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, June 2, 2008

Chronological colour separation

Blue as silver as gold: John Ward Knox, Patrick Lundberg, Sasha Savtchenko-Belskaia
Newcall Gallery, Auckland
27 May - 14 June 2008

The thread that links the three artworks by these three artists is time, not colour or optical sensation as suggested by the title – though a mystical approach to the three colours might contradict that, even though different wave lengths do take different time periods to travel. The poster for the show by Kate Newby seems very apt.

Time becomes manifest in distinctly separate ways in the three works.

On opening night, John Ward Knox, in a performance, picked up a large rock in one part of the room, carried it over to another area and dropped it onto a pyramid of dark sand. The impact caused the scattering grains to spread out and form a nebula pattern on the floor. Curious visitors will over the duration of the show unknowingly transport the sand further into the remote portions of the room. Two sorts of time are involved: compact opening time; decompressed, unravelling exhibition time.

Sasha Savtchenko-Belskaia presents a painting that looks like a copy of a detail from a post-impressionist work. The chronological aspect involves the time for her to learn to paint and create it, the time between the work’s production and the exhibition, and the time it takes for the visitor to identify her source. The artwork is not intrinsically interesting – only a curious foil to Ward Knox and Lundberg whose endeavours are less ordinary.

Patrick Lundberg has been doing some superb painting/wall relief sculpture projects over the past year, particularly in shows at Te Tuhi and St. Paul St. where he cut away ‘frames’ in the thickness of the gallery walls. Understated and innovative, they tested the viewer’s perception to an extreme because at first they looked like delicate drawings. His work at Newcall continues that tradition and also the ambience of the previous show by Fiona Gillmore. Using an extremely fine blue line with a compass he has carefully drawn a set of falling, fat, water drops in a grid formation. You don’t notice them unless you are close to the wall on which they are positioned. When you do, they seem to hover in front of the wall plane. They seem at first to be on a suspended clear sheet. Gradually your eyes adjust and the juicy globules fix themselves to the inner surface of the room.

In the Lundberg work space and time are intertwined. One dimension determines the other in order for the viewer to grasp what is before them. The work is about changing perception and planes, and how when you are too far away, the work disappears. It would be impossible to photograph.

This show is worth calling in on to see. Morning would be better than late afternoon, with the light brighter and more diffuse.

(Poster by Kate Newby)

No comments: