Be it with textured paint, fantastical creatures or glitter surfaces, Peata Larkin, Andy Leleisi’uao and Reuben Paterson are young artists who continue to build upon and develop their art visually and conceptually.
Peata Larkin further develops her own visual language of geometric pattern and colour, using paint, mesh and plexiglass together to create a series of tightly coherent works that have a complex physical identity. Patterns seem to float in space and shadows appear on the walls, and the plexiglass enhances these effects by brightening the surface. Larkin has successfully united her unique painting practice and her on-going interest in light to create works that are meticulously realised in both their aesthetic appeal and their consideration of ideas. Referencing Tuhourangi symbolism and traditional Maori weaving patterns as well as the coded digital data that underpins modern communications, Larkin reconfigures the ways in which narratives, histories and information are mediated.
Populated by rainbow-headed people and Bosch-like beasts, Andy Leleisi’uao has created worlds full of purposeful industry, but conceals the driving force behind their toil. Teams of beings lift and carry, while others sit in thought or prayer or ritual. In Abanimals of Rainbolic Silence Parts I & II Leleisi’uao uses a siapa-influenced, linear narrative, seen in many of his previous works, to build an underworld which is ‘multi-storied’ in both senses of the word. The internal structures of the hand forms are likewise layered and suggest communal shelters - it is indeed this palpable sense of community that awakens an uneasy sense of recognition in the viewer. Leleisi’uao’s repeated motifs of hands, bones and profiled faces not only provide visual touchstones within his body of work, but also serve to remind us of the inherent humanity of his creatures, and the universality of their struggle and endeavour within a limited existence.
With a successful solo show in Melbourne earlier this year and a 6x6 metre wall work to go into Auckland’s Newmarket Railway Station in January 2012, Reuben Paterson continues to push the boundaries of his practice. Viewers used to Paterson’s textile-patterned works (inspired in part by the fabric of his grandmother’s dresses) will see commonalities in Ginger Beer and The Wearer. This time however, the patterns are warped, giving them a flow and movement which is enhanced by the refractory qualities of the glitter surface. The op-art effect is strongest in the The Wearer, where the absence of colour allows the black outlines to weave sinuously over the surface of the canvas, confounding the eye. Paterson believes that “these patterns and fabrics represent our genealogy” (1) and as such views them as much a part of his whakapapa as the kowhaiwhai patterns and carvings from his father’s wharenui.
Each of these artists is engaged in the reconfiguration of their own personal and cultural stories for a universal audience. Using symbols and motifs from their own lives they provide the viewer with keys to unlock the carefully considered ideas underpinning each work.
1. Dan Chappell, “Diamond Dust and Ancestral Stories,” Art News, Spring 2011, Vol 31 #3, pp 74-77.
TO VIEW ALL 16 WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION, PLEASE SEE THE EXHIBITION CATALOGUE