Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to EyeContact. You are invited to respond to reviews and contribute to discussion by registering to participate.

JH

Jeff Thomson Sculpture Survey

AA
View Discussion
Jeff Thomson's Corrugations at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Jeff Thomson's Corrugations at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Jeff Thomson's Corrugations at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Jeff Thomson's Corrugations at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Jeff Thomson's Corrugations at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Jeff Thomson's Corrugations at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Jeff Thomson's Corrugations at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Jeff Thomson's Corrugations at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Jeff Thomson's Corrugations at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Jeff Thomson's Corrugations at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch

'Corrugations' is fascinating despite the fact that the show is crammed into a room that is far too small. It shows an artist thinking about processes and image construction, but not as preoccupied with popular appeal and quick recognisability as you might suppose. Surprisingly it seems to reference early seventies artists like Serra, Nauman and Smithson with their preoccupation with verbs and manual actions. Thomson, though, is besotted with iron sheets, and how he can transform them.

Christchurch

 

Jeff Thomson
Corrugations: the Art of Jeff Thomson
Curated by Penny Jackson

 

4 December 2015 - 28 March 2016

Jeff Thomson is extremely well known for his corrugated iron letter boxes, life-sized cars and dramatic African animals - he’s been around for decades - but this Tauranga Art Gallery initiated show is illuminating because it focuses on a far wider range of interests and sculpture making techniques. It shows that his income-earning ‘brand’ is one thing, but the depth of his intellectual curiosity is another.

Corrugations is fascinating despite the fact that the show is crammed into a room that is far too small. It shows an artist thinking about processes and 3D image construction, but not as preoccupied with popular appeal and quick recognisability as you might suppose. Surprisingly it seems to reference early seventies artists like Serra, Nauman and Smithson with their preoccupation with intransitive verbs and manual actions. Thomson, though, is besotted with iron sheets (corrugated or flat), and how he can transform them.

Different stages of iron manipulation are set out so we can see examples of braiding, knotting, French knitting, weaving, stacking, cladding using rivets, moulding and casting (of nail heads), lacemaking (making filigrees with a plasma cutter), ink-patterned silk screening (of roofing, house walls and downpipes), rippling (making flat sheets corrugated) and so on. Seeing Thomson’s various inventive (and systematic) procedures for spatial exploration laid out with such clarity is thrilling.

My favourite sculptures are the ‘abstractions’ that tend to ignore representation. His printed-over farmyard chooks and riveted pigs are fun but I prefer the morphologically vague contributions that focus on structure, edge and texture. These meandering linear items seem to be bundles or entangled loops of cut lines that could be swirls of crinkly unravelled rope or latticed flax or ribbon.

There is also a suite of images made using the technique known as ‘French knitting,’ where instead of a cotton reel and four brads, Thomson ‘knits’ the steel strips using a much larger trampoline frame and eight looping points. Because, unlike wool, the material won’t contract, his experiments stay flat and spread apart. They don’t turn into linear tubes. However if you look closely around the outer edges you can see the eight circular origins of the process for each work, and the resulting mingled tangle fed in from multiple directions.

Thomson’s use of silk screening to advertise his business, decorate houses and make large posies is also inspired. Using botanical images of plants from reference books or photocopied texts, he makes monstrously energetic, densely layered bouquets, and house cladding or guttering that brilliantly turns every building it contributes to into his artwork.

Full of surprises, this is a dense (and obviously popular) show that will reward repeated visits by anybody interested in contemporary sculpture. Hopefully it will attract other municipal venues besides just three in Tauranga, Whanganui and Christchurch.

John Hurrell

Print | Facebook | Twitter | Email

 

Recent Posts by John Hurrell

JH

This Year’s Walters Prize

AUCKLAND ART GALLERY TOI O TAMAKI

Auckland

 

Buchanan, Fraser, Johnson & Ward, Solomona Tyrell
The Walters Prize 2018

18 August 2018 - 20 January 2019

JH
Runo Lagomarsino, If you don't know what the south is, it's simply because you are from the north, 2009, stack of posters, 42 x 32.5 cm each. Courtesy the artist, Francisca Minini, Milano, Mendes Wood DN, Sao Paulo and Nils Stark. Photo: Sam Hartnett

Southern Lights

TE TUHI CENTRE FOR THE ARTS

Pakuranga

 

International Group Show 
From Where I Stand, My Eye Will Send A Light To You In The North


12 August - 21 October 2018

JH
Hikalu Clark, Accurate Community Projections, 2018, on the reeves Rd billboards. Commissioned by Te Tuhi Auckland. Photo: Sam Hartnett

Site Specific Hoardings

Te Tuhi billboards on Reeves Rd

Pakuranga

 

Hikalu Clarke
Accurate Community Projections

 

12 August -21 October 2018

JH
Benjamin Work's Write it on the land, Seal it on the heart, 2018, as installed on Te Tuhi's Project Wall. Photo: Sam Hartnett

Work’s Revamped Tongan Coat of Arms

Te Tuhi's Project Wall

Pakuranga

 

Benjamin Work
Write it on the land, Seal it on the heart

 

12 August - 21 October 2018