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, March 18, 2009

Lacey sculpture and drawings

Sonya Lacey: In & Outsides
10 March - 28 March 2009

This splendidly arranged presentation of Sonya Lacey’s graphite drawings and sculpture shows the architectural qualities of Newcall gallery’s T-shaped floor plan at its very best. Four framed graphite on paper drawings and three sculptures that resonate with each other and the room.

The drawings are superb. They are of clouds or layers of murky mist letting through softly glowing light. Its radiance is controlled by floating smudgy layers and borders that allow shimmering pale banks of exposed sunlight to hover afar. The rubbing of the graphite fits in with Lacey’s work in This Much is Certain in May last year at George Fraser - the burnishing in those drawings and sculpture. Those works though were more abstract and minimal.

Certainly the three sculptures in this show continue that. One is a low ‘bowl’ of thin, spun steel that has been polished by being scoured with sandpaper. Another is a long strip of flexible pine that has been bent so that half lies on the floor while the rest is clamped vertically to the wall through a neat circular hole. The third work is the strangest of them all. It looks like the outer frame of a handleless drawer propped up on the floor. On it are resting what seem to be two ear plugs. These objects are made of compacted blue newspaper dust made by obsessive rubbing of blue skies in photographs. It’s an amazing piece of sculpture.

Lacey’s drawings, being impressively evocative and sensual, will attract quite a following, but her sculpture – despite being more austere – will attract a lot of respect. It reveals a sensibility that is much more unusual in its wit. An exceptionally strong exhibition.

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