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.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dissolving stainless steel

Gregor Kregar: Immersive Echoes
Bath St
8 October -1 November 2008

Gregor Kregar is widely known for his ceramic male figures and sheep, and later Mario Merz-derived globes. The former I have always found too clunky and cute, and the latter, a bit obvious. This new work of crystalline, pyramidal, steel clusters however, seems much more interesting.

Though they hint of the sixties and Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic projects, it is the ‘invisibility’ of Gregor’s shiny, stainless steel facets that intrigue - how they absorb the surrounding environment with multiple, undulating, triangular planes. Their reflections distort differently from the way that say, harsh mirror glass would, being of a softer sheen, and there is a gentle wobble to each plane that cumulatively creates a gentle rippling effect overall.

In the Bath St Gallery the tall free standing sculpture is the most successful because it capitalises on the inside of the corrugated iron roof above it. Yet these works need to be placed and seen outdoors, particularly near lots of trees or panoramic vistas with open skies. It is not their structure that fascinates but their interactive surfaces.

The Liquid Geometry series of digital photographs make nice 2D foils to the sculpture, with fragments of sky superimposed into planar details of drawn sculpture. The ones of skyscrapers, with cloudy skies placed into their letterlike, planar rooves, seem sterile at first, yet they grow on you with their allusions to tangrams and geometric puzzles.

One of the big polished sculptures deserves to end up in an Auckland public park. The gallery space in Parnell seems inappropriate for their particular assets which are wasted. Despite the corrugated roof, it is too bland a venue.

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