Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wild Thing

The art of Maurice Sendak brought to life.

With the Arcade Fire. Yes.

- Agnes

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I promise...

this is the last of them...actually no, no I can't promise that.

Construction meets minimalism, again.

This one was spotted on Mayoral Drive.

- Agnes

Cut and Paste

Photos from Trish's "Is there anybody here who'll listen to my story?" exhibition at Artstation, an experiment in storytelling through images. You may remember her as our old theory teacher and from this show that she had last year.

I was, unfortuantely, too tired to participate wholeheartedly as we had spent the day trekking through Gibb's Sculpture Park, climbing Sol Lewitts and fondling Anish Kapoors.

However, I do hope that you have more energy when you visit the show. It is on till April 8. Ch-ch-check it out.

- Agnes

Feature Friday: Fluoroflatables

A video from the studios.

Elliot is working on creating atmospheres and spaces at the moment. He's also been getting friendly with the air gun. Enjoy.

- Agnes

Monday, March 23, 2009


Although Claudia and I visited the United States over the break, one of our own, Laxmi, went on a very different route of holiday. She traversed back home to India. Asia is an interesting place to be looking at in terms of contemporary art so I was keen to get my hands on her documentation. After enough nagging, I managed to procure some photographs of her visit, including a trip to an Indian Contemporary Art Gallery.

Laxmi always talks about the beautiful saturation of colour in India, something that she continues to explore in her own painting practice. And it's also interesting to see the sculpture being produced as well. The precarious angle of the giant boulder in the 5th picture is my favourite of the bunch, something that I'm exploring in my own drawings as of late. So there you have it, India seems to have something for everyone!

- Agnes

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wheels on the Bus...

The Artlink aka the 'pretty bus' (as coined by a passenger who looked about four yeras old), designed by Sara Hughes

Simon getting off after a long shift

The Peace Marchers, yet another surprise we did not know about

Last year, I had expressed once that if all this art stuff didn't really pan out for me, I would go and be a bus driver instead. I imagined I would be one of those super-awesome-cool bus drivers that people actually liked, you know, the ones that people did the thumbs up to when they drove past and was always friendly and asked how your day was. I thought it would be a good way of meeting all sorts of people, and getting to know their stories. And I do like to drive.

With this in mind, I had my dreams realised when I was asked to help out with the Artlink, a bus that takes people to galleries around the CBD for the Auckland Festival. This was my chance to get a feel for the bus in a way which was not that of a passenger. I didn't get to drive the Artlink, but that's really only a minor hiccup in my testing the fact that we got to utilise these sweet walkie talkies made up for that.

Thus our day began. And with a giant crane blocking the front of Sue Crockford, we had to relocate to another departing point. Nothing that a seasoned driver would have difficulty dealing with of course. Go with the flow etc.

Then came the peace marchers, causing blockage. Yet another day on Queen Street for a Bussie, right?

But finally, the conversing with people. A man from Tauraunga, a music graduate from Kaitaia...story upon story of why people were where they were, what they thought of the exhibitions etc. Interesting people, all of whom, obviously, were active pursuers of art discussion.

Karena's 'Orchestra'

In between shifts on the bus, I was able to catch the beginning performance/artist's talk/workshop by Karena Way. She talked about being drawn to specific sounds and the ways in which she collects and manipulates it. Highlights were learning about electromagnetic pencils, where the graphite is used to conduct and produce frequency sounds depending on where you completed the connection. It's like playing the keyboard on a piece of paper! So, so clever! Why are you not already in my life?

I also got talking with the actual driver of the Artlink, who had a very positive outlook on his job. He seemed very easy going, parting wise words of wisdom about how to deal with the naughties and bad days on the road.

But by the end of the day, I was slightly dehydrated and starting to rethink the possibilities of enjoying being employed by MAXX...

In hindsight, my fantasy of bus driving was slightly naïve. Obviously I had not thought about the hours of traffic (queue the Queen Street Marchers) and the regular angries who like to think bus drivers and parking wardens are on a similar low-life level. But it wasn't until after spending 6 hours riding the ARTlink over and over again, that I realised, it wasn't so much those reasons, as it was the absolute repetitiveness of the job. In the 25 degree heat. Although I did have fun talking to people, it really wasn't as glamorous as I thought it would be. And in reality, there's no way I would be a cool bus driver, because I would be more inclined to being the kind that gets pleasure from soaking pedestrians by driving through puddles and throwing change angrily at passengers who give me $20 notes. Kudos to bus drivers though, you guys rock.

