Wellington communications creative Howard Greive has a long association with City Gallery, having created advertising campaigns for many of the galleries most well-loved shows. It’s no surprise that Howard also loves contemporary art and is a collector. Among his treasures are numerous Yvonne Todd works, many he has kindly lent for Creamy Psychology.
You are the owner of two of the images that will be most clearly identified with our show, Goat Sluice and Gynaecology. In fact Goat Sluice is also the cover of the new Yvonne Todd book. Can you tell us a bit more about these works and what drew you to them?
Goat Sluice 2006
A lot of Yvonne’s work seems to flirt around the edges of attraction/repulsion- danger/serenity. I think these two images are great examples of this. Goat Sluice features an attractive woman but those teeth, the blank stare, the costume, and that wild eyed cat-the guardian of the otherworld- present a foil. A foil of look, but don’t enter and this creates a gap. In that gap, like all good art, is an unexplainable dissonance. In a world where everything nowadays can be measured and explained surely this ‘ gap' is art’s most powerful territory.
Most people associate Todd with portraits of women, overly made-up society-types or sitcom heroines. In fact Todd’s subjects are diverse. Your collection includes images of buildings and still lifes...
Gabrielle and I are huge fans of photography. One of the reasons I love it is the ability to present a ‘reality’ that is ‘ fact'. Yet beyond the reality of an image can often lurk a deeper resonance that has little to do with the image. The image becomes only a trigger to deeper feelings. Yvonne is a brilliant image maker. I particularly love Takapuna. It is a landscape piece yet it is a terrific photograph and knowing it is a part of Yvonne’s larger world makes it even more powerful and resonant. The one image I would probably sell the whole collection for is Wet Sock. I absolutely love that image and hope one day to add it to the collection.
Wet Sock 2005
What was the first Todd work you bought?
The first work was Cosmetician Shiseido. The Cosmetician series was a great group and a very easy introduction to Yvonne’s work. Here I have to pay credit to Peter Mcleavey who introduced me to the work and kept my interest in the works of Yvonne’s on a continual simmer. I actually don’t have a favourite work as I see them more as a whole. One of the things I’m really looking forward to most in this show is to finally enter a ‘world’ of Todd that is complete and to see how this resonates. It will be very, very interesting.
Cosmetician Shiseido 2002
How do you think visitors respond to our exhibition?
Firstly I applaud City Gallery for mounting this show. It is a hugely ambitious project. One thing I think visitors should do is to also look at Yvonne through another angle other than ‘artist'. This time as ‘director’. Her ability to cast talent, costume that talent, prop that image, and then finally to direct a performance is extraordinary. I know she has made a ‘moving image’ but I really look forward to the day that she really employs these craft skills in a film, if she ever does.