and revealed in numerous ways.