In the meantime, I'll devise another Plan B of 'Jobs I could do if art doesn't work out for me'. Any suggestions??

- Agnes

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Get me to Christchurch on Time

In the flurry of the last two weeks, I had only briefly glanced at an email informing me of a new space opening up in Christchurch. It wasn't until today that it nabbed my eye again and I'm glad it did because I've now placed it on the 'Official reasons why I need to visit Christchurch this year' list.

It is opened by Paintlust who describes themselves as so:

Paintlust is a painting project. Paintlust is a group of international artists and curators whose practices show the possibilities of contemporary painting, in a time when location and nationality do not neccessarily go hand in hand. These are artists and curators whose practices exist everywhere and anywhere, during a time where painting can be anything and everything. Paintlust will take the form of exhibitions, temporary project spaces, and participate in curatorial projects around the world.

A paint collective promoting contemporary practices across nations? Sounds good to me! Another source I can leech research from? Oh. Yes.

This space is only temporary, open till mid-July. Right now, they're hosting The Cooking Show which is a collab between Japanese artists Limocon and NZ artist Seung Yul Oh. Looks like a sweet sweet show and if anyone has visited and would like to tell us (painters stuck in Auckland in the meantime) how it is, muchos appreciation.

Preferably, this really needs to go on the 'Official reasons why I need to visit Christchurch before July' list, just slightly above the 'Class Trip to Wellington' possibility and the 'Get me to Melbourne in September!' project. Too many places, not enough monetary funds.

- Agnes

Construction continued...

Ariane alerted me to a wonderful construction site at the bottom of High street via a pxt titled 'Painting in Architecture'. I didn't really know how awesome it was until I went past it yesterday. It's draped beautifully. Yellow now trumps orange. Agreed. We are also construction crazy. Double Agreed.
- Agnes

Friday, March 20, 2009


As a farming country, this video puts us to shaaaame. Where's our extreme sheephearding??


- Agnes

Thursday, March 19, 2009


After attending a full lecture theatre of people (some of whom had traversed far and wide, or really, just over the road from Elam) listening to Gary Hill talk about his practice, I was seriously anticipating the opening of this show. Mostly because the artist talk was less about the ideas surrounding his practice, and more a 'show and tell' of works he had done over the years. Not that I'm complaining too much, as I wasn't so familiar with his work (and the talk proved to be a good introduction into the empire of Gary Hill) but I was hoping to get more of a feel of his practice through the exhibition and this, being the commencing show for St Paul Street this year, was bound to be a goodie.

Gallery One is host to a disorientating work projected onto different walls at breakneck speed. It is a place where you can't really stay for long, lest you wish to get ill. Gallery Two, on the other hand, is slightly more comforting, pitch black with a viewing sofa and a changing roster of works depending on the day of the week. Many of these works were done up to two decades ago. My favourite so far is the one pictured above, Site Recite which screened at the opening and on Fridays.
The one thing I particularly enjoy about Hill's videos tend to be the marrying of language and video. When the two come together to create what seems like a whole entity, particularly when he moves or changes the video according to the syncopation and syllables of the verbal word. Alan has since introduced me to Laurie Anderson, whom apparently is friends with Hill. They run along similar linguistical pathways. We now happily blast her tunes in studio. Check out Walking and Falling and White Lilly.
- Agnes

Sunday, March 15, 2009


The Auckland Festival is already half over so we thought we'd share our favourites so far. Mind you, we've only had the chance to catch a tiny percentage of the whole thing (I am yet to even step foot in the Spiegeltent) but the stuff we have seen so far has been impressive. These are my top 3 picks:

1. Art Crazy Nation at Seed Gallery is the kind of exhibition you can bring the kids to. Which saves on babysitting costs. Nice. It's also a growing hub for bringing out the lego enthusiast in people. And we all know that everyone, at some point in their life, has felt an affinity towards the colourful pieces of buildable plastic. I used to make marble tracks and model houses. The Little Artists, however, get their pleasure from lobster phones and the YBA's. Much cooler. Apparently they spend a lot of time on ebay searching for that particular Star Wars or Harry Potter Lego piece that they need to make up someone like Andy Warhol. I didn't even know ebay sold individual pieces of lego. Apparently it's a thriving market.

