16 March 2015 – 11 April 2015, Bowen Galleries, Wellington.
By Judith Yeh
For me it is hard not to walk into this exhibition without feeling a sense of sentimental familiarity. Something everyone should know about Dunedin before we get into the depth of this review, coming from a very recent Dunedinite – is that it is a small and homely town. Every third person you meet will either be an artist or a musician, or both; and they will be your best of friends almost immediately. From then forward, it is absolutely impossible to wander the streets without seeing them on a daily basis. I hope my close experience with the exhibition can put forward some insight for you.
The works shown are selected from Dunedin’s small yet dynamic Inge Doesburg Gallery. Inge Doesburg, a practice artist herself, supports a range of artists from well established to newly graduated. This eclectic nature is clearly shown the moment upon entering the gallery space. One’s immediate impulse can be described as walking into the lounge of an art fanatic who appreciates art as an ideology or a lifestyle, regardless of its style, form or size. Work of artists: framed or unframed, miniature or large, paintings, drawings, photography, sculptures and paper cutouts disperse all through this less than 6m2 space. It is as if Pandora’s box has been opened, blown up, and then barfed everywhere. But yet, there is a comprehensible cohesion to all of this disorder.
The impression one first encounters is the abstract work of Zuna Wright. Her mixture of warm colours accompanied with irrational yet considered brush strokes; alongside Motoko Kikkawa’s Rice Collar, welcomes the audience into the art shrine of Dunedin. Notably, there is a thoughtful transition within the room. The vibrancy and colourfulness slowly morphs into the infamous Dunedin style – monochromatic, moody and grunge. While in contrast, the more colourful part of the exhibition consisting of Kim Pieter’s dreamlike and philosophical paintings and Motoko Kikkawa’s exquisitely pensive Japanese style paper cutouts, brings tranquility and calm into the chaos. Across the room however the large, cloudy, black and white photographs by Inge Doesburg stand side by side by one another; immediately portraying a sense of isolation.
Interestingly enough, South Island artists in the past, are known for large landscape works. However, very little of so is present in this exhibition. The isolation geographically forces and allows them to evolve and adapt without falling into conformity. Surprises are constantly being discovered all through this beautiful little exhibition.
Images taken from Bowen Galleries website