Monday, 29 June 2009

Three Hawkes Bay moments - Pearce, Popplewell, Maughan

Hawkes Bay secrets
The Hawkes Bay is one of New Zealands most well known secrets - home to the Art Deco town of Napier, mile upon mile of award winning vineyards - orchards overlooked by austere windswept hill tops, as well as being the big backyard to a growing bunch of artists and like minded souls, who still use Auckland as their market place. These include:

Ben Pearce
I discovered three of Ben Pearce's works in the In from the Garden Exibition curated by Matt Blomeley, at Objectspace over the weekend. They are intriguing, and definitely engage a conversation.

Grandfather Clock
The first, Grandfather Clock, to me looks more like a water tower crossed with a tree house. In this, my imaginary, there are no ladders up the structure, and no way of entering the wee hoose when you get to the top- but it has a wonderfully semantic domesticity, as if the kiwi shed, now on stilts, had closed down for a chat with Kierkegaard , or some of the lesser loons of the emerging existential - but there again if its a clock - then fine. It's still a stotter of a work.

Alone Home, No 1
The second, an installation of three sets of tin cans, mimics the tin can radio/servers of our childhood, the message singing along the string with all the frustration of the childhood con trick.

The third, and the one illustrated above, blends all of the above - its called Alone Home No 1 - I love it - it has that brilliant sense of effortless play with a hidden intellectual edge that is the best of the emerging Hawkes Bay arts colony.

Martin Popplewell
Talking of intellectual edge, Martin Poppelwell is another Hawkes Bay artist looking for multiple conversations - sometimes at the same time - which occasionally makes for a noisy encounter, There is even an occasional moment when he aint listening too well, even to himself.

But that's okay - more than okay - because there is no shortage of the vision thing - and definitely a whole lot going on that is well worth a few moments of your silence.

For examples, check out some of the works at the Anna Bibby Gallery I love them.

Karl Maughan
Finally, I need to confess - Karl Maughan is, to my certain knowledge, still happily living in Auckland. However, I did say hallo to him in passing as he was packing the car outside the studio of his long time friend and ex teacher, Dick Frizzell, resident godfather to the growing Hawkes Bay arts landscape.

I also include him courtesy of the works on view in his new show at Gow Langsford Gallery.

Every Day is like Sunday

The exhibition, which opened last week, Every Day is like Sunday, already looks a sell out. Hardly surprising given the iconic popularity of Maughan's garden works - each flower picked out in dazzling colour and detail.

And if you want to see some of these older works - then next time you are at a conference in the Auckland Sky City Convention , then slip next door to the foyer of the Sky City Hotel. They have three in a row! Stunning.

The works in Every Day is like Sunday are not so detailed and pristine - indeed there is a much rawer more explosive energy on view. It's not just the rougher texture to the plants and their landscape which provokes this thought, the artist himself feels more present at a visceral level - with less of the characteristic independence of gaze of his earlier works.

Also, in these works, horizons are pushing themselves into view - as if asserting the need for time and place to take up residence, with the rougher hues of the New Zealand pastoral entering the frame for a different phase in the conversation. Love it to bits!


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