Corpse Flowers & Chewing Gum by Debbie Harris at Foenander Galleries
The Aotearoa art scene has seen an increase in unconventional ceramics in recent years – including from artists like Suji Park, Virginia Leonard and Sung Hwan Bobby Park.
Installation artist Debbie Harris’s creations are inspired by a photo a friend sent her of a rafflesia flower, otherwise known as the corpse flower. The exhibition is a labyrinthine installation consisting of 21 ceramic flower formations, as well as several tiny works placed on the gallery floor. The result is an incredibly fun and fantastical interpretation of this Southeast Asian plant.
Upon entry, you can’t help but notice the gallery walls (painted in a vivid shade of lilac) and the sheer number of ceramics made for the exhibition; it’s a feast for the eyes. As you take it all in, you’ll see bold colours and glossy shades of purple, pink, blue and dark brown used in warped stems, petals and blooms. Some of the pieces are elongated and spindly, others are round and thick. Harris uses stoneware clay, resin, lustre and pigments, as well as nail polish and ribbon, allowing the viewer to experience each unique and imperfect artwork as a reimagination of the natural world. On until August 22. 455 Mount Eden Road.
Good Hair Day at Tautai Pacific Arts Trust
Good Hair Day is a group show exploring stories around hair in contemporary Pacific culture. The exhibition is curated by multidisciplinary artist, activist and writer Luisa Tora, and features five Pacific artists who all have a unique perspective stemming from their experiences with their own hair and upbringing.
Head upstairs and you’ll find the main gallery painted in contrasting colours of black and yellow gold – a nod to the classic GHD hair straightener branding. The artworks are spread across five areas throughout the exhibition space, with mediums ranging from photography to embroidery, illustration and sculpture. See an installation by artist Nââwié Tutugoro who, as a performance piece for the exhibition’s opening, painted directly onto the black gallery wall with her afro dipped in ocean blue paint, sweeping a wavy line between two family photographs that symbolise significant moments for her. It also calls to mind the ocean – ever important for Pacific peoples.
Another area features three photographs printed on small canvases, intricately embroidered by artist Peter Wing Seeto. While making your way through the rest of the gallery, the exhibition poses a question: what significance does hair have in your culture? On until 23 September. Level 1, 300 Karangahape Road.
Micro Lemon Diamond Realm by Petra Cortright at Starkwhite Auckland
Los Angeles-based artist Petra Cortright is exhibiting her first body of work in Tāmaki Makaurau at Starkwhite’s new gallery in Eden Terrace. Cortright is renowned as part of the “post-internet art” movement, which critiques the impact of the internet on art and culture. Her solo exhibition explores just that, turning hundreds of images found online as well as custom digital brush strokes into digital paintings and video works.
Climb the stairs to the first floor and you’ll find eight works ranging in size, with each painting full of digital layers, colours, and movement. From afar, you wouldn’t actually know they’re digital, but once you get up close to works like the somewhat chaotically named triptych “los dÌas del agua” mademoiselle agnËs+”pain killers” +”civil War”, you can see custom digital brushstrokes, landscapes, various flora, fauna and figures. With each layer that’s applied, abstract and imaginary scenes become clearer, in this case rendered on a grey background of anodised aluminium.
Another painting titled Planet Oasis Search NORTH FOR MONTANA_nicotine+anonymous features a pale-pink orchid that looks like a screenshot of a photograph, while the brushstrokes and sketches throughout the piece are like digitised iPad drawings. Delve deeper into each of the artist’s paintings and you’ll find other algorithmic revelations. On until August 26. 94 Newton Road, Eden Terrace.
Pohewa Pāhewa: A Māori Design Kaupapa at Objectspace
This exhibition explores the practice of design through a Māori lens, featuring a range of curators and contributors. Offering a different perspective to more widely known Eurocentric design conventions, these designs highlight Māori cultural knowledge, innovation and techniques. It also aims to critique who benefits from the way things are designed, from an economical and environmental standpoint.
Pohewa Pāhewa begins in the foyer with many T-shirts (tīhāte) hanging on racks, backed by a warm-toned, mirrored wall. The clothing all features te ao Māori designs in different colours. You are encouraged to pick a garment, try it on and pose for a selfie. You are then greeted by several hanging banners with bold and colourful typography in te reo Māori by Kaikohe-based Ākau Studio. On the left side, you can sit and watch a series of interviews with industry professionals playing on a large screen, giving insight into Māori design thinking. And there are plenty of other installations to see as part of the show, spanning weaving, photography and even paving stones.
Don’t miss the separate outdoor exhibition on your way out, featuring a courtyard plinth installation by ceramicist Ben Pyne. On until September 3. 13 Rose Road, Grey Lynn.
Anita Tótha is an art consultant working between New York and Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.