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.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tasty fare

Paul McNamara has just sent me a link to an ‘online exhibition’ of Peter Peryer photographs, based on a selection of framed works on display in Wanganui, so I’ll treat it as a show, and refine it even further by picking out six images. Curate my own little mini-show of Peryers which you no doubt have just perused above.

Here’s the link.

The thing about Peryer is that his image scale is unpredictable. He keeps you guessing as to what mode of presentation, namely its size, he’ll go for, for each print. You have to forget all that when you look at an online display because everything is so evenly sized and spaced. The white background leaps out at you. It is a peculiar sort of 2D installation, a fabrication that kills the individuality of the works. Never mind. Look again at the six images. They are great fun. Let's work our way down;

That startled cat (actually made of china, Peryer tells us), frozen in space with the artificial-looking zigzag markings, looks amazing. The spiky leaves at the top reflect the angular fur pattern. With its low slung back and short legs it could be a corgi.

I hate kitsch chinaware, but the image of figurines and cupids on a table in a ‘junk’ shop is gorgeous. It is strangely flat like a painting, and unexpectedly even in its colour. There is lots of detail to be enjoyed within its saccharine complexity.

The soggy ice cream chucked on to a step is wickedly sexual. The oozing sticky mess is teeth-grindingly disturbing - with 'step' suddenly becoming a metaphor. Perhaps it is my age but this image really worries me.

Now the green buoy hanging from the ceiling, with diagonal wires and shadows, I find quite baffling. I’m not entirely sure what I’m looking at here, but I love the way it is tilted up. It is a wonderful puzzle and deliciously spare.

Glowing rock samples in museum cases are magical when experienced (a timer illuminates them so they absorb the light then makes the space go dark so they radiate), but this is a sensual image that is also oddly funny with the little authorative labels. They try to intrude on the geological samples’ mystery, but lose hands down.

Lastly, the image of the top of a staircase. It is a real wonder. The claustrophobic clamping together of angular-planed wall-paper and the floor’s floral carpet creates a sensation that is extremely visceral. It is immensely strange, with the planes being so distorted.

These are terrific images, I think. If you agree, check out the others.

No comments: