Art Seen: July 04

In this week's Art Seen, James Dignan looks at exhibitions from the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Gary Tricker, and Angela Burns.

Once More With Feeling, by Rebecca Baumann
Once More With Feeling, by Rebecca Baumann
''In Motion'', various artists (Dunedin Public Art Gallery)

''In Motion'' presents five large installation, with an emphasis on motion and viewer interaction.

Only two of the works could properly be called kinetic art, both by Rebecca Baumann. In the smaller of these, coloured cards are presented in an array, each card automatically turning to reveal a new colour after a short delay. In the larger work, a row of vertical perspex prisms lit by spotlights rotates to cast multicoloured patterns across the gallery, turning the venue into a startling new space with every turn.

Viewer participation coupled with computer graphics is the essence of Haines + Hinterding's Geology, with gestures and movements by the visitor changing their view of a digital landscape. This work has strong links to immersive virtual reality technology. Sara Hughes, in All My Favourite Shapes, has created a play area in which the visitor may create their own artistic experiments by placing magnetic coloured shapes on the gallery walls.

The final work is an exchange project by Tiffany Singh, in which prints created by the artist are exchanged with goods donated by the public. As the exhibition continues, the display will gradually change from one of prints to one of donations. The donated goods will eventually be passed on to the Red Cross programme for new migrants.

 

Coastal Scape, by Gary Tricker
Coastal Scape, by Gary Tricker
''Landscape Impressions'', Gary Tricker (Moray Gallery)

A series of gentle watercolour images depicting the landscape of the southern North Island is currently showing at Moray Gallery.

Gary Tricker's art emphasises the deep blues and greens of the land and sea, and the strong emotive feeling of atmosphere and depth created by these colours. His images, many of them of the coast between Porirua and the Manawatu, are - as his exhibition's title indicates - strongly impressionistic. Although clearly with a representational base, the scenes depicted combine this with a looser, more abstract quality.

Part of this quality, as the artist himself suggests, is the result of his chosen medium. The unforgiving nature of watercolour, coupled with the quick application which it necessitates, makes for a series of works where the land and sea are glimpsed rather than realised, and where the mind is left to fill in the detail.

The resulting images have a soft, dreamlike quality, with the horizon between land and sea often being the only hard edge. White gull-like forms float over a hazy land drenched in the mists of distance and atmosphere, punctuating the blurry reveries of a land where the forms are half forgotten but the emotions still remain.

 

Jacks Bay, Winter, by Angela Burns
Jacks Bay, Winter, by Angela Burns
''Falls and Meanders: A Journey to the Catlins'', Angela Burns (Gallery De Novo)

If Gary Tricker's works are impressionistic, the same term applies doubly to Angela Burns's landscapes. Her works at most hint at representationalism, with any concrete landscape forms replaced almost entirely by strong washes of colour.

The artist's two Jack's Bay works, depicted in winter and in mist, do suggest the forms of the land, but is the coloured brush strokes which provide most of the impact of her images. This is even more the case with her image of Curio Bay, in which the sand and petrified wood are reduced to powerful gestural lines of ochre and brown.

Intriguingly, it is the works which move furthest from this gestural approach for which Burns is best known which may provide the most clues to her influences. Cascade reduces rapidly flowing water to a bold colourfield, and in images such as River Meanders and especially Purakaunui Falls there is perhaps a nod to the art of Colin McCahon.

Whether this insight is accurate or not, it is definitely the case that the works are strongly evocative of the rugged coast and climate of the Catlins, and pieces such as Misty Jacks Bay stay in the memory of the viewer as vivid, dreamlike impressions of the land.

 

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