Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Dowling Street Studios presents: Laura Marsh & Hamish Jones

The Dowling Street Studios is a collection of artist's studios filling the old Hallensteins factory building in Dunedin. Hamish and I took on the challenge of filling the enormous 24m x 4m x 8m high space. I wanted to air out a few of my works from my two post-grad years at AUT, and I wanted to have them shown in The South Island.

I created a new work for the show, The Republic Of Aramoana, a series of 35 'collector cards', each with a photo of a different flagpole found standing proudly in the yard of the houses and cribs of Aramoana in January. At the time I could not imagine why such a huge percentage of a town's population would have flag poles! It was a very exciting discovery. Research uncovered the cause, that in 1980 Aramoana declared itself The Republic of Aramoana in order to defend itself against the New Zealand Government building an aluminium smelter where the town still stands gracefully today. Environmental concerns were a key factor in the case against a smelter. On the back of each of the cards is a diagram from a study done in the seventies on the special nature of the huge salt marsh out the back of Aramoana.

Bluff came about in 2009 after a road trip with my Mother and Grandmother to places in Southland that have significance to my family history. THe journey culminated in a visit to Mim's birth town, Bluff, (a name I've always thought humorous, and at the time was telling of my feelings towards how I was progressing through my Postgrad Dip year!) On a previous trip to The South Island I had purchased a woollen Mosgiel blanket from an op-shop; when I was a child my paternal Grandparents had lived in Mosgiel (a small town 20mins South of Dunedin, though the Mosgiel Woollen Co. is long gone). I reconfigured the rug into a banner, the material alluding to the significance of wool to my culture, and of course the form alluding to the fateful moments of Pakeha trading blankets for Maori land. Bringing these elements together in one piece solidifies a moment; catching the experience of a series of events connected over time, through me, into one form, a souvenir. By collecting these fragments of my personal, ancestral and cultural past together in a tangible form, Bluff creates a feeling of 'definitely' being part of this cultural landscape for me, disrupting the feelings of dislocation that I was attempting to address with my Masters project. With Bluff being just down the road, and Mosgiel (where the rug was originally made) being even closer, Bluff was a hit with the locals during this exhibition.

Excited to have the vertical space to hang Pleasure Grounds up again. 

Pleasure Grounds (detail) 2009

Monument was hung lower here than at Second Storey, allowing the fabric to become more involved with the floor.
Monument 2011

Placist 2010, Bluff 2009 & nationculturenation 2009.
Laura Marsh Was Here Souvenir 2010, I Was Here Postcard Series 2010
The South Island Flag
Hamish's work.
Hamish Jones - Black Sheep 2011, White Sheep 2011

Hamish Jones - Fossil 2011

Hamish Jones - Block Colour 2011

Hamish Jones - Deconstruction/Reconstruction 2011

Home Away From Home 2011, Pakeha Dream (dvd projection)  2010
Pakeha Dream ... , Display Case (Prayer for a Pakeha, Club Pakeha, More Maori) 2010
Display Case ... , Flagless City II 2009

Special thanks to Hamish for going hard at the mission; to Vanessa Cook for writing and sorting; to Anya Sinclair for organising; to Jamie Hanton at Blue Oyster Gallery for the lend of a projector; to Terry Brosnahan & John Cosgrove from Countrywide Magazine; to Viv and Gordon Jones, Graeme and Mum, and Dad...Thank you!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

NOW @ Second Storey: August 2011

My first solo show, NOW, was held at Second Storey: an artist-run space on Karangahape Road, Auckland, NZ.

A Flag That Has Now Written On It flies atop the building next door to Second Storey.
A CCTV security camera watches from across the road and wirelessly transmits the video signal back across to a receiver in the window of Second Storey.

The receiver passes the video signal through to the back room via a long cable.

In the back room the projector shows a static-harassed image of a pole that holds aloft the intermittently billowing flag.

In the front room Monument hangs, the tails of the vertical flags going with the lie of the floor.

(A Flag With Now Written On It atop the La Gonda Building on K Rd.)

Thursday, 14 July 2011

PRACTISE: In the Interest of Self-motivation

A large banner work (2x1.9m) submitted for the Glaister Ennor Graduate Awards held at OREXART Gallery in Auckland, June 2011. Unfortunately, as I realised on the night, it was more of a painting award so not much chance of a win there.

A poster work.

Tests prove
poster design)

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

PRINT SEASON: February 2011

A duo show with Rosemarie Nightingale, in St Paul St's Gallery III, Auckland New Zealand...
& my first show after my Masters exhibition.

Home Away from Home heralds a moment of the 'connective synthesis' that underlies the methodology of my practice. I can't recall how the two elements came to mind, but it was at seperate moments; the timing of a deadline being the final weld. The green canvas tarpaulin was the floor to my grandparents' caravan awning decades ago, travelling the length and breadth of the countryside. And since used for many other purposes - painting drop-sheet, trailer cover, and for the last few years living in the back of Dad's jet boat, serving as the picnic mat on the stony beaches of Lake Wanaka.
The lonely trees have been transplanted from the back blocks of the West Coast of Auckland, my second home. The stamp of the colonial landscape is dominant, and the shifty nature of being descended (so recently) from colonial movers and shakers is brought to the fore.

This work is an example of the unusual demands I put on the high-tech (only one in the SOuthern Hemisphere) digital fabric printing machine at the Textile & Design Lab at AUT University, Auckland, NZ.

The flat bed is definitely not the 3.2m x 2m size of the tarp, so it was printed in 3 parts and (almost) immaculately lined up with digital precision, proudly leaving it very hard to spot the joins. The close up image shows the original stamp on the tarpaulin, and names its point of origin, my home town, Dunedin.

Two video works, Never Ending Sunset I (Otago Hinterland) and Never Ending Sunset II (West Coast AK), serve to aid contemplation of where it is that I am and have come from. Because 'if you don't know where you're from, you won't know where you're going', (which might be a hip hop quote?). The videos are edited to first run forward for approximately a quarter of an hour, then are seamlessly joined to the same shot playing backwards, which is then looped for an endless experience of blissful dusk.

Rosemarie's work sat beautifully alongside mine. The map is of Mt Ruapehu and the National Park. The casting 'prints' of rocks are made of rocks from with the park, but of course aren't allowed to be removed.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Trouble With Being A Proud Pakeha

My art practice is motivated by a realisation that I have been deeply na├»ve about the cultural realities of my country.  Moving from the South Island to the North Island was the first step towards understanding what it means to ‘be’ and ‘become’ Pakeha, and what this can mean in a global post-colonial context. Parallel to ongoing cultural research, I visually document North and South to allow motifs and signifiers to come to the foreground; Objects materialize from this process, operating as ‘souvenirs’ to moments of discovery. Essentially, my art practice applies a ‘soft activist’ approach to the colonial condition of overwriting history. These images are from my Master of Art & Design (Visual Arts) exhibition held at St Paul St Gallery, Auckland, in November 2010.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Souvenirs To Moments Of Discovery From 2009

The Russell Lupins of The South Island display a magnificent array of crayonbox colours in the summertime. Covering fields and riverbeds and lining the edges of the highways of the Central South Island, they create a heady sense of scenic wonder that belies their true nature of epidemic weed status, (as they negatively impacts on the habitat of threatened braided riverbed birds). In 2009 I explored these opposing sentiments with an 'illegal' street art project 'beautifying' Grey Lynn, Auckland City. Essentially the ongoing work is an analogy for the post-colonial realisations I've had after looking a little harder at the physical and cultural landscapes of Aotearoa New Zealand.