2. The Arrival was also another show you could bring the kids to. See, the festival is child-friendly. This is based on the book by Shaun Tan, and for a theatre show with practically no dialogue, it succeeds in communicating instead, with movement, puppets, shadow, limbs, planks of wood, sound, rolls of paper and anything else etc. etc. etc. Criticism has been that perhaps, instead of actors, they should have hired dancers. But the Red Leap Theatre was able to bypass such a need because the show was seamless. Each actor had the task of having to switch from character to object to even embodying the weather in a matter of seconds. The convincing and inventive natures of whatever they were at any given point was the success of the show. You didn't doubt that they could have been a vacuum cleaner in one scene and then a raindrop in another.

3. Artspace's Mash Up is probably the favourite from the Visual Arts bunch. There's a great video work from the artist Shimabuku, who rips an octopus from the comforting bosom of the sea in order to force on it a tour around Tokyo. He then returns it to the sea, looking a little worse for wear. The funny thing is that the octopus ends up spending most of it's time in a polystyrene box, unable to view Tokyo properly. Such is the precious failure of the artist as tour guide.

Voila! AK09 happening at a theatre, art gallery, aotea square near you.
- Agnes


Linda T. and Darren in front of the photograph Linda claims she is 'going to purchase'.

The Vostok May 15, 1960

Anna Miles, being our theory tutor this year, informed us of an opening at her gallery last wednesday via group email. Something which i'm glad she did because somehow I seemed to have dropped off the mailing list. Nevertheless, Glass' Confusus turbatus is a showing of 10 works with some pieces going back as far as the early nineties till more recently, last year.

Those familiar with Glass' work knows that he is a crafter of all things camera. A handout showing text from his soon to be released book A Field Guide to Camera Species provides interesting notes on the make of such cameras (which in the past have been displayed as sculptures) and the resulting photographs. I like that Darren isn't afraid to use the words 'Fantastically fuzzy' when describing his work showing once again that alliteration is your friend.

My favourite piece, shown above, was conceived from a stereoscopic camera meaning you can make like an idiot and cross your eyes in order to see it in 3d. Funky Fact: the Vostok is a particular kind of spacecraft built by the Russians that funnily enough, was built to be used as a camera platform.

Our photographer friend, Natasha, is lucky enough to actually own an original Darren Glass pinhole camera. She told us about how she has been saving it all summer, till uni started and she is able to become more involved in her own practice, before using it. But I'm curious to see what she does with it. We will have to be patient. There may be updates on this front...

In the meantime, check out the real Darren Glass prints, on till the 4th of April.

- Agnes

Friday, March 13, 2009

Feature Friday: Oh It's Back

Photographs from Amber's studio space taken on a Friday morning while waiting for late running tutorials. Oh Ian.


Remember this post back in October? Well turns out orange and blue is the way things go in the construction world. Lookie here, Auckland Art Gallery flies the flag for generic construction colours. It's always the same shade of orange and blue too. Who exactly decides these things? Pantone? Fulton Hogan? Oh my....FH are too adorning the blu-orange colouring.

Meanwhile, Plaster Tech Systems Ltd. in an attempt to be different and in-deeeevidu-owwwwwl have added some complementary coloured constructions into the mix:

Pink and Yellow. I'm forecasting these as the new building colours for 2009. Yes it's veeery Fash.

- Agnes

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Stag Duties

A few of us have been largely familiarising ourselves with Terry Urbahn's The Sacred Hart in an effort to become good Auckland Festival attendants. The installation is open from 10am-10pm which means that those of us doing night shifts have had an interesting time observing in-church happenings such as bellringing rehearsals and 'Graham' the homeless man who always has a plethora of tea mugs that he likes to leave peppered around St. Matts.


- The Stag for this installation isn't the original (as it was in the Govett Brewster) but instead, a mould of the original with a human leg. Story goes that the original stag used to have only three legs, but one day, someone replaced it with a leg that according to Urbahn, looked like that of a human. This rumour spread like wildfire and it wasn't until Urbahn went up to inspect the stag a few years back, that he realised he was completely wrong. It was merely a badly whittled stag leg. His bad.

- The stained glass window looking down onto the installation was designed by Phillip Trusttum, Urbahn's tutor back at Ilam.

- A video showing the movements of the stag's shadow on the revolving plinth. Urbahn commented on the turning as a way of showing a passage of time. We noticed, when lit at the right angles, the stag turned into a faux sun-dial. How appropriate.

