Archive for the Grown-up Art Category

White Cloud Worlds at The New Dowse

Posted in Grown-up Art, Unwarranted criticism on February 17, 2011 by brunswick

White Cloud Worlds
The New Dowse, Lower Hutt
until March 13th

Massey illustration majors must give daily thanks for Richard Taylor, without whom there’d be no employment except for the School Journal. This exhibition highlights the conceptual work of 27 local science fiction and fantasy artists, and although they mostly work for Weta, there isn’t anything from their most famous movies, presumably because the studios own every scrap of paper they touched during production, except for tissues.

Actually, there may not have been that much paper. Most of the works are digital, beautifully printed in a large format. Only one artist’s work was in screen resolution (it looks fine on a computer monitor, but terrible when blown up for a print,) and he was presumably mortified when he saw how slick everyone else’s stuff looked. There was a Photoshop screencast condensed from about 20 hours’ work (which gave me the idea to try one for Jitterati this week) and some of Simon Morse’s excellent tattoo designs, which didn’t really fit in with the theme, but at least you could tell it was his.

I presume this is mostly personal work, and although it’s technically superb, too much of it is safe and anodyne. However well-executed (and some of these guys are the best in the world at what they do), it seems there’s only so many ways you can draw post-apocalyptic steampunk robots.

Bogle Bogle, Drawing Conclusions and Crude Futures at The New Dowse

Posted in Grown-up Art, Unwarranted criticism on May 22, 2010 by brunswick

Bogle Bogle by Seung Yul Oh is a collection of large colourful plastic resin sculptures. There are blobs and giant matchsticks, regarded with awe by tiny grey mouse-creatures. I think this could’ve been taken further – the mice could be consulting little brochures and taking snapshots. A little mouse Shelley could be writing Epoxymandias in the corner. Oh also madeĀ Oddoki, the cute Weeble-shaped birds from Te Papa’s sculpture terrace.

Drawing Conclusions is an interesting assortment of paintings by Gordon Walters, Ralph Hotere and Colin McCahon, alongside their preparatory sketches. The geometry behind Walters’ famous koru works is revealed! Distressingly, so is the fact that he got his assistant to produce his finished works. What, he was too busy waterskiing?

Crude Futures is an unusual photography exhibition by John Lake which combines portraits of Hutt Valley youth with photos of their complimentary suburban environment. The youth are beauty contestants and cadets who look apprehensive yet hopeful, even the ones painted to look like a werewolf and a vampire. Often the photos are not strictly documentary – subjects and environments alike have been touched up with paint strokes. Some of these photos are used as the artwork for So So Modern’s album Crude Futures, a much subtler artistic collaboration than, say, ads with Wellington musicians dressed in designer gear.

John Walsh and Felix Kelly at The New Dowse

Posted in Grown-up Art, Unwarranted criticism on September 7, 2009 by brunswick

I’d never been to the New Dowse before. I’d been tempted by the craft shows they regularly hold, but I really don’t go to the Hutt that often. The exhibition space wasn’t as large as I expected from the size of the building, but it represents the airy hipster freethinking I’ve missed with the closure of the City Gallery.

John Walsh’s dense, dark, witty oil paintings are exhibited under extraordinary lighting which makes some of the colours glow. They’re extremely disturbing, like the work of Bill Hammond and Edward Gorey. I don’t think they’d be as effective under daylight or reproduced in a book – the originals have a paua-like texture which is hard to describe.

Felix Kelly was an expat NZ artist who worked as a graphic designer in London in the 30s and was also known for his book covers and fantasy-realist art of houses and landscapes. I was pleased to discover he used to be a cartoonist for the kids magazine Lilliput at the same time as Ronald Searle, and there were many of his original cartoons on display. The somewhat tenuous conceit of this exhibition is that Kelly was Evelyn Waugh’s inspiration for the character Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited, as if this should be the main reason for devoting a retrospective to the man.

Upstairs they have an exhibition of their Gold Award winners, where jewellers are given the opportunity to create something using real gold. The results are delicate and finely crafted, and under massive security shields.