Recalibrating takes its title from an earlier Brett Graham exhibition Recalibrate which he said was "about readjusting our sights to see differently". It's a notion and a process that feels highly appropriate for this first exhibition in our new location. We are recalibrating and the artists in this exhibition offer us fresh perspectives on the way we view history or culture – reminding of different world view and narratives that have most been untold or suppressed.
Brett Graham's works in this exhibition bring together ancient and contemporary technologies and beliefs to explore power relations and the universal treatment of indigenous peoples. The two Rukuhia sculptures employ the form of high-tech underwater scanners in a mythical quest for the location of Hui Te Ananui, the house of the god of the sea and the original site of carving. The pencil drawing Te Hokioi, taking its name from to the extinct giant predatory eagle and a 19th century Maori newspaper of the Waikato King movement, applies distinctive carving patterns to a stealth bomber - one of the most recognisable symbols of western military might. The Recalibrate sculptures (in the hall way) made during an artist residency in the US provide an aerial view of US Airforce calibration charts Reminiscent of weaving patterns, Graham says they recalculate our vision of the people who were dispossessed with the creation of the United States.
Dr Brett Graham (Ngati Koroki Kahukura), one of New Zealand's most respected sculptors, has exhibited extensively both locally and internationally. Highlights include, Aniwaniwa, at the 2007 Venice Biennale with Rachael Rakena, the 2006 and 2010 Biennale of Sydney and the Asia Pacific Triennale in Brisbane in 1996. His current exhibition occupying all of the Govett Brewster Gallery in New Plymouth has drawn widespread critical acclaim with Te Papa CE, Courtney Johnston, describing it as offering "one of the most profound art experiences" of her life.
Joyce's Campbell's Te Taniwha works represent a collaboration between Campbell and historian Richard Niania from the Ruakituri Vallery in Wairoa. Writing about the series, Niania said Te Taniwha is woven from multiple threads drawing on the mythology, history and ecology of Te Urewera, the Ruakituri Valley and Te Reinga Falls at the headwaters of the Wairoa River. Campbell's hand-printed images of local landforms have, he said, deep cultural significance to tāngata whenua and are imbued with kōrero - " a rock is just a rock until it is imbued with korero". The project, which traces the search for two great, serpentine water species, the Taniwha and the tororauiri or longfin eel, also binds together the ancient and mythic past with the present via whakapapa of local people.
Joyce Campbell is an interdisciplinary artist working in photography, film and video and sculpture and an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland Elam School of Fine Arts. She has also lectured at the University of California, Los Angeles where she lived for a decade. She has exhibited extensively in New Zealand and overseas. Recent highlights include her survey show held in 2019-20 in Wellington and Auckland, the 2016 Walters Prize finalists exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery, the Biennale of Sydney 2016; Heavenly Bodies, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2014; Che Mondo: What a World, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, 2013.
Lonnie Hutchinson's black builders paper cut-outs are her quintessential signature works. Employing a wide range of botanical, natural geometric and architectural motifs, she creates works that speak to the ongoing relevance of deep connections of genealogy, place and history. Her work contains an underlying politic in its feminist celebration of the work and craft of women and its articulation of a non-western, Polynesian worldview that may only be seen by those with appropriate knowledge.
A senior artist of Maori (Ngāi Tahu) and Samoan heritage, Hutchinson works across a wide range of media including film, performance, painting, sculpture and installation. She has exhibited nationally and internationally for over two decades and has been included in several major international exhibitions of Pacific art. A survey exhibition was held in Auckland and Lower Hutt in 2015 and another major solo exhibition is planned for Christchurch Art Gallery later this year. She has also produced several major permanent, and temporary, site-specific installations - most prominently for the justice precinct in Christchurch.
A drive to understand Maori perspectives has been part of Roger Mortimer's practice since he first went to art school and went throught the Te Toi Hou (Maori Arts) programme at Elam School of Fine Arts. He has always looked to the past to look to the future to reference the famous whakataukī. His distinctive work is characterized by its juxtaposition of medieval imagery drawn from Dante with contemporary shipping maps of Aotearoa New Zealand – creating metaphorical and surreal stories of navigation and transformation. In acknowledgement of the prior occupation of Aotearoa, Mortimer has removed European place names from his 'maps' and left the Māori names. Art historian Linda Tyler has observed that in referencing the country's dual histories and bringing together European painting with Maori history, without appropriation or borrowing of symbolism, Mortimer can be seen to be ahead of his time. Tiwai, well known to New Zealanders as the site of the country's controversial aluminium smelter, translates as dug-out canoe, providing a useful pun to float the exploration of navigational devices.
In 2014 Mortimer was the Paramount Award Winner of the Wallace Art Awards - with the judge describing his work as "medieval in appearance and utterly contemporary contemporary in intent". In 2017, a survey exhibition was shown in public galleries in Wellington and Auckland
Exploring the complexity of cultural identity in the 21st century, Taratoa's often vibrantly-coloured super-flat paintings deconstruct the structural elements of traditional Maori pattern re-presenting them to speak to the space between culture and meaning. Alongside the tradition, are references to geometric modernism and space invader games. Ambiguity is at the heart of all of his work conceptually and materially. His painting, Silence, speaks to Taratoa's daily morning walks up Mt Maunganui and dawn on the eastern horizon
Taratoa (Ngai Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Raukawa) has a Master in Maori Visual Art (1st class honours) from Massey University. He has exhibited nationally and internationally and has had several public gallery exhibitions throughout New Zealand. His first mid-career survey held at Tauranga Art Gallery over summer of 2019-20. An associated publication is due for release mid-2021. His work is included in major exhibitions of Maori art at Christchurch and Auckland art galleries.
Press release courtesy Bartley & Company Art.