While we were closing up tonight, we had a slightly frazzled girl rush in carrying a parrot on her shoulder. Only in the City.

- Agnes

Making Up

Spotted outside WE lecture theatres. Seeing as we didn't get to spend much time with Magritte's The Treachery of Images, this will have to do for now.
Is or is this not a pipe? Any plumbers in the house?
- Agnes

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Timely Post

So many of us here are lovers of the humble postcard. Claudia was vigilant enough to pick up one or five from every place, museum, tourist attraction and city we visited in America. I myself, am always on the lookout for the random ones that have already been through a ride in the post, preferably to someone else that is not me. Call it a sneaky voyeurism on my part...Not to mention, I'm a wee fangirlie for the 'I Got Up' series. Plus, I've been using one sent from my holidaying friend in Cambodia as a bookmarking alternative recently.

But when I came across these on the net today, I couldn't help but wish someone was awesome enough to send one to me. It's a postcard with a timer for recording the time it took to send and receive! Oh dear, I think I just died.

The idea is from Dag Design Lab. They do a mean salt shaker and milk bottle as well.

Time and measures of time...

If time were measured in blog posts, they would tell me that this is our 100th post and that 100 posts earlier, back in August, we were just a few people sitting around a computer listening to Julian rave about the wonders of art blogging.

100 posts later and we're a still just a bunch of people, except this time, we're sitting around studio watching the Backstreet Boys on VHS.

Oh evolution. What a difference 100 posts make.

- Agnes

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tortoise and the Hare

What are our painting graduates from last year up to?? Only four months from finishing their BVA's , a few have already started to build a name for themselves. Talking with Lisa, she spent the summer squirreling away on a solo show down in Huntly, complete with a visit from the Mayor and a spot in the local newspaper. Thats more coverage than a bottle of Watties tomato sauce on a $2 sausage. She also managed to sell most of her work, as well as nab a large handful of commissions for this year. Things are indeed looking bright for her in our recession-ridden times.

But lookie here, a mysterious txt from an unknown number alerted me to the opening of Slow at Tim Melville, a show with Wayne Youle, Elliot Collins and paint graduate Linden Simmons. Looks like he also spent the summer producing a new collection of paintings, following on from where he left us last year in the Graduate Show. Something was slightly different about these though, something more intense, more violent but smaller in scale. A ferocity I had never seen before. Perhaps tinged with the depressive changing of economic times, natural disaster and turbulant powers. Linden is able to encapsulate the delicate nature and subtle nuance of the watercolour medium; the glint of a car door, a flurry of smoke over a cityscape, luring the viewer into a false sense of security. But it is an injurious romance. And one I come back to, knowing what will be revealed is not what I will normally revel in.

It is funny how the title of the show is the way in which I always view Linden's work. Slow is how it unravels. And I think it is only because when first confronted with it, I am in a state of denial. It is only now, when safely removed from the works themselves, that I can ponder the impact they have had on me. What is it about myself that refuses to see the world?

Elliot's paintings on the other hand were based around a codebreaking system, turning words into patterns. I had managed to break the first word of a painting which happened to be 'The'. Prizes for anyone who can give me the rest*.

- Agnes

* Did I say Prize? I really meant eternal thanks. We really have nothing to give but love, and maybe the odd pav or two.


With a special appearance from the lovely Ian: Paint tutor extraordinaire

Vaimaila Urale's Tattoo Sessions #3 in Black Studio 2008

Shots from a show called People/Language/People currently on at Artstation that has involved one of our BVA own, Vaimaila Urale.

The show seemed to be gathering around dialogue and language (obviously) that revolves around pacific culture and heritage, putting together painters, sculptors, performers and even authors and poets in a neatly curated show.

One of Maila's pieces was a video, Tattoo Sessions #3 in Black Studio, that she had previously shown in our 'pre-pilot' that we did last year, and it was interesting to see it in a completely different context than the show we hastily put together last August.

Perhaps I slightly preferred it in the previous setting, mostly because I felt that it was more intimate and touching in that Cross Street space. It was a smaller viewing screen (I'm the type to be enticed by all things small) and the darker corners of the gallery made for an easier transportation of the mind. An easier path of drawing in...I almost feel that the work is a little lost in amongst the Artstation gallery, especially with a handful of other video works vying for attention at the same time. Nevertheless it's really such a wonderful, concise piece and if you happen to catch this show, make sure not to bypass it, but instead, give it the time it deserves.

- Agnes