An Auckland Council Exhibition Series at Community Art Centres in 2012-2013 featuring emerging curators working with leading, established and emerging artists.

Imaginary Cartographies – essay

“In our imaginary cartography, the islanders inhabit an earthly paradise, whose luxuriant flora knows no forbidden fruit.”  – Andre Hepko[1]

How would you visually capture the essence of the place or area in which you live? Would it be an object, an image, a painting or a drawing? Imaginary Cartographies showcases a wide selection of highly imaginative and finely crafted objects, photographs and paintings by emerging and established artists that refer to our sense of place.

Vessels by Corrina Hoseason and Raewyn Walsh serve as a launching pad for this collection. Different at every turn, ceramicist, Hoseason creates large, white, and smoothly glazed works referencing pastoral idyll while Walsh’s hand-sized, matte, blackened vessel retains a hand-worked, undulating surface.  Both are deft in their trade while playing with the ideas of skill and function.

Tony Matelli says, “Objects made with a high degree of skill add authority to ideas.” [2]  There is no better proof of this than the approaches three jewellers have utilised to highlight material found in their own back yards.  Scoria, green lipped mussels, and pipi shell are distinctively Kiwi materials and North Shore local, Warwick Freeman’s sleek, elegant use of lava reminds us to hold precious our volcanic home.  Similarly, Pauline Bern’s transformation of Morningstar shells in her Gather brooch series conveys domestic concerns with an island twist.  Alan Preston’s choice of green lipped mussel as material in his Navigation Aid prompt one to recall that New Zealander’s relationship with flora and fauna has historically been two-way.

The topography of this exhibition is varied.  Rachel Bell and Stephen Brookbanks reinterpret tools and implements with equally unique approaches. Bell presents an intriguing series of implements that seem familiar at first, but upon closer inspection are uncomfortable and strange.  Making and living are interwoven activities for Brookbanks and his work interlaces a love of building with the time-distilling world of miniatures.

While some makers use materials to connect us to the land while others posit questions to plot their coordinates. For instance, Delia Woodham’s sculpture, Prophet and Loss, uses Bibles in five languages and scientific volumes point to larger questions that fuel much of her work.   Amy Blinkehorne’ s paintings are reminiscent of the moment just after a storm.  Her wind-whipped landscape has not fully settled; a metaphor befitting for an island nation plopped squarely in the roaring forties.

Calm descends in the form of landscape photography, adding tranquillity and indicating the presence of outlying ideas. The journey that started in our back yard leaves us in a global conversation.  The two photographers in the exhibition, Hamish MacDonald (South Head) and Shelton Walsmith (New York), capture the spirit or essence of a place. These works complete a constructed cartography of ideas; leaving us as willing believers in a landscape of secret coves, uncovered histories, innumerable treasures, and our fantastic island paradise.

Kristin D’Agostino

[1]Heipko, Andres. “The Islanders: Castaways in a divided Berlin.” Cabinet  Issue 38 Islands, 2011: 95 -97

[2]2008, 01 May 12, Tony Matelli. 140. 04 May 2008. 1 June 2012

What: Imaginary Cartographies

Where: The Lake House Arts Centre, Becroft Gallery, 37 Fred Thomas Drive, Barry’s Point Reserve, Takapuna

When: 17-29 July 2012. Gallery hours 10am-4pm weekdays 10am-3pm weekends. Curators floor talk event 11-11:30am Saturday 29 July.

Cost: Free admission.

Contact: Phone (09) 486 4877

For more information, contact Matt Blomeley on 021 225 2344

One comment on “Imaginary Cartographies – essay

  1. Mr WordPress
    July 22, 2012

    Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

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This entry was posted on July 23, 2012 by .

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