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.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Snap, Crackle....

POP: Sean Kerr
A hardcovered artist’s book published by Michael Lett/Clouds
Essay by Natasha Conland
66 pp. and colour images
May 2009

This snazzy exuberant publication showcases the talents of Warren Olds as book designer and Natasha Conland as essayist. Just as much as Sean Kerr the inspiring artist. Olds and Conland are in top form, Olds with his design placement, sense of colour and brilliant sequencing, Conland with her observations, clarity and unusual quoted references, and they both have wonderful material to work with.

I usually find Kerr’s interactive googly eyed or gunshot works more irritatingly trivial than engrossing. I am far more entertained by Tony de Lautour (I like mischievousness) or Tom Kreisler (and appreciate absurdity) but Conland’s essay is so persuasive I‘ve started to doubt my own attentiveness. I’ve obviously missed something in those earlier sculptures – especially as his recent Newcall show was very striking in its conceptual layering and deliciously silly vulgarity.

This is a great little book. It presents Kerr’s working drawings so that their varied interconnections seep into you slowly, but Conland’s text attempts to analyse the humour in narratives based on moving images.

Kerr’s preparatory drawings are not comic strips. He doesn’t elaborate much via sequential graphics, so the static images exasperate if you allow yourself to get excited by Conland’s ideas. Drawing as such she tends to ignore. Her essay, though splendid, is in the wrong context. It needs an accompanying survey of noisy interactive sculpture to resonate properly.

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