In celebration of the government’s announced intention to create the Kermadec Marine Sanctuary (only the 4th biggest in the world!) the Kermadec artists have put together a ‘final’ exhibition here in Wellington.
Hosted by Pataka, the show is on at the Academy Gallery on Queens Wharf from today
All the original artists (Phil Dadson, Bruce Foster, Fiona Hall, Gregory O’Brien, John Pule, John Reynolds. Elizabeth Thomson, Robin White and me of course) are represented, most with new works. I have new photographic works and a video instillation.
I would also highlyrecommend coming to one of the shows put on the the theatre group Company of Giants, who will be performing Rangitahua from the 15th until the 19th (2pm and 7pm). Book at iticket.co.nz. It is a great show that weaves it’s way among the audience and exhibition telling the story of the Kermadecs.
It is titled “Surface Tension” and represents the tussle between the ‘opposing currents’ of PEW/artists and the NZ Government as they meet at the line in the ocean that is the Kermadecs. The calls of the various proponents for and against can be heard over the unerring rhythmic beat of the ocean. At one stage the debate escalates and the waters redden but the ocean roars back and returns bluer than ever. It is deliberately left inconclusive.
The soundtrack is actually constructed from recordings I made when we were “hands to bathe” (swimming) on the Tropic of Capricorn – slowed down, layered and played backwards in an attempt to represent an inverted take on the moment (i.e. when viewed from below). The video was shot using my home-made lens.
Dame Robin White painting mural as part of school program. Devonport 2013
As part of the Kermadec: Hands to Bathe exhibition we (Robin White, Greg O’Brien, Bruce Foster, Fiona Hall, Elizabeth Thomson and I) helped the Navy Museum to run workshops for local schools. We talked the kids through the show and worked with them as they created their own art and collectively created a mural for the museum. Great fun and a great opportunity for me to photograph the other artists at work (see photo of Robin above).
A good third of the works on display have never been shown before including these two prints by me. Sea change (above) and Gunner John (below) were both taken on the HMNZS Otago as we approached Raoul Island. I think the talented Greg O’Brien best sums up the works when he described Sea change like this: “Taken a few nautical miles to the south of Raoul Island in the half-light of the early morning, O’Hara’s photograph of the bow of the HMNZS Otago evokes earlier epochs of marine voyaging as well as recording the moment when, just beyond the picture frame, Raoul Island first came into view. The timelessness of this encounter was enhanced by the artist’s decision to use a modern-day digital camera to which he attached an old-fashioned lens.”
Gunner John, John Reynolds on the HMNZS Otago, 2011
Both available as limited edition prints. Image size 363 x 240mm.
Framed $400. Unframed $200.
“Full fathom five” 2012 Photographic three part collage on archival inkjet print on rag. Framed size 1375 x 580mm
For the current City Gallery exhibition I have created a new edition of Full Fathom Five. Much bigger than the previous print of this image this edition comprises three separate large prints floated together in one frame. Both editions are available for sale – details here
Full Fathom Five is a photo of Raoul Island in New Zealand’s remote Kermadec region. It was taken from the HMNZS Otago as we departed for Tonga. Inspired by the Bell family it was taken with a 100 year old camera lens on a modern digital SLR and features a hand inscribed quote from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” – one of the few books the Bell family took with them the Raoul (then Sunday Island) in the late 1800′s.
The Kermadec exhibition has finally made it to Wellington! Nothing bets a hometown crowd and what a crowd it was at the opening – absolutely packed!
We take over the entire ground floor of Wellington’s City Gallery for the next 4 months. 4 October 2012 – 10 February 2013.
This time the show is titled “Wakey, Wakey, Wakey” – a call for action to the politicians of this fair land that it is time for action. Time to create the world’s largest marine reserve around the Kermadec trench (learn all about it on the Kermadec website)
More work inspired by swimming on the Tropic of Capricorn during the Kermadec trip. I wanted to capture the magical colour generated in the water by the propulsion jets of the RHIBs and our own dives. These a stills from the same studio photoshoot as the video work “Hands to Bathe”
Still a bit of a work in progress but showing promise so far. Really best if you wear headphones – also helps if you can imagine that it is projected really huge on a wall in front of you!
This piece was inspired by swimming on the Kermadec trip as crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. (You can see actual video footage of us swimming in Bruce’s videos).
While swimming I found myself fascinated by the stunning blueness of the water and the iridescent traces created by air-bubbles as we dived in. I found myself visualizing how this strange event might look to the inhabitance of the water below us.
The sound track is based on the actual sound recordings made at the time but slowed down and played backwards to complete the inversion of the scene. Somewhat appropriately it sounds very much like whale-song.
Watch this space to see where this project ends up…