Michael Lett is pleased to present Pleasure and Pain, an exhibition of new work by Pauline Rhodes. This will be Rhodes' first exhibition with the gallery.
Rhodes' work is intrinsically linked to the natural world. She works both in the landscape and with materials that are either sourced from—or bear traces of—this landscape. Rhodes has an intimate connection in particular to the Banks Peninsula region where she has lived for much of her life. It is a place she has explored intimately both as an artist and as a cross-country runner.
Living and working in this area has informed the materiality of her practice, yet Rhodes' underlying concern is more universal: the exploration of a means to adequately articulate the sensory ambiguities of lived experience. Pleasure and Pain uses a reductive colour palette, focusing predominantly on red. Colour has always played an important part formally in Rhodes work. In this instance red refers to new tests in neuroscience that aim to identify the intensity of chronic pain using colour bio-markers. As human beings we have longstanding emotive associations and responses to colour which are often ambiguous. It is then perhaps a radical recalibration to try and understand colour as a definitive means to communicate the intensity of a single sensation.
In this new installation, Rhodes has chosen to work primarity with weathered plywood, its painted surface giving way to the impregnation of iron oxides and rust. Cut and presented as large pieces with a rigorous geometry, these are arranged with a relative lightness of touch and share the exhibition space with a small selection of other materials such as dried cuttings of Matagouri, a native shrub with sharp thorns, common to Banks Peninsula.
Pauline Rhodes was born in Christchurch in 1937. She twice studied sculpture at The University of Canterbury, firstly in 1959 and then again in 1971 when she completed her Diploma in Fine Arts. The intervening period was spent travelling and living abroad, including long spells in the UK and Nigeria. Her first exhibition was held in 1977, aged 40. In 1987 Rhodes was the first recipient of the Olivia Spencer Bower Award. Throughout the 1980s her work was included in several significant museum exhibitions across New Zealand. She has continued to work on transient projects outdoors which are recorded photographically, as well as creating installations in a wide range of galleries. Her most recent museum exhibition Time Ongoing, her twelfth solo exhibition at CoCA, Christchurch, opened in November 2018 and will close on 3 March.
Press release courtesy Michael Lett.
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