John Hurrell – 6 December, 2013
Todd has only made one video previously. This one, Denim Seagull, is her second and quite remarkable: a young woman in a loose fitting ‘tie dye' denim shift, standing vertically and looking impassively at the camera while her arms gently sway, as does the pale blue garment. The movement is subtle in its restrained rocking; you have to look closely.
20 November - 21 December 2013
The half dozen or so Yvonne Todd works currently displayed in the Ivan Anthony Gallery are on the right at the top of the stairs - in the rooms overlooking Karangahape Road. We see a couple of coloured photographs of carefully positioned vegetables, a single unusual video, some ‘informal’ black and white photographs, and oddly enough, a couple of handmade greeting cards with collage.
Todd has only made one video previously. This one, Denim Seagull, is her second and quite remarkable: a young woman in a loose fitting ‘tie dye’ denim shift, standing vertically and looking impassively at the camera while her arms gently sway, as does the pale blue garment. The image is vertical - not horizontal - and its movement is subtle in its restrained rocking; you have to look closely.
The soundtrack also is crucial: the plaintive cry of a seagull fades in, is repeated a few times and then fades out. It could almost be a distant child, a cat maybe. Once you realise it is a seabird, it suggests perhaps that the girl is a friend of sailors - evocative in a very vague way, especially if you are keen for a narrative that links image with sound. Then you realise her strange behaviour - the swaying arms - could be that of somebody keeping their balance on a pitching ship.
Her veggie photos are also fascinating. They make the most of being positioned on a shiny reflective Perspex base with a white matte background, especially one (Milk Study) of a drained glass of milk, a solitary pea and a small horn shell. The other (Insistence) of a skinny carrot and chunky corncob leaning against each other hints at the monumental. There is a large button mushroom between them that alludes to the mount behind the white backdrop, a densely packed ‘framing’ field of gorgeous mauve daisies.
The crispness and acuity of Todd’s coloured images sets up a vivid contrast to the three or four smaller black and white photographs she has on display. One, Ready and Silent, shows two bunches of carrots (side by side) that are hand tinted, as if on a very old greetings card for market gardeners. Another, Camille, shows a young woman in tights playing tennis. She is facing away from the camera and partially in shadow. For Todd it is an unusually animated image, a body in energetic physical pursuit. Its spontaneity is very different from her usual pronouncedly static images of women, with meticulous, preplanned compositional detail.