|Jay Hutchinson and Julia Holderness|
Overlooked details 11 April - 5 May 2018
Overlooked details brings together two artists whose individual practices reflect upon the intersection of culture and everyday life, gender politics, art hierarchies, and the act of looking and responding to the built environment.
Julia Holderness draws on modernist design histories and archives - local and international, real and imagined - to privilege decorative, domestic and design categories often overlooked in canonical art histories.
In this exhibition, she creates felted applique works and a video work referencing geometric rug designs by Florence Kowhai Cunningham Weir, a New Zealand born interior architect and a pioneer of modernist home-wares. Born in Christchurch in 1899, Weir spent most of her life in the UK where she built a successful career across diverse mediums. It is thought that she is the only New Zealander to have visited the influential early 20th century German Bauhaus art school. In 1926, she is believed to have spent time in the weaving workshop and experimented with both traditional and industrialised weaving techniques. Based on the description of one of Weir's geometric rugs (in a letter to Winnifred Hunt), Holderness works through possibilities for what these textiles might have looked like with the goal of re-animating the work of an overlooked figure in New Zealand's design history.
"The Bauhaus existed for a short span of time but the potentials intrinsic in its principles have only begun to be realised. The sources of design remain forever full of changing possibilities." Herbert Bayer, 1984
The Bauhaus continues as a major design influence for contemporary practitioners. Julia Holderness's installations, artworks and PhD project, currently underway at AUT, aim to expand our understanding of art history through art fabrication rather than conventional texts.
Jay Hutchinson conflates the most banal and omnipresent act of urban mark-making, the tag, with refined and increasingly rare hand embroidery. Drawing on the 1955 theory of pyschogeography, which playfully explores how we respond to urban space, Jay Hutchinson examines the minutiae of the city. His hand-stitched works, taking hundreds of hours to make, play with the binaries of masculine and feminine, fine art and street art, fast and slow and what we see and don't see.
"Hutchinson himself acknowledges his hope that people will recognise the potential for 'beauty and wonder' in the banal when experiencing his work. Becoming ensconced within graffiti subculture taught Hutchinson to see cityscapes as "compositions that need small details added by residents to feel complete"… Playing the official and the unsanctioned marks of the city against each other, Hutchinson's embroidery raises an eloquent protest, acknowledging that every person contributes to the place they live and that gentrification isn't the only way a community can develop. In his reading of this inner city suburb, he draws out details so obvious most of us have ceased to notice them. By recreating these scenes in an unexpected way Hutchinson takes on the role of psychogeographer, challenging people to see their environment from a new perspective and consider what draws them in."
Sian Van Dyck, Stitching the Street
Christchurch based Julia Holderness is currently undertaking a PhD in visual arts at AUT in Auckland. Jay Hutchinson has a Master of Fine Arts from Otago Polytechnic and lives and works in Dunedin. Both artists have had public gallery exhibitions.
Installation view 1