|Maryrose Crook, John Di Stefano, Peter Madden and Sanjay Theodore|
From Ritual 1 - 24 December 2009
From ritual brings together four artists whose work may be seen to be derived, in its production or conceptually, from notions of ritual.
Painter Maryrose Crook is interested in the surreal and fantastic. Her two suitcase assemblages in this exhibition speak to travel and migration and explore some of the superstitions around what is taken and what is left behind. Maryrose returned to New Zealand earlier this year after living in Berlin for a year and in Beijing for three months on The Red Gate Artist Residency Programme. Reviewing her July 2009 Christchurch exhibition, Andrew Paul Wood wrote in the Press: Crook's inventiveness is extraordinary. Touched by the genius of Brueghel and Bosch, she invents fabulous entities for these scenes, livened with a fragile jewel like brilliance and intense colour... They are intended to intrigue, amuse and delight which is what the whole exhibition does. Bravo.
Crook won the Wallace Art Awards development award in 2006 and was included in Telecom Prospect 2004 at City Gallery Wellington.
John Di Stefano is a photographer and video artist interested in issues of identity, displacement and transnationalism. His video work has won several awards has been broadcast on American public television. In 2001, his work HUB was cited as one of the best works of the year by Artforum magazine. Earlier this month he launched his new film YOU ARE HERE. Chronicling the trajectory from his ancestral home in Italy, to his native Canada and beyond, the film weaves a portrait shaped by memories of the past and the realities of the present. His photographs here speak to that history. The spare black and white images of uncompleted buildings in his ancestral village in Italy suggest structures that hover between the new and the ruin and explore notions of home and of longing and loss.
Collage artist Peter Madden re-presents the world to us using carefully excavated images retrieved from magazines (frequently National Geographic) and books - the designer book 1000 Chairs has provided a rich new source for his recent work The Thing in this exhibition. His work has been described as exploring our understanding of the frailty of nature and how we seek to order, classify and code the world. An exhibition at the New Museum in New York last year investigating the nature of collage in contemporary art suggested that historically collage tends to appear in times of trauma and social change. Madden's work can be seen to operate poetically within that context. He has a Masters in Fine Arts from Auckland University and maintains a busy exhibition schedule - this year he has been included in public gallery shows in Melbourne, Christchurch and Porirua. He will have a solo show in October next year.
Sanjay Theodore draws on his Indian heritage to create paintings that he says may be seen as contemplative objects. Sanjay studied at the Ilam School of Fine Arts at Canterbury University and in the US, at West Texas University and the New York Studio School. He has work in various private and public collections including the Tate Britain Library, The National Art Library (Victoria & Albert Museum) and the Chelsea College of Art & Design. He will have a solo exhibition at the end of next year and says of his work.
I'm referencing both Howard Hodgkin and Hotere as they both start from non-western art histories. I'm also using pictorial forms from Indian and Persian miniature paintings with a dose of renaissance and catholic iconography. The surface of the work is rough, unfinished and raw. The silver leaf will tarnish over time making the work an organic living thing. I'm leaving areas of under-paint and texture as a totem of process.
Gallery installation view