Since the term culture shock was coined around 1960 much has been written about the process of adjustment to unfamiliar environments. To contemporary sensibilities with remote parts of the world visually, if not physically, accessible and familiar, the concept may seem overstated. Yet despite the globalisation of much contemporary culture, there is no doubt that there are internal challenges in navigating a world that is at once both recognisable and strange, familiar and alien.
In Hyperspace, Kate Woods and Kerry Ann Lee expose that dichotomy and share their travels and their processes of making sense of new places. Both artists employ strategies of constructed photography/photo collage to play out their ideas.
For Kerry Ann Lee, who is New Zealand Chinese, artist residencies in Taipei last year and in Shanghai in 2009, were disorientating – because of her appearance, she was greeted as local yet she felt ‘like a visitor from Mars’. In her residency at the Taipei Artist Village, she sought to work with the imagery that confronted her – a multitude of dislocated images revealing the complex and evolving identity of Taiwan – as a means of capturing the temporary nature of visitor engagement and what for her felt like ‘a fleeting fever dream’. Kerry Ann presents surreal new collage works in antique Chinese frames, video and slides.
Kate Woods is also interested in capturing something of the transient and this has been an ongoing theme in her practice. As she has looked to the history of art and the performative aspects of the land art movement, during her Asia:NZ residency at the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in Beijing last year she researched the beginnings of contemporary art in China. Becoming fascinated by the Xiamen Dada Group, who were an important part of the avant-garde 85' Wave Movement, she sought to re-enact the group’s events through the lens of issues of concern to contemporary artists such as excessive building, urbanisation and the forced removal of people from their properties. The resulting images carry her distinctive signature while speaking directly to her China experience.
Wellington based Kate Woods completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland in 2002. Kerry Ann Lee a Wellington artist, currently lecturing at the Otago Polytechnic School of Design, has a Masters of Design. Both artists have exhibited nationally and internationally.
Press release courtesy Bartley + Company Art.