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, March 10, 2008

'Ice' is nice

Paul Hartigan’s Ice Ball
Whitespace window display in Crummer Rd, Auckland
4 March - 28 March 2008

This neon work of Hartigan’s is part of Whitespace’s ‘Political World’ show, and can only be seen from the street. In fact Ice Ball is the exhibition’s highlight, and looks best at night when the gallery is closed. (It is the highlight in the daytime too; the rest of the work is, I think, forgettable).

It is worth driving past in the evening to have a close look. While not as overtly spectacular as Colony, Hartigan’s persimmon Symonds St work at the University, Ice Ball is still a treat. Small and intimate, it is like a loosely tangled knot in the middle of vertical piece of stiff cord that is positioned against a small, white, reflective disc. If you move from the centre of the window to the far right, the complex core unflattens to become more spatially imposing and quite angular. It springs out at you and looks like a jumbled assortment of crescent shapes.

The best thing though is the soft colour, especially when reflected off the pale concrete backdrop. Plastic wiring sheaths at each end of the white glass tubing contain glowing bands of violet blue, and on the last ten inches of the upper vertical section the colour is greeny blue. It sends a gorgeous ‘baby-blue’ wash across the wall.

Magical light sculptures like this are worth a squiz. A bonus for the changing of summer hours into autumn.

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