Kāryn Taylor: Future Philosophies at The Suter Art Gallery, Nelson
Using illumination, darkened shadows, geometric shapes and bright colours as her medium, artist Kāryn Taylor explores the nature of reality, the visible and invisible, space and time. She’s been interested in quantum physics and metaphysics since studying at the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts.
This new solo exhibition feels more interactive than plain works on a wall. Taylor invites you to walk between and around her glowing installations, which are spread across the walls and floor of the darkened gallery. They include moving geometric projections, cast acrylic light boxes, and minimalist standalone sculptures, incorporating lit and unlit areas of the gallery space. The use of bold orange and yellow hues in circular shapes evokes the warmth of the sun’s rays, and minimal lines are projected as squares and other cornered shapes, visually bridging the gap between two- and three-dimensional space.
The works touch on abstract ideas of being, knowing, identity, time and space, leaving them open for contemplation.
On until September 10 at 208 Bridge Street, Nelson. Hear from the artist at the gallery’s Art Talks series on Saturday July 22, 2pm–3pm.
Moniek Schrijer: The Jewel Room at City Gallery Te Whare Toi, Wellington
Contemporary jewellery artist Moniek Schrijer presents new work designed to challenge our ideas about authenticity and value. The exhibition, A Hologram of a Diamond, shows there is more to this body of work than meets the eye.
The exhibition space looks like a subterranean bank vault. The gallery has been theatrically blackened and studded with green light sources, Schrijer’s gemstone and precious-metal look-alikes catching the emerald-toned light on their reflective surfaces. She has created replicas of famous diamonds to make sculptural necklaces and pendants with unique shapes and bold proportions, sometimes adding bright paint and textures to the patina of each piece. In one area, two long benchtops display several of the artist’s creations on minimal stands. In another, holographic gems dangle from the ceiling, deceiving the eye as they move and reflect bright light from different angles.
Schrijer explores what makes a piece of jewellery valuable, drawing connections between personal preferences, contemporary style and the sometimes-deceptive nature of the diamond and jewellery industries.
On until September 3 at 101 Wakefield Street, Wellington.
Ron Te Kawa: Heavenly Bodies at Tauranga Art Gallery
We sometimes forget that art is meant to evoke emotion. The tactile, vibrant quilts by Maungarongo “Ron” Te Kawa (Ngāti Porou) do so transparently, prompting feelings of joy and playfulness. They also have the power to remind us of identity, whakapapa, shared stories and celestial beings.
Heavenly Bodies is a series of nine quilts made in honour of Matariki, the Pleiades constellation often depicted in Māori culture as a mother, Matariki, and her eight tamariki (children). You may notice the youngest star, Hiwa-i-te-rangi, is missing from this installation. The quilt is stuck in an area affected by Cyclone Gabrielle, cut off from joining her whānau for the exhibition.
The dimmed gallery suggests the night sky, with the medium- to large-scale quilts installed at varying heights along the walls. Each is individually lit, allowing you to see the intricacies of the artist’s sewing and use of different materials, threads and embellishments depicting aspects of each star’s identity as part of the Matariki cluster.
Te Kawa has been practising as a fashion designer and now an artist for more than 25 years. His father taught him how to sew at the age of nine. “My quilts are an invitation to celebrate the fun, colour and magic of te ao Māori and all those things that fill my heart and heal my mind and spirit,” he says. “Dance, connection to wairua and nature, whānau, whenua, stories, survival, resilience.”
The quilts represent the importance of Matariki, which offers an opportunity to contemplate the past year, the present and the future, reminding us to cultivate peace and happiness in our lives.
If you can’t make it to Tauranga, visit Auckland CBD gallery Season – which held the first showing of Heavenly Bodies last Matariki – for a separate exhibition of new quilts by the artist, running until July 29.
On until August 6 at 108 Willow Street, Tauranga.
Simon Kaan & Wi Taepa: Te Au at Sanderson Contemporary, Auckland
This collaborative exhibition marks the third partnership between artists Simon Kaan and Wi Taepa. After meeting at a family tangi, the pair developed an enduring friendship that, over time, evolved into a harmonious artistic collaboration.
Both artists work with natural elements: Taepa is renowned for his handmade clay pieces, while Kaan is celebrated for his use of ink and water. The exhibition title – Te Au, a Kāi Tahu iwi word for “mist” – references the artists’ use of water and earth, as well as their shared whakapapa, the intangible atmospheric backdrop to their work.
Old and new works by both artists are presented side by side. From Kaan, there are new works on paper, as well as a selection of paintings and two surfboard installations. You will see his use of new tones, such as earthy yellow, amber, brown and orange, in small- to medium-scale intaglio woodblock prints. His large paintings use ink and oil on board in his signature blue tones – referring to the sea and the long horizon – with traditional symbols in delicate ink of the waka (canoe) and maunga (mountain).
There are also ceramic works from both artists. Taepa has created a series of striking clay sculptures that rise up in the air to resemble the sacred Putangirua Pinnacles in Wairarapa, as well as a collection of long clay waka. In collaboration with Taranaki-based ceramicist Juliet Larkin, Kaan has produced a number of small, round ceramic shapes in muted tones, inspired by te marama (the moon).
Through their collaborative approach, Taepa and Kaan have only strengthened their creativity and kinship, exploring their collective bonds with land, water and the rhythms of life.
On until July 30 at Osborne Lane, 2 Kent Street, Auckland.
Anita Tótha is an art consultant working between New York and Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.