Art So New It's Still Being Made

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Media Release: May, 2010. 

New exhibition Ready to Roll takes shape at City Gallery Wellington

Auckland artist Richard Maloy will go through a small mountain of cardboard over the next week, as his installation for City Gallery Wellington exhibition Ready to Roll takes shape. He will spend seven days creating a new work out of brown cardboard boxes, tape, industrial staples and paint, forming a huge structure that will take over one end of the Gallery.

City Gallery Senior Curator Heather Galbraith is looking forward to the results. “This sculpture will be built entirely on-site, behind closed doors. During the week of building the artist and his helpers will form the structure organically, using the modest material of cardboard. The artist is invisible in what the viewer finally experiences – a remnant of the process of making, a piece of new cocoon-like architecture.”

Maloy is just one of eight New Zealand artists featuring in City Gallery’s new exhibition Ready to Roll, which opens on May 29. Concentrating on recent work by contemporary artists based in New Zealand, this exhibition features eight artists from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin; Kushana Bush, Eddie Clemens, Elliot Collins, Matt Hunt, Richard Maloy, Campbell Patterson, Layla Rudneva-Mackay and Zina Swanson.

The exhibition, curated by Heather Galbraith, veers from the micro—incredibly delicate but unsettling gouache and watercolour paintings by Kushana Bush and Zina Swanson—to the gargantuan; a vast cardboard structure by Richard Maloy and a sixteen metre-long wall painting by Elliot Collins. From the dense mythical paintings of Matt Hunt to the bewitching staged portraits of Layla Rudneva-Mackay, Eddie Clemens’ disarming use of familiar materials to visceral video works by Campbell Patterson, Ready to Roll shows eight artists with strong individual voices and directions.

Ready to Roll runs from 29 May until 12 September, alongside the major survey exhibition John Pule: Hauaga (Arrivals).

Kushana Bush makes intensely detailed gouache works depicting figures undertaking group activities. The exact nature of the activities that these perversely beautiful and tormented figures are engaged in is ambiguous. References to yoga, individual and team sports, are unsettled by an undercurrent of sex and injury. Her style has been described as ‘grotesque sublime’, and is reminiscent of Indo-Persian miniatures and Japanese woodblock prints. Bush will be showing a series of works from the ‘Modern Semaphore’ series. The artist is Dunedin-based.

Eddie Clemens’ sculpture investigates the commodity appeal of consumer products and the way humble objects become markers for life experiences and emotional states. The construction methods in Clemens’ work span re-working hardware or stationery store bought objects (such as Morning Dew (2008) where he augments the common clothes dryer, or Captive (2008) where he corrals multiple BIC Captive tethered pens to a surreal end), through to the design and prototyping of objects to simulate consumer items as demonstrated through the fabrication of Pams’ rose-stencilled tissue boxes in powder-coated steel in The Fallen (2009). Clemens’ has recently completed the Frances Hodgkins’ Fellowship in Dunedin.

Elliot Collins’ text-based paintings whisper secrets and observations that most people and artworks have learnt to keep to themselves. Putting a new twist on diaristic or autobiographical painting, Collins’s works are equal parts brave, hilarious, earnest, melancholic, embarrassing, strident and poetic. Collins is based in Auckland, and for Ready to Roll will produce a site-specific wall painting over 16 metres long titled The End and/or the Beginning.

Matt Hunt’s paintings represent scenes from a total ‘cosmology’ created by the artist. His is an imagination fuelled by the insatiable acquisition of images, from popular culture, art history, the Bible, science fiction cinema and television, and elsewhere. Apocalyptic imagery, utopian creatures and comic book narratives continue to feature in his intensely detailed, maximum-action paintings. Hunt is based in Wellington.

Richard Maloy works across media including photography, sculpture, installation and video. He made his first video project in 1998 as part of his undergraduate studies at Elam where he filmed and photographed himself over eight months climbing in and out of a blue plastic bag. Maloy’s practice has continued to develop along unruly, idiosyncratic, and high-energy lines. For Ready to Roll Maloy will make a large architectural structure out of cardboard and show a collection of video works from a ten year period, before he travels to San Francisco to undertake a Wallace Arts Trust/Fulbright New Zealand supported residency at Headlands Centre for the Arts. Maloy is based in Auckland.

Campbell Patterson is an artist from Auckland, who works mostly alone and with real, staged situations. Much of his work is characterised by an interest in documenting the body’s mental and physical limitations, the results of which are always humorous, sometimes painful, and rarely predictable. Patterson will show a rich selection of over forty video works not seen before in Wellington.

Layla Rudneva-Mackay makes photographs, informed by simple and acute observations of human behaviour and situations. The characters which inhabit her images are often alone, or interacting with one other in complete trust. The situation is often staged, yet achieves a sense of deep and profound ordinariness. For the first time Rudneva-Mackay will be bringing together works from a range of series, including images exploring portraiture from the Green With Envy series. The artist is based in Auckland.

Zina Swanson is a Christchurch-based artist, who has makes drawings and sculptures. In a recent exhibition at The Physics Room she traced the perimeter of the gallery with a chain of pressed daisies, held aloft by glass crutches. The work reveals the artist’s intention to engage her public’s attention with the force of small and very simple things; while creating a cordon not to be crossed, she has typically used the most fragile of materials, deftly dictating the action. Swanson will be showing a new sculptural work and a suite of drawings where flora and fragments of human forms are grafted to create intriguing and fantastic hybrids.

Ready to Roll

29 May-12 September 2010