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.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Brmmm, brmmm

Group Show: Clock the Ton
Gow Langsford
9 December - 30 December 2008

Nifty title this, for those determined to race down country roads at more than 100 mph. An unusually hoony moniker for a Xmas show. It also means you can count 100 works here, each no bigger than 600 square millimetres. It postulates the premise that size is not the same as scale, that formal and emotional impact can’t be measured with a ruler or light meter. Really though it is about sales not perception. Who’d dream otherwise?

Represented here are eighteen artists: Ball, Cotton, Cousins, George, Frizzell, Gimblett, Hight, Hughes, Ingram, Maddox, Maguire, Maugham, McWhannell, Millar, Murado, Nitsche, Paterson, and Pule. Though they average out at five works each, some in fact only have one (McWhannell, Hughes and Cotton) and others eighteen (Antonio Murada).

I normally hate salon hangs and I especially hate Christmas shows. But this seems like one work, a particularly crazy composite by some deranged artist influenced by Killeen. The odd thing is that the randomness and density of the hang is perversely entertaining. It is not easy to compare, say, all the Gimbletts or Murados, or Maddoxes. You have to concentrate to find them and then come up with an opinion about which work would best represent that artist, should that item somehow appear in your fantasized ideal Christmas stocking at the end of your bed.

It also allows you to ferret out recent changes in artists’ practices. You can examine say James Cousins’ optically unpredictable, zigzaggy fields, or the peculiar aluminium shapes Judy Millar is now working on that have a concave contour included. These edges pointedly enclose as a negative form, the plane of the supporting wall - and seem to indicate the underpinning architectural context.

If you want to temporarily forget your aesthetic sensibilities - and be like me a nosey parker when it comes to artists - check out this show and indulge your drifting, wandering eye.

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