Art seen: August 13

“Traversing Particles 2015”, by Tomas Richards
“Traversing Particles 2015”, by Tomas Richards

''A Tragic Delusion'', Deanna Dowling, Tomas Richards, Cobi Taylor and Robyn Jordaan (Blue Oyster Art Project Space)

This month, Blue Oyster director Chloe Geogehan curates new works by four emerging artists in ''A Tragic Delusion'', a show that explores developments in contemporary art practices and the connection between galleries and alternative exhibition spaces in New Zealand.

''A Tragic Delusion'' consequently occupies the Blue Oyster's gallery space and a derelict loft space above Dutybound on Crawford St.

Tomas Richards links the two spaces through his performative installation in which the artist has exchanged objects between the two spaces during the first week of the exhibition. Deanna Dowling's work is found in the streets inbetween.

Drawing from the foundational history of Dunedin, Dowling has filled cracks in the street outside the two spaces with ground-up gold and Oamaru stone.

Cobi Taylor and Robyn Jordaan exclusively occupy the loft space on Crawford St. By exhibiting outside the professional gallery, these two artists reference the rich history of alternative exhibition spaces in New Zealand.

Taylor's works, a large painting that is installed to hang from the rafters in the space and a painted pane of glass installed over a bricked window are titled Definitively Unfinished, alluding to the impermanency often associated with transient art works, performances, installations and spaces.


“Church Extension, Pukeawa Hall, South Otago (2012)”, by Samantha Matthews
“Church Extension, Pukeawa Hall, South Otago (2012)”, by Samantha Matthews

''Don't Quite Belong'', Samantha Matthews (Mint Gallery)

''Don't Quite Belong'' by photographer Samantha Matthews presents a series of unembellished scenes from contemporary New Zealand.

A church hall, a senior citizens centre, a quarry and a rural street are among the ordinary places that Matthews brings together in a nostalgic collection of images.

The scenes are located throughout Otago, but Matthews visions are distinctly indistinct and could be from anywhere in rural New Zealand.

There is an unfounded familiarity in images such as Pukeawa Hall, South Otago and Door, Senior Citzens Centre, Balclutha, places I am sure I have never been to but can't help but feel I know.

Although her images are devoid of people, Matthews is able to capture a strong sense of humanity in these dilapidated places.

Kitchen rules, a wheely bin waiting to be taken in, and a handpainted sign allude to people that have occupied these spaces.

Some of the spaces are broken down and beyond repair, and in some cases have been demolished and replaced in the time since the photographs were taken.

Although there is nothing remarkable about these scenes, the emotive response associated with these places is at the centre of their documentation.

Matthews records an everyday history of rural New Zealand, but it is history nonetheless.


“pocket star”, by Miranda Parkes
“pocket star”, by Miranda Parkes

''pocket star'', Miranda Parkes (State of Princes)

Christchurch artist Miranda Parkes is known for blurring the lines between sculpture and painting through colourful abstract works.

A new exhibition at State of Princes sees the artist continue to blend genres through an atypical installation that litters the gallery's floor with found objects.

''pocket star'' is a surprisingly intimate collection of detritus that Parkes has collected over several years.

Faded receipts and scraps of paper are smoothed and protected by glass covers, small pieces of refuse have been dipped in gold paint, and odd shards of metal and stone have been posed to stand upright.

Parkes uses the gallery space to focus the viewer's gaze on objects that would usually be left discarded.

A broken cassette tape, a library card, cigarette butts, odd brackets and joints are now works of art through Parkes' fastidious treatment.

Carefully arranged across the floor of the gallery, Parkes makes constellations out of her found treasures.

This is an installation, but there is a strong sense of performance in the work, as one can imagine Parkes' habitual actions in looking for and collecting these items.

The viewer then replicates Parkes' actions by carefully stepping through the items with their eyes firmly focused towards the floor.


 by Samantha McKegg

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