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

JH

Pauline Rhodes at AUT’s St Paul St

AA
View Discussion
Pauline Rhodes, Dark Watch, 2016, as installed at St Paul St Gallery One. Photo: Sam Hartnett Pauline Rhodes, Dark Watch, 2016, as installed at St Paul St Gallery One. Photo: Sam Hartnett Pauline Rhodes, Dark Watch, 2016, as installed at St Paul St Gallery One. Photo: Sam Hartnett Pauline Rhodes, Dark Watch, 2016, as installed at St Paul St Gallery One. Photo: Sam Hartnett Pauline Rhodes, Dark Watch, 2016, detail, as installed at St Paul St Gallery One. Photo: Sam Hartnett Pauline Rhodes, Dark Watch, 2016, detail, as installed at St Paul St Gallery One. Photo: Sam Hartnett Pauline Rhodes, Dark Watch, 2016, detail, as installed at St Paul St Gallery One. Photo: Sam Hartnett

In Gallery One the textured grey floor seems to be a plane of prime importance with its polished concrete and inlaid specks of fine grit and assorted pebbles - like a ground down riverbed. It dominates so that the height of the brutalist concrete walls bordering it is not accentuated. This, and the grey ceiling, somehow keeps the verticality of Rhodes' installation compressed on a restrained, relatively shallow, level: not soaring but prodding and pushing horizontally.

Auckland

 

Pauline Rhodes
Dark Watch

 

19 February - 24 March 2016

It is a significant event to have Banks Peninsula-based, veteran installation artist Pauline Rhodes displaying a large work in Auckland - her presentations in this part of the country are rare. And although she lost a huge percentage of her bank of recyclable materials in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, this AUT show has strong similarities with various installations she presented in the early eighties, such as Extensum/Extensor in Christchurch’s CSA in 1983, with Dark Watch‘s leaning vectors lancing the air as they advance away from the building’s foyer and curve round towards Gallery One’s inner corner window.

Vaguely anthropomorphic, these pyramidal linear configurations stand for guardians or watchers of the natural environment, symbolic sentries that Rhodes has been thinking about since the mid seventies. These standing structures could also be taken as satires of trig-stations, but the black or red rags wrapped round the extending tips have a more serious mood. Resting on the front ends of darkly stained cedar boards that are like safety planks extending across a swamp or area of quick sand, and leaning forward to rest on two black cedar triangles, the ‘figures’ occasionally hold aloft Rhodes’ characteristically rusted hanging strips of cotton fabric, marching alongside crumpled forms of rusted black polythene, and caches of rusted concertina-folded paper. Now and then there are flashes of fluorescent green rod tips to offset the dominant black and white palette, the dark bars activating the floor, the undulating rag lines hovering above to be seen against the white walls.

Using an unusual mix of small plastic cones to hold up the cedar boards - pinioned mesