Nigel Brown: All the Jokes about Survival
25 February - 9 April
All the Jokes about Survival is an exhibition of selected paintings from the personal collection of respected and celebrated New Zealand artist Nigel Brown. Over a period of several years these works have been gifted by the artist and his partner Sue McLaughlin to the Eastern Southland Gallery.
Brown has described himself as an ‘expressive realist’ or ‘symbolic expressionist’, drawing upon the local landscape, family, life in New Zealand and forces of influence from overseas, to address some of the large questions in life such as the state of the human condition. His style is instantly recognisable for its use of a heavy dark outline around objects often giving his paintings the appearance of woodcuts. Figurative in style, his work is often painterly and chunky. Colour plays an important part in the overall composition and reflects the bare tones of the New Zealand landscape. Brown works with an ever-evolving series of icons, symbols, motifs and text. His interest in combining text with visual images has been prompted by the fact that his father was a poet and his admiration for the poetry of James K. Baxter.
In 2001 Nigel and Sue moved to Cosy Nook on the rugged Southland coast, where they resided and worked for over 15 years, and on occasion gifted works to the Eastern Southland Gallery. A recent shift north to Dunedin facilitated the gifting of a further 8 paintings – several of which reference the artist’s time in the far south.
Image: Nigel Brown, All the Jokes about Survival, 1983, oil on board
Stacey Butler: Yarns over the Farm Fence
25 February - 9 April
Yarns over the Farm Fence is a body of work completed by local artist Stacey Butler as part of her Master of Fine Arts Degree. The exhibition is made up of three groups of photographs that together create an agricultural timeline with a sustainability focus. The three groups look at the past, present and possible futures of farming using methods from photography’s past, its present and its likely future. The first group looks at plant species past and present. The second group takes an insider approach to the documentation of farming practices. The third group looks at some of the implications of developments in technology. The artist hopes that together they will inspire “yarns over the farm fence.”
Stacey Butler is a Master of Fine Arts student at the Dunedin School of Art. Throughout her time at the art school her work has explored the agricultural industry and the farm using a range of photographic methods from analogue to digital. Many of the works were photographed in and around her family farm in Ardlussa.
Image: Stacey Butler, Effluent storage pond, 2223 pumpable cubic meters (Resource Management Act 1991), 2016, Fixing the Boundary Fence Series, digital inkjet print
Blue Black: Lost & Found / Flotsam & Jetsam
3 June - 23 July
Blue Black is a process driven maker who works with clay and a range of found and discarded organic and man-made materials. Flowers, vegetables, plant roots, egg cartons, clothes, foam and various other scavenged materials and objects are dipped in layers of clay slip, fired, glazed, fired again, and worked and reworked until they find a new life. It is an evolving and intuitive process that results in organic, colourful and often unsettling sculptures - reminiscent of body parts and organs, and only vaguely suggestive of their original form. This installation brings together a selection of recent work and new pieces created especially for the Gore exhibition.
Blue Black was born in Christchurch in 1957. He first began working with clay in the late 1980’s after attending a pottery course with Margaret Riley. He then studied Fine and Applied Arts at the Whanganui Polytechnic, before going on to complete a Diploma of Ceramic Arts at Otago Polytechnic (1994), followed by a Master of Fine Arts. As well as a two-times finalist in the Portage Ceramic awards (2006, 2014) and a finalist in the prestigious Wallace Awards (2008), he was also the Premier Winner of 2014 Lysaght Watt Trust Art Award.
Image: Blue Black, MOVE, 2016, mixed media
Large Sculptures from the Collection
Don Driver, Peter Nicholls & Scott Eady
14 april - 28 May
This exhibition showcases the large works of three sculptors - Don Driver, Peter Nicholls and Scott Eady - from the Gallery’s permanent collection. They are all large in scale but that’s where the similarities end.
Don Driver (1930-2011) was one of New Zealand’s most senior and respected artists and is widely acclaimed as New Zealand’s master of assemblage art. He often used ‘found’ materials - the trappings of suburban or agricultural life, or objects discarded by our material society - but the mundane became mysterious, unsettling, provocative or humorous when he brought these objects together with his own artistic magic. Don Driver is represented in most major public and private collections.
Over the past few years Dunedin-based sculptor Peter Nicholls’ work has focussed on environmental issues. Often horizontally aligned and ground hugging they address the arteries of the land, and are site specific and narrative, linking histories of place and involving a journey of discovery. Peter Nicholls has exhibited extensively in solo and group shows since 1963. He has numerous large-scale works in public and private collections both nationally and internationally.
Scott Eady is a maker of objects that interrogate and confound the nature and value of objects, with recent work taking on a greater participatory dimension. Eady is currently based in Dunedin, and is Senior Lecturer of Sculpture at the Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic. His work is represented in public and private collections throughout New Zealand, Australia and Russia.
Image: Scott Eady, Johnny Boy, 2006, cast resin/clothing and The World Keeps Turning, 2006, inflatable
14 April - 28 May
Dunedin artist Motoko Watanabe presents a collection of woven sculptures. The works on display deconstruct the weaving process by focussing on details of form and by moving beyond function. Initially trained in Japan as an illustrator, Watanabe started making small baskets at home from organic materials in her garden after the birth of her daughter. Ikebana (flower arranging) baskets are a traditional Japanese craft form. Watanabe has extended and expanded this craft into large sculptural forms. These are constructed from recycled and second-hand fabrics, which she says are plentiful and inexpensive but also fascinating as they have an unknown history. Her conscious use of these fabrics sees the raw materials become a central focus of the work.
Image: Motoko Watanabe, Untitled, 2015, recycled fabrics
Mike O'Kane: Just Playing
3 June - 23 July
Mike O’Kane last exhibited at the Eastern Southland Gallery 2012, with the ‘On Assignment’ photographic series featuring play-worn matchbox toys in life-sized modern scenes.
For this exhibition O’Kane has created two new series of works. The first has model trains pretending to be dynamic and authentic, while the second shows a somewhat darker view; playing with more or less fighting machines. The role of play takes centre stage in this work, and utilising Photoshop software has enabled him to create a playground of altered time and scale.
Mike O’Kane has a fine arts degree from Otago Polytechnic School of Art, where he majored in sculpture in 1997, with photography as his sub-major. For several years after graduating, he lectured part-time at the Otago Polytechnic School of Art, and School of Design.
Image: Mike O’Kane, Unknown Jet Over Tennyson Inlet, photograph