Last week I wrote about the continuing nature of change and, having just opened a new exhibition, change continues. It was with sadness that we farewelled the beautiful Lalique exhibition and with excitement we welcomed in What We Make of It: Hawke’s Bay Sculpture which opened last night.
This exhibition features a number of artists living in, and with connections to, Hawke’s Bay. Being a collective show there is incredible diversity in the forms, styles and messages throughout the exhibition. Inevitably a number of themes have emerged, including the prevalence of industrial materials used to create pieces within the display. These include solid large-scale works, such as the powerfully-formed shark titled ‘Shadow’ by Ben Foster. But ‘Cone, Cylinder and Sphere’ by Neil Dawson presents a more delicate style – hanging from the foyer ceiling these three steel works appear light and ethereal.
Nature and environmental issues can be found throughout the exhibition. ‘For Mana and Mokotuararo’ by Chris Bryant-Toi speaks directly to the harm happening in our natural environment, by utilising debris found on the foreshore within his work. Meanwhile Marion Courtillé’s group of three works expresses hope and faith in the strength of nature to outlast such maltreatment, with organic forms springing up from expertly crafted leather contours that recall arid landscapes.
There are social messages, with Louise Purvis’ work ‘Stepped Construction’ referencing homelessness, the goal and challenge of home ownership, followed by the heavy weight and ‘prison’ of a hefty mortgage. ‘Koha to Hōhā’ by Israel Tangaroa Birch is a response to government regulations that restrict Māori customary fishing rights (and is made out of chocolate fish).
Spiritual guardians are present with siblings Jacob and Ema Scott, who’ve both created works that draw upon their connection to tipuna and kaitiaki through very different mediums and styles.
There are other artists, styles and themes throughout this eclectic exhibition which fills the Nelson gallery, spreading across the landing, over the balcony and down to the foyer below. A number of works transfer across several themes, providing a variety of interesting ways to engage with this display.
Planning for this exhibition began when Jessica Mio, Art Curator, arrived here and noted the strong presence of sculptors and makers in Hawke’s Bay. This exhibition’s the product of Jess’ journey of exploration within the art community here and gives a frame of reference to the larger body of artists and work within the region.
Later this month, another sculptural work will open to the public: Indra’s Bow, an art installation to coincide with an exhibition featuring the museums’ holdings of Indian objects and artworks. This work is the product of collaboration between Auckland-based artist Tiffany Singh and Jo Blogg of Hawke’s Bay. Once opened, ‘Indra’s Bow’, coupled with What We Make Of It, will add colour, drama and aroma through the galleries.
What We Make Of It includes works to challenge the viewer, works which are light and comical, and others which provide poignant memories and strong references to family and childhood. We’re delighted to be able to present this small portion of the extensive talent within the region to the community.
Laura Vodanovich – Director, MTG Hawke’s Bay
Published in Hawke’s Bay Today Saturday 15 October 2016