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, December 10, 2008

Nine miles apart

Group Show: Christmas Party
Anna Miles
27 November - 20 December 2008

This show of nine Anna Miles artists has a dense (but not distracting) salon hang of mostly small works. There are also other items in the drawer cabinet and table, and on the lightboxes between the windows.

As the title suggests the exhibition has a celebratory air – but no thematic focus. Few Xmas shows do.

Personally for me, the biggest surprises are the large Kim Meeks’ works that are earlier than his recent show. They have obvious affinities with Andrew McLeod and Gavin Hipkins with their use of sourcing book illustration and fine digital detailing, and much more concise than his colour work.

Janet Green’s urns impress with their simple shapely elegance and delicate, almost translucent colouration, while Richard Stratton’s ceramics, through ornate, don’t cloy but amuse through an insistently light but bold graphic touch.

The circular images by innovative photographer Darren Glass show his use of motion to create blurry spirals. They coincidentally seem related to Paul Hartigan’s recent neon sculpture, but are mysterious as traces.

Sriwhana Spong’s flat lacquer ornaments, with bits of embedded mirror and chain, are refreshingly organic and unpristine. Their squashed, casual lumpiness gives them an aesthetic of manual vulgarity that stands out in Miles’ gallery, an unexpected but scintillating crudeness.

Works illustrated – descending from top to bottom - are by Octavia Cook, Kim Meeks, Janet Green, Richard Stratton (urn and plate), and Darren Glass.

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