Art seen: July 10

"Elizabeth Taylor No.1", by Rachel H.Allen
"Elizabeth Taylor No.1", by Rachel H.Allen
''CRASH'', Rachel H. Allan (BRUCE)

Rachel H. Allen exhibits black-and-white photographic works along with a video piece in CRASH, her first solo show at the artist-run space BRUCE.

Using what is now considered antiquated image-making techniques, Allan has produced her photographs through the delicate process of large format and darkroom-based photography.

By using less common 44 x 54 negatives and exposing the images through Vintage Silver-Gelatine papers, the process is beyond recent revivals of film photography.

As a result of this processing, the images are delicately toned and have a sort of awkward intimacy with the staged subject.

At the centre of ''CRASH'' is Elizabeth Taylor No. 1, 2 and 3, three studies of Rescue Annie, a CPR training system.

The face of the training doll is a contemporary reproduction of L'Inconnue de la Seine, an infamous 1880s death mask of an unidentified drowned young woman that showed an unnerving and delicate smile.

Conscious of this tragic origin, Allan has restored poignancy akin to the original death mask.

Her images show Rescue Annie with signs of a frantic resuscitation.

While the doll was never alive, there is a sense of desperation and urgency in the images.

The aesthetic result of the photographs' development process adds to this intense effect.

As an artist-run space, BRUCE does not have regular hours, but I do recommend you arrange a viewing with curator Ted Whittaker though bruce.studios@gmail.com or 027 699-8215.


 

"Haeata/Dawn", "Porehu/Dusk", by Paul Dibble
"Haeata/Dawn", "Porehu/Dusk", by Paul Dibble

''Significant Works 2014'', various artists (Milford Galleries Dunedin)

Forty-nine works by 31 artists come together in what Milford Galleries is calling a ''museum standard exhibition''.

The exhibition sprawls through the gallery space and overflows into its offices.

Milford Galleries has not been afraid to place a number of large-scale works across several mediums in close proximity to each other.

What could become overwhelming is actually an extremely impressive display of the variety and quality of artists that Milford Galleries represents.

''Significant Works 2014'' is an appealing exhibition for anyone interested in keeping up with recent activities in New Zealand art as many of the works have been selected from recent exhibitions: Reuben Paterson, Jenna Packer, Joanna Braithwaite, Nigel Brown, Karl Maughan and Paul Dibble have all had solo exhibitions at Milford Galleries in the past 12 months.

The most recent works include paintings by Dick Frizzell and Michael Hight that were produced specifically for this exhibition.

Another work being exhibited for the first time is Shigeyuki Kihara's Mass Grave, Vaimoso, her first photographic work in this larger format.

These newest works are especial treats for anyone who is a regular visitor to Milford Galleries.

Perhaps the most interesting pieces, however, are older treasures that have emerged from the galleries storage.

A rare 1973 portrait by Toss Woollaston is exhibited along with a work from Bill Sutton's well-known 1986-88 Plantation Series and a work from Christine Webster's 1995-96 landmark series Black Carnival.


 

"Where the Ice King Reigns", by Arthur Wardle
"Where the Ice King Reigns", by Arthur Wardle
''Wild Life'', various artists (Dunedin Public Art Gallery)

Curated by Aaron Kreisler, ''Wild Life'' is as much a show of the variety of works found in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery's holdings, as it is an exhibition of artists studying the visceral nature of man's connection with animals.

Divided loosely across three spaces, the exhibition features a series of 17th- to 19th-century European etchings and engravings of studies and artistic impressions of animals, and early modern to contemporary paint and photographic works of animal and animal-like subjects.

While the older engravings are intriguing, it is the more contemporary works that are most fascinating, especially when considered together.

Seraphine Pick's untitled bird-woman and Ricky Swallow's watercolours, which depict monkeys dressed and behaving like men, borrow the animals' characters to present human identities.

Many of the works are also simply stunning images of animals.

Two works by lifelong animal painter Arthur Wardle are beautiful naturalistic oil paintings of exotic creatures.

Domestic animals are made equally impressive, like Peter Hannken's large photographic print Survey.

The highly detailed image shows a smug-looking farm dog surveying land from a hilltop.

The works span empirical, spiritual and psychological studies of animals and their relationship with man.

The wildlife featured ranges from symbolic to naturalistic to anthropomorphic in ongoing explorations of man's own understanding of self and his or her relationship with nature.

 

 - by Samantha McKegg 

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