Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to eyeCONTACT, a forum built to encourage art reviews and critical discussion about the visual culture of Aotearoa New Zealand. I'm John Hurrell its editor, a New Zealand writer, artist and curator. While Creative New Zealand and other supporters are generously paying me and other contributors to review exhibitions over the following year, all expressed opinions are entirely our own.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Elam Sculpture

Rory Dunleavy, Luke Willis Thompson, Shannon Teao: Deadline, Authentico!
George Fraser
16 - 26 July 2008

In this sculpture show we see three artists collectively use the two GF rooms in entirely different ways. In the front we see two photographs (Site A and Site B), each showing a pear-shaped chunk of wet clay that has been pulled out of a plastic bag, photographed, and then that photo painted to look as if white slip had been applied to the upper portions of the lump.

In the back room things are more complicated: twenty units positioned in a grid–like arrangement on the floor. Some test mainly binary combinations of unorthodox materials like clay and branches, polystyrene and cardboard, rock and paint, plaster and foil, wire and tape etc. Others investigate just what plinths might be; much like the French artist Bertrand Lavier who has done peculiar (but brilliant) things like placing a fridge upon a safe. Still others explore patterns of painted marks on odd materials and constructed Picassoesque ceramics. Others yet try transitive verb actions with materials, the ideas embodied in Richard Serra’s verb list for example, using processes like gravity or decay. Little bricks that have tumbled off the seat of a toppled chair. Clay blocks in a pile, some of which have been crumbled, or diminished in scale.

The result is a fascinating floor display that has energy and intelligence, is visually intriguing, and a great contast to the calm and quiet of the front room. An exceptionally good exhibition at George Fraser. A knock-out.

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