|AMELIA HITCHCOCK, ANNE NOBLE, NINA VAN DER VOORN, KATE WOODS|
Land Ashore | 28 June - 16 July 2011
This exhibition presents the work of four artists who use the medium of photography to explore ideas about how we view the land, and the role art itself plays in how we see the landscape around us. Amelia Hitchcock, Anne Noble, Nina van der Voorn and Kate Woods all, in quite different ways, encourage us to look afresh at what we see. They ask us to think about why they have presented the land in the way they have. Their work operates to complicate depictions of land and to expose ideas, cultural perspectives, histories and narratives that may lie hidden or that shape how we interpret what we see.
AMELIA HITCHCOCK, who is currently undertaking her Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland with a project based on the Tasman Glacier, has a practice which is conceptually and environmentally driven, with the concept dictating the medium. In these images, which are her first foray into photography, she draws attention to the accelerating retreat of New Zealand's largest glacier.
The Tasman has been the subject of many historical photographs and I wanted to allude to this rich photographic history whilst providing a contemporary image completely different to the glossy rich blue and white tourist images that are so ingrained in our cultural identity.
ANNE NOBLE, who is one of New Zealand's most acclaimed photographers, has been photographing and thinking about Antarctica and its representation for a decade. The University of Plymouth in Britain has recently shown this work, including the distinctive Spoolhenge image (our inaugural billboard work last year) and produced a catalogue with an essay, which canvases the broad ambit of her project. The three strands of Anne's investigation of the representation of Antarctica are shown in this exhibition.
At the heart of my project is a desire to disturb the way Antarctica is imagined and represented. I am not interested in recreating the kinds of photographs of Antarctica that we already know.
NINA VAN DER VOORN, who graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Photographic Design in 2009 views her work as "portraits of the landscape". Her images are portraits in the sense that she is interested in imbuing what could be a straight depiction of a landscape with a sense of personality and narrative possibility.
The explosive potential, surreal existence and the strong personality of the subjects create the feeling of a magical presence. This is added to by the nature in which these images were taken, on a strange, solo dreamlike escape around the South Island.
KATE WOODS takes as her starting point found images of traditional and frequently iconic landscapes and in re-photographing them, and inserting her own geometric constructions, transforms both genre and content to link to broader art historical issues. Writing about her work 'Unsite' which the Wellington City Council acquired for its collection in 2009, curator Aaron Lister noted:
Wood's real site of engagement is land art of the 1970s, especially the ongoing life granted to its site-bound and time-based works through photographic documentation. Woods' photographs revel in this act of de-contextualisation. She incongruously plants Robert Smithson earthworks and Brancusi columns into New Zealand lakes, while applying the life-extending qualities of the non-site to these withering local scenes which are transformed into something mysteriously other and alien. This trading on un-specificity, on the possibilities that come with un-siting objects and histories, takes Wood's work away from the real into the fantastical, linking the art historical non-site with the collapsed/alternate worlds of science fiction.