Reviews, News and Commentary

Highlights of the Aotearoa Art Fair

John Daly-Peoples

Aotearoa Art Fair

The Cloud, Auckland Waterfront

November 16 – 20

Next week the Aotearoa Art Fair  will be hosting over forty art galleries from New Zealand and around the Pacific at The Cloud on Auckland’s waterfront. The event will feature the breadth and diversity of art from the region. 

As well as exhibiting the latest and best in New Zealand contemporary art there are galleries showing major international works, historical works, aboriginal art as well as craft work by significant artists.

NZ Arts Review contacted five of the exhibiting galleries to provide a selection of their artists works.

Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland

Exhibiting Judy Millar and Peter Halley

Judy Millar

“These works are the culmination of an intense two- and half-year period of painting which I have spent almost entirely alone in my isolated West Coast home and studio. Even though I have lived in this spot for almost 40 years, during the period between 2019 and early 2022 without travel or other distractions I have experienced the nuance of place in completely new ways. Wondering how a relationship with place; with the subtleties of shifting light, moods of weather, sounds of wind and birdcall, could be presented rather than represented, I have worked to develop this group of paintings which attempt to capture the beingness of this specific land. To show the spirit of a place that I can no longer separate from my own being. These works then, are an expression of place. Being there, being now, place based.”

Judy Millar, The Light Comes Quickly ($35,000)

Peter Halley:

New York based painter Peter Halley is a contemporary American artist who is widely known for his geometric, neon Day-Glo paintings. He is considered a central figure of the Neo-Conceptualist movement of the 1980s, which originated from a group of artists exhibiting in New York’s East Village. Halley’s paintings merge geometric abstraction with digital and urban landscapes, as he ponders social space from both a psychological and physical perspective. His hard-edged compositions of horizontal and vertical divisions focus on motifs of prison cells, barred windows, and the grid structure of city environments; they offer a sociological exploration of the isolation experienced in contemporary life, with its increasingly complex networks and systems. Halley has exhibited internationally throughout his career, including large-scale public installations across Europe and the United States. He is also a published writer and was the founder and publisher of Index Magazine in the 1990s.

Peter Halley, The Social Dilemma (POA)

Page Gallery, Wellington

Exhibiting Max Gimblett, Turumeke Harrington and Reuben Paterson 

New York based Max Gimblett’s  practice encompasses influences as varied as Abstract Expressionism, Modernism, Eastern and Western spiritual beliefs, Jungian psychology, and ancient cultures. His work explores the multiplicity of meaning attached to revered objects and symbols. The quatrefoil shape dates back to pre-Christian times and is found in both Western and Eastern religions symbolising such objects as a rose window, cross, and lotus. Gimblett steps further into the realm of the spiritual with his use of precious metals; materials such as gold and silver are religiously associated with honour, wisdom, enlightenment and spiritual energies.

Max Gimblett , Quest of Gold, 2014, gesso, acrylic and vinyl polymers, rosanoble gold leaf / canvas,. $58,000.

Turumeke Harrington (Otāutahi Christchurch, Ngāi Tahu) has a background in industrial design and fine arts. An interest in whakapapa, space, colour and material sees her regularly creating large sculptural installations at the intersection of art and design. The artist’s clarity of form and function is supplemented by a poetic pragmaticism and a commitment to making that is at once playful and provocative. Her sympathetic approach to materials combines with a bold colour palette to create engaging works that speak to the artist’s own personal relationships, cultural anxieties, and everyday musings.

Turumeke Harrington, Ārai (Māreikura), ,acrylic, steel, LED bulb, electrical components, $2,500.

Reuben Paterson (Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau, Ngati Rangitihi, Ngāi Tūhoe, Tūhourangi) harnesses the mesmerizing properties of light through his practice. Paterson is renowned for his inimitable, iridescent paintings, made through a distinctive application of glitter on canvas. These paintings encompass all manner of subject matter – from cloudscapes to wild cats, botanical blooms, kōwhaiwhai, and fireworks – each providing a source of exploration, contemplation, and self-reflection for the artist.

Suite Gallery Auckland / Wellington

Exhibiting Georgia Spain, Richard Lewer and Tia Ansell

In Naarm/ Melbourne based Georgia Spain’s paintings people are repeatedly together in. In their collectivity, they’re always in the middle of something — often the most cataclysmic and euphoric moments of existence.  With limbs akimbo, flesh melting into flesh, Spain has a sea of figures awash in a tsunami, or wielded together as flood waters sweep in. Other canvases contain a sheer jumble of bodies, signalling the messiness that however much power we might ascribe to solipsism or individuality, we are inescapably tied up with another. 

Georgia Spain, When all your friends are leaving $4,500

Richard Lewer is showing a series of four works based on Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby-Dick is an epic story revolving around Captain Ahab and his obsession with a huge and elusive white whale. The whale caused the loss of Ahab’s leg and the disciplinarian is so preoccupied by his desire to kill the whale, that he is prepared to sacrifice everything, including his ship, the lives of his crew, and his own life, in order to exercise revenge.

The ocean features often in Richard Lewer’s work, for him the sea is an overwhelmingly powerful force, but also a place to find one’s self. In this instance the ocean is a place to investigate human delusion, power and control. The white whale brings to the surface emotion from the depths, and reminds us of the peril and futility of human’s desire to contain and control nature.

Richard Lewer, The Act of Impalement $11,500
Deconstructing fundamental elements of a painting, Tia Ansell practice calls attention to the origin of the woven substrate and its context within contemporary art. Tia Ansell utilises the loom to explore intricate weaving patterns generated using her idiosyncratic coding system based on urban landscapes. Her weaving-paintings form a structure of intertwining colours with bold compositions of geometries and hardlines, a language of architecture which frames the weaving medium. Tia threads these ideas within the context of Melbourne architecture extrapolating facade compositions into the construction of the woven plane, with painted architectural patterns and design symbols interrupting the image.

Tia Ansell, Daphne, $2,500

Futures Gallery

Exhibiting Tim Bučković

Tim Bučković’s small and multi panel paintings selectively hold and release contextual information, such as dissolving figures engaging in bizarre rituals, fictional or diagrammatic settings of vacillating flatness, depth, perspective and optical noise. His practice pushes historical painting values through a sieve, reconstituting disparate parts into a pixel-like language that is unmistakably his own. His dynamic compositions are informed by historic, modernist and avant-garde practices and brim with the semiotic qualities of Eastern European visual culture and technology. These works are laced with a tension between time and space that is simultaneously neo-utopian, ominous, sci-fi, and mystical; qualities often found in alternative histories.

Tim Bučković, Light Performance AU$4200

Tim Bučković Untitled  AU$4200

Scott Lawrie Gallery, Auckland

Exhibiting Roy Good, Ara Dolatian and James Collins

Roy Goods dedication to modernist abstract painting has now reached beyond 50 years. After the success of his recent solo show at Scott Lawrie Gallery, Scott brings to the art fair a hand-picked selection of work from 1973 to 2019. Spanning these decades are some outstanding and rare works from Roy’s private collection (which Scott had to plead with him to let go of!) which are being presented as a major solo show at this year’s Aotearoa Art Fair. An important figure in New Zealand art, Roy’s continual exploration of form, order and harmony has now come full circle to reach a new generation of collectors.

Roy Good, Lintel for Joseph, 2009,Acrylic on canvas, $25,500

It’s unusual to bring an emerging artist into the realms of an Art Fair, but that’s exactly what Scott Lawrie Gallery is doing with Ara Dolatian’s sensational recent ceramic works. As Ara explains, ‘After the US forces occupied Iraq – modern-day Mesopotamia – instability caused a booming trade in stolen artefacts, in addition to their outright destruction. In my recent work, I seek to reinstate some of this lost history, while at the same time highlighting the fragmented nature of its archives. The work also pays homage to the foundational materials used and skillfully developed in ancient Mesopotamia. My use of bright blue glazes mirrors the use of lapis lazuli in Mesopotamian civilisations.’

Ara Dolatian, Myths, 2022., Glazed ceramics $3200 (Image to come)

James Collins made a mark for himself while still a young painter studying at Wimbledon College of Art, and consequently the Royal College of Art in London. His career has progressed ever since, with impressive group and solo shows around the world, including Claas Reiss in London, and James  Fuentes in New York. Scott Lawrie Gallery is delighted to welcome James to the Aotearoa Art Fair for the first time, where two magnificent smaller paintings of his will be included for the VIP opening event, and continue for the duration of the fair. Known for his lush, boldly sculptural, dense impasto paintings (often 20-30mm deep),James was a recent highlight of the Brussels Art Fair, with his presentation for Claas Reiss Gallery.

James Collins, Liquid Engineers 21, 2018, Oil on wooden panel $6000

By johndpart

Arts reviewer for thirty years with the National Business Review

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