Ready-to-hand, found, made and common materials in Auckland gallery shows

Bringing together forms [ready-to-hand materials and found or sourced objects] in order to generate both content and meaning is part of my current practice.  Two current shows on in Auckland including both international and New Zealand artists, have provided local context and pause for thought and reflection.

Group show at Hopkinson Mossman is Touch your brain including Hany Armanious, Nick Austin and Oscar Enberg.  This show considers the relationship between the cerebral and physical, and the energy flows between content and form.  The works are considered as formal riddles.

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Oscar Enberg, Imagination Dead Imagine (lilt for tenor and Jean Arp electric guitar), 2015.

[brass, bronze, copper plated, powder coated and rusted steel flew, stainless steel cowl, hand-woven willow, wrought iron, custom electric guitar (Fijian kauri, mahogany, rosewood, paua shell veneer), 2000 x 4500 x 1200mm overall]

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Oscar Enberg, Elephant de Triomphe or Parisian Heat Death, 2015

[framed unique lithograph, stained glass 750 x 950mm overall]

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Many Armanious, Truffle, 2015 [polyurethane resin, dirt, 450 x 900 x 900mm]

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Many Armanious, Still Life, 2013 [pigmented polyurethane resin, white bronze, 450 x 560 x 30mm]

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Nick Austin, Erased Tattoo, 2014-2015 [ acrylic and pencil on canvas, 620 x 520mm]

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Nick Austin, Negative Production, 2013-2015 [acrylic on canvas, eight elements, each 510 x 710mm]

Solo show of Martin Creed at Michael Lett Gallery.  A multiplicity of artworks of different media curated together including; painting, drawing, sculptural elements (found or sourced ready-made materials – steel beams, bricks, carpet tiles), video, spray paint and drawing directly on walls and performance.

I found this work quite difficult to make sense of going in to it cold not having read previously about this artist’s work.  Challenging due to the many juxtapositions of materials and form and the sheer amount of material in the exhibition.  For example abstract finger paintings, line drawings, figurative painting along side Pollock type drip paintings together with steel I beams and bricks stacked in various configurations, a video of eyes blinking.  I felt puzzled and conflicted by it all but not entirely unhappy either.  The sense of child-like naivety generated by the paintings and drawings in conversation with the industrial sculptural elements I found intriguing.   It gave me a lot to think about, especially about the artists intentions for the viewer and the decisions around what works were included in the show how the works were grouped together, also how content and meaning is being generated within this exhibition.

Writer Helen Sumpter in Art Review May 2014 says about Creed’s work;

“THE MORE OF CREED’S WORK ONE SEES IN ONE PLACE, THE MORE IT BECOMES OBVIOUS THAT IT’S THE ARTIST’S FEELINGS ABOUT MAKING SENSE OF BEING IN THE WORLD THAT ARE HIS SUBJECT”

The first work a viewer encounters in the entry way to the main exhibition space is a deep framed, wall mounted work containing within it what are obviously common plastic shopping or rubbish bags scrunched up together to form an image inside the frame.  The glass on the front is textured glass much like bathroom window glass.  Thinking about it afterwards it seems to me that perhaps the artist is preempting and articulating a negative view of works in the show, that I may have as a viewer?.  Perhaps the purpose of it is to help me as viewer suspend that judgement, and therefore stay engaged with the work and encounter it on its own terms?.  It is a show I have continued to think about and would like to visit again.

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Martin Creed, Installation View, Michael Lett Gallery 2015

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Martin Creed, Work No. 2563, 2015 [Plastic bags 53 x 47cm]

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Martin Creed, Work No. 2575, 2015 [Dual channel digital video 2 min 7 sec]

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Martin Creed, Work No. 2552 Portrait of Sir Edmund Hillary, 2015

[acrylic on canvas 30.5 x 25.4cm / 12 x 10in]

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[All photo’s]

Martin Creed, Installation View, Michael Lett Gallery, 2015

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