ARTISTS Kushana Bush, Eddie Clemens, Elliot Collins, Matt Hunt, Richard Maloy, Campbell Patterson, Layla Rudneva-Mackay, Zina Swanson CURATOR Heather Galbraith
Ready to Roll showcases eight artists working in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin. Their ages range from mid-twenties to early forties. Some have been exhibiting for over a decade, for others it is their first public-gallery show. The title Ready to Roll implies energy about to be released. For New Zealanders of a certain age, it is also the title of a Saturday-night TV pop-music show.
Kushana Bush’s finely detailed gouaches depict beautiful and tormented figures engaged in obscure activities. There are references to yoga and sports, and undercurrents of sex and injury. The Dunedin-based painter’s style, which recalls Indo-Persian miniatures and Japanese woodblock prints, has been described as ‘grotesque sublime’. Bush exhibits works from her series Modern Semaphore.
Eddie Clemens’s sculptures explore the way humble objects become markers for life experiences and emotional states, and investigate the appeal of consumer products. His approach spans reworking hardware and stationery objects (wire clothes-drying racks in Morning Dew and tethered pens in Captive, both 2008) to the design and prototyping of simulated consumer items (fabricating Pams’s tissue boxes in powder-coated steel in The Fallen, 2009).
Elliot Collins’s text paintings whisper observations that others have learnt to keep to themselves. Putting a new twist on diaristic or autobiographical painting, the Auckland artist’s works can be brave, hilarious, earnest, melancholic, embarrassing, strident, poetic. For Ready to Roll, he presents a site-specific wall painting over fourteen metres long.
Matt Hunt’s fantasy paintings draw on images from pop culture and art history, the Bible and science-fiction, and more. Apocalyptic references, utopian creatures, and comic-book narratives proliferate in his densely detailed paintings. Hunt is based in Wellington.
Richard Maloy made his first video as an Elam student in 1998, documenting himself climbing in and out of a blue plastic bag over eight months. For Ready to Roll, the Auckland artist improvises a massive architectural enclosure out of cardboard and shows a selection of videos made over a ten-year period.
Also from Auckland, Campbell Patterson's performances for video test his mental and physical limitations in real and staged situations. His work can be humorous, painful, and unpredictable. He shows a selection of more than thirty videos.
Layla Rudneva-Mackay’s photographs are informed by simple and acute observations of human behaviour and situations. The characters that inhabit her images are often alone or interact with each other in complete trust. Her situations are often staged, yet achieve a sense of profound ordinariness. For the show, the Auckland artist brings together photos from a range of series, including works from her series Green with Envy, exploring portraiture.
Christchurch's Zina Swanson makes drawings and sculptures. In a recent exhibition at the Physics Room, she traced the gallery's perimeter with a chain of pressed daisies held aloft by glass crutches, revealing her intention to engage public attention with the force of small, simple things, while creating a cordon not to be crossed. She typically uses fragile materials to dictate the action. For Ready to Roll, she created a new sculpture and a suite of drawings where flora and fragments of human forms are grafted to create intriguing, fantastic hybrids.