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KELCY TARATOA
Kelcy Taratoa (Ngai Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Raukawa) has long been interested in the liminal spaces between things, the grey space that is neither one thing or another. This ambiguity has been a defining characteristic of his practice exploring the complexity of identity formation in the 21st century. That exploration canvases urban alienation, comic book culture, political issues around the role of the state and surveillance, and mixed

Ambiguity plays out conceptually and materially. In earlier work, figuration and abstraction interact with form dissolving into abstract pattern and blocks of colour at close viewing; in more recent work, we see an exploration of how form, colour and pattern embody ideas and speak to and across cultures, creating broad-ranging conversations ranging from Te Ao Maori to Te Ao Whānui. Unifying all are his signature vibrantly-coloured, super-flat immaculate surfaces, meticulously hand painted on canvas - surfaces that tease the digital with the absence of any visual brush marks.

What we see also across all his work is a timelessness. Some of the earlier paintings, for example, Disappearing Reimagined made in 2012, speak almost presciently to a then unimagined global pandemic and the role of female (non-white male) leadership in creating new ways of operating in the world.

Kelcy Taratoa (Ngai Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Raukawa) completed a Masters in Māori Visual Arts at Massey University in 2005 and quickly attracted attention with solo exhibitions in 2005 at Te Manawa Public Art Gallery, and in 2006 at City Galley Wellington. He has exhibited steadily since then throughout New Zealand and in the United States. Recent highlights include Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art, at Auckland Art Gallery; two major commissions at Christchurch Art Gallery in association with Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania; Who am I? Episodes - a mid-career survey at Tauranga Art Gallery in 2019-20.
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