Jo Langford / Astray
No More Fairytales by Mel Lam
"The work of art was the only means to regain lost time." Marcel Proust
Anyone familiar with Joanna Langford's previous work knows that her installations always beg a little childhood optimism. But it's an orphan sentiment in these cynical and perilous times, Langford addressing a gauntlet of contrasting emotions in her new work entitled "Beyond Nowhere". This installation focuses on three specific aspects of time; the landscape and its changing nature, death and the recording of personal history, and the recreation of space.
At first glance Langford's delicate cloud forms might seem a little drifty- however, such an interpretation disregards the work's formal qualities, Beyond Nowhere illuminates the artist's longstanding obsession with construction of form. Like many artists of her generation, Langford thinks a great deal about architecture and design. Her work has always veered in the direction of magical realism, a minute version of our world rendered in mutated "Game of Life" clay-mation figures. In "Beyond Nowhere" we move away from this towards an aerial armature, constructed out of grey wire, wearing white plastic gowns that swell and deflate in alternate fifteen minute intervals. The shadowed buildings are doodled in delicate relief, the grey skeleton acting as ornamental imprint to the billowing white.
Like all of Langford's work, Beyond Nowhere builds on the exquisite, wondrous and dreamy. It floats and puffs, dances and beckons. No longer does Langford create dream-like renditions of our world; this installation is busy at work in its own world. She has lost interest in childhood obsessions; eliminating the darling in her artistic vocabulary, reaching for the equivalent architectural sublime. In many ways as we stand before her new work, one realizes that the quiet, almost sinister nature of child dreaminess has grown up into a stilted wistfulness. Langford has sketched acceptance for us, portrayed this linearity as skeleton towers of the past, teetering dangerously above the clouded bubbles that swell in complicated forms below.
The sparse spindly towers, teetering foundations and blank plastic canvas circle and eradicate the last traces of childhood and plasticine in the building. No more cocktail umbrellas and ice cream cones; instead we have a Lee Bul [www.leebul.com] referenced installation that is filled as much with foreboding as friendliness. "Beyond Nowhere" engages with the humility of its materials, but enchants with the complexity of its motion, the interaction it offers between crowded and empty spaces. Architecture of grey wire surrounds us like skeins of memory, referencing old forgotten elements of the past made newly strange.
Jo Langford Biography:
Joanna Langford was born in 1978 in Gisborne. She completed a Bachelor of Media Arts at Wintec in 1999 and in 2004 completed a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury. Joanna was awarded the Olivia Spencer-Bower Fellowship in 2006. Group exhibitions include Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, Te Tuhi, Auckland (2007); Out of Erewhon, Christchurch Art Gallery (2006); Remember New Zealand, Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil (2004) and Follow the White Rabbit, Artspace, Auckland (2003). Solo exhibitions include The Quietening, Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch (2007); Jitterbug, Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch (2005); The Wanderers, Michael Lett Gallery, Auckland (2005); The Flower People, The Physics Room, Christchurch (2004). Langford is represented by Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch. She currently lives in Te Puke and began the Tylee Cottage Fellowship in June this year.
Amit Charan Proto-Investigations
Proto-Investigations is a new video work which features Nick Sando, Charan's reoccurring subject elegantly performing in sign language to the camera and the audience. This work is a remake of Joseph Kosuth's seminal body of work which is also known by the same title. In Proto-Investigations (1965), Kosuth analyses everyday, readymade objects such as the chair and represents it in a tripartite structure: the actual object, the photograph of the object and the printed dictionary definition of the object. Charan's video presents a new iteration of Kosuth's series of objects in sign language, a purely visual form of communication. Because there are no direct signs for these objects in sign language, Sando describes certain characteristics of these objects. It is the missing keyword, for example, the chair, which creates confusion for the meaning of the chair, in itself being abstract. Charan's video of a pantomime highlights the dematerialisation of the art object: where the material concreteness of the object and the fleeting concept do not accurately match, much like the disjunctive relationship between the word and the object; the relationship between the signifier and signified remain arbitrary. Kosuth's semiotic work is fragile and becomes destabilised by Sando's personal nuances and slight hesitations when performed for this silent video.
Biography: Amit Charan was born in Fiji in 1984. He has a Bachelor of Media Arts from Waikato Institute of Technology, Hamilton (2005) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts from Massey University, Wellington (2006). Charan exhibited in An introduction to the theory of everything, The Hirschfeld Gallery, Wellington (2006-07) and was a finalist in the Waikato Art Awards (2005). He is currently a Board member of Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington and lives in Aro Valley, Wellington.
Natalie Corbett / Between Days
Ramp Gallery, Hamilton, New Zealand 1 June - 22 June 2007
Within my photographic series I have explored ideas of the "everyday" - the meaning of home through documenting an unusual, haunting personal space of a deceased, mentally ill man. I have chosen this uncomfortable, unfamiliar human space to build narratives involving the meaning of home and our relationship to these landscapes. I have explored human space such as the "home" to create metaphorical narratives and ideas of an internal disturbances or conflict which is reflected in the external. Through my photography I choose locations partly for its potential as a metaphor, to transport us, and build and create deeper poetic readings.
I intend the work to reflect the idea that people try and hide behind doors and walls to guard from the outside world. These works are in a way doing the opposite; they reflect more of an internal conflict, exposing what is hidden. This outer shell is a mirror for an internal crisis, expressing a hidden secret. In this way the space becomes a portrait of a person, a mirror for the internal rather then the external.
Natalie Corbett Biography:
Through her photography practice Natalie aims explore the fertile ground between fine art, fashion, and documentary photography. Natalie chooses locations for their potential as a metaphor, to transport the viewer and build poetic banal readings, crossing boundaries, addressing wider audiences. Natalie attributes her small town rural New Zealand upbringing to a sensibility that is more "dark and lonely". She takes great influence from these surroundings and builds them into every aspect of her photography.Natalie Corbett has recently completed the Bachelor of Media Arts with a Major in Photography from Wintec in Hamilton and is a finalist in the Waikato Art Awards, 2007. She is currently working as a freelance photographer and photographic assistant.