Andrea Gardner, Richard Orjis, Kate Woods
Contemplating the Marvellous: constructed photography 11 June - 10 July, 2010

'Contemplating the Marvellous' presents recent work by three artists who share an interest in critiquing romantic representations of the sublime. In an age where we are constantly confronted with issues of environmental sustainability and the failings of chocolate box imagery to address our less than perfect reality, 'Contemplating the Marvellous' subverts old romantic approaches to nature and recycles them into fantastical new propositions.

ANDREA GARDNER invokes the narratives of the sublime with a hint of the cautionary tale. Her staged tableaux often feature a painting as the background, coupled with a range of props, or 'cultural detritus' including plants, vegetables, manure and small plastic figures of people and animals - blending the real and unreal into a sort of post-apocalyptic, arcadian idyll.
Born in California, Gardner has a Masters of Painting from the University of Iowa. Her work is held in major public collections, including Te Papa, The NewDowse and the Sarjeant Art Gallery.

RICHARD ORJIS has described his work as revolving around "four main intersecting and fluid connections, that of nature, cult, myth and the gothic." In an interview with Jason Lingard, he said: "Nature can be seen as beautiful and pure, and intrinsically good, but also as dangerous and destructive, a spectacle of the devourers and the devoured. This tense relationship of attraction and repulsion feeds into my practice, I explore notions of beauty laced with an undercurrent of ugliness, or vice versa."
Following an undergraduate degree in the U.S, Orjis graduated with an MFA from Elam in 2006. He has exhibited widely, nationally and internationally.

KATE WOODS is, as Warwick Brown writes, "interested in the real, the artificial, and combinations of the two, with a dash of art history thrown in. A viewer looking at one of her paintings or photographs of landscapes has an immediate reaction of recognition, followed by a sense of disquiet. Something is wrong." The artist takes found images and re-photographs them, inserting over the original her own geometric constructions, which frame another landscape - disjointed from the first - adding layer upon layer to the image.
Woods graduated from Elam in 2002. She currently has a major billboard project on show at Te Tuhi in Auckland.

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Artist: Andrea Gardner
Swan Song
year: 2010
size: 730 x 980 mm framed
media: lambda print