Four Cool Things This Week: SITE

So technically not THIS week, but I would still like to mention four very cool works that I saw at the Otago Polytechnic School of Art SITE exhibition last month. Every year this exhibition seems to get better and better with students coming up with new ways to fill the spaces that the art school has to offer. I exhibited in SITE in 2009 and remember little more than the chaotic preparation, assessments, late nights running on coffee and adrenaline. So well done to all involved!
This year I was particularly impressed by the ceramic works I saw…

Tina Grubba’s The Ecstasy of St Theresa was a mesmerizing space to loose time in. In an almost-dark room lit with tiny ceramic cupfuls of  light, water flowed almost inaudibly over a fountain. The work referenced consciousness and the divine in a way that was beautifully quiet and subtle.

Jane Armour’s  Adversaria saw lots of little ceramic houses as symbols of ‘home’ sitting side-by-side as if in a linear timeline that spoke of moving from place to place. Each piece felt somehow traditional and personal.

Joe Worley’s  Northeast of Northeastland comprised a small handcrafted marquette with a comedic stop-motion animation. It told the story of the airship Italia expedition to the North Pole in 1928 in which a crash occurs resulting in a long comedy of errors with half the crew eventually being rescued.

Phoebe MacKenzie’s Untitled 5 min film loop used mirrored image and undulating playback speed to abstract the video out into hypnotic geometric forms. Juxtaposed against still and unmirrored images that expose the somewhat grotesque reality of beautification, the work draws on powerful female semiotics and construction of identity through consumer culture.

Of course it is impossible to choose only four artists whose work really caught my eye. I was also in awe of Agata Michalczyk’s series of narrative-embedded self portraits in Ten. James Bellany’s intuitive (and performative) way of working with paint is also something which I have not really seen until now (not that I know much about painting, at ALL). This organic process lends itself to works that have a depth and complexity; each painting an infinite space for reflection and discovery… so, so cool!

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