We are delighted to start the 2019 exhibition programme with new work by Elliot Collins. This show draws on notions of memory and momentary observations. It memorialises the small - often fleeting experiences or feelings, and exhorts us savour the moment.
Over the past three years since his last exhibition in the gallery, Collins has been busy with a, now completed, PhD exploring historical monuments and memorials in the New Zealand landscape and their relationship to memory and identity. His new multi-media exhibition extends his notion of "memory markers" from a primary association with death into a celebration of life.
"I feel that these paintings can act as a salve for contemporary life, slowing and soothing," Dr Collins says.
The exhibition comprises oil paintings on board, unique photographs and copper discs that all with diverse references operate ways to create memorials that elevate the everyday and trigger connections and memories in the viewer. The inclusion of photographs is important: moments captured by the artist—a karaka tree photographed at midnight, a church—are isolated and asked to hold the place of important people, places, times or events.
The Waves by Virginia Wolfe—a book published in 1931 - is used by the artist as "a marker of great description". With its poetic and experimental prose, it, it operates almost as a prologue and like the artworks in the show, asks the reader to take the time to adjust to its pace and mode of expression.
Ann Paulsen, writing in an article in Art New Zealand Winter 2018, describes Collins' artworks as "collections of sensory perceptions and knowledge, waiting to be activated by the viewer. These memory markers operate as 'open' texts, with the possibility of, the provocation to discover, multiple meanings."
We are delighted also to launch a new billboard by Collins (in the courtyard) which reinforces the exhibition and plays with the multiple connotation of 'still' and the idea of bearing witness. Collins has exhibited nationally and internationally and has been the recipient of international artist residencies in France, The Netherlands and most recently India.
Press release courtesy Bartley + Company Art.