Postmark: An Artist's Project by Gabby O'Connor

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Media Release: January, 2005. 

Wellington artist Gabby O’Connor’s collaborative exhibition at the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery reflects the adventures of a craftcamper who has toured foreign lands. This exciting and playful new project opens on 22 January.

O’Connor’s work will be familiar to many Wellingtonians: she is one of the co-founders of the collective CRAFTCAMP, whose ‘crafty’ and ‘cunning’ knickers, badges and other items are regular sights at the Dowse Art Museum shop and design store Artikel.

O’Connor came up with the concept of Postmark before embarking overseas in June 2004. She sees the exhibition both as a way of continuing to produce artworks while travelling, and of staying in touch with friends and fellow-artists in Wellington.

While travelling throughout Europe and the United Kingdom, O’Connor treated hostels, trains and transit lounges as her art studios, making works that responded to new places, sights and experiences. Once every two weeks, O’Connor would package up a work and post it back to one of her collaborators in Wellington: Katharine Allard, Vanessa Crowe, Diana Goodwin, Chelsea Gough, Georgiana Morison, Lisa Munnelly, Genevieve Packer, Sarah Jane Parton, Pippa Sanderson, Sandra Schmidt and Leanne Williams. Each artist was asked to produce a work for the exhibition that takes the work sent to them by O’Connor as a starting point, either incorporating it into a new work, or using it as inspiration.

For example, O’Connor sent Chelsea Gough “how big is the sky?”, a long piece of pink ribbon on which she hand-embroidered a question sent by a reader to the ‘Guardian’ newspaper, and the answer that the paper provided. Gough in turn has created a landscape diorama work whose kiddy-craft surface belies the serious questions it raises about our use of natural resources. O’Connor’s ribbon floats above the landscape on a sheet of Perspex.

Other works sent back by O’Connor included “doily forest” – 60 trees cut out from paper doilies with a scalpel – and “craft terrorist”, images and lettering that were embroidered and beaded onto denim, inspired by O’Connor’s attempts to take contraband items which are also the tools of her craft, such as knitting needles, onto airplanes. (O’Connor slipped her knitting needles onto the plane by bending them into bangles).

On Thursday 10 February at 5.30pm, O’Connor and many of the artists featured in ‘Postmark’ will give a free talk in the exhibition space, describing the exhibition project and the way in which works were conceived and constructed.

Postmark: an artist’s project by Gabby O’Connor

Michael Hirschfeld Gallery at City Gallery Wellington

22 January – 20 February 2005

Free entry, open every day 10am to 5pm.

Artists’ floortalk – 10 February 2005, 5.30pm. All welcome

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:

Courtney Johnston, Publicist, City Gallery Wellington

T: 04 801 3959 E: courtney.johnston@wcc.govt.nz

Designworks Enterprise IG are proud sponsors of the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery. Thanks also to Colourcraft; and Publication & Design, Wellington City Council. City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding from the Wellington City Council.