NZ artists showing here and there
Tracy Williams Ltd, New York
Until December 22
If you are in New York over the next couple of weeks you can get to see a major show of work by New Zealander Peter Stichbury, entitled Superfluous Man. The exhibition continues his investigation through painting and drawing into the psychological positioning and hierarchical manoeuvering of individuals in response to their social conditions and virtual environs.
Stichbury's subjects are contemporary archetypes, composite creations culled not only from media and pop-cultural images but also from literary sources.
He continues his unpacking of the avatar, this time through the lens of the literary archetypes – the Byronic hero and Turgenev's "superfluous man". The "disillusioned, anhedonic Superfluous Man" says Artinfo, "in Stichbury's hands, becomes a mirror of the modern-day tweeting, texting technocratic man."
In a recent review of the exhibition, critic and poet John Yau noted "Stichbury’s fascination with the world of self-representation in the age of digital media goes far beyond the surface – it is a meditation on the lengths to which we will go to avoid being human and aging, and how deeply human such attempts make us".
The works range from $US37,000 to $US55,000
Gow Langsford Gallery
Popular in working-class and suburban gardens for decades, the garden gnome is now somewhat an icon of popular culture. Widely associated with kitsch and the decorative, the little bearded pranksters with paunches are beloved friends that inhabit gardens worldwide.
Yet despite their Disney appeal, gnomes have a complex history that reaches far beyond cartoons and pop kitsch. Originating in medieval Europe, they were closely connected with the science of alchemy and were considered guardians of minerals and materials.
Sculptor Gregor Kregar is known for his art that challenge the traditional meaning of his subjects.
Often representing works in a way that displaces traditional interpretations, Kregar imbues his subjects in new and unfamiliar environments or surroundings.
In Reflective Synthesis two oversized gnomes, Thinker 2 and Thinker 3 ($55,000 each) dominate the gallery space in Kregar’s exploration of the trivial everyday aesthetic of his subject, in relation to its mystical and scientific history.
Made from high-quality stainless steel, their surfaces are mirror polished and highly reflective, and here the humble garden gnome is transformed into large gleaming Terminator-like creature that guards the space.
The artist’s grid work paintings and drawings have been expanded in this exhibition which includes several three-dimensional works, including painted furniture.
The sculptural paintings such as Red and White Box Panel ($2000) take on an architectural quality.
The grid paintings and drawings often seem to be like maps which explore and investigate the underlying notions of abstract geometric art.
These three-dimensional works are both models and explorations of the idea of abstract and functional architecture. They strip the grid-based architecture back to its essential elements of surface and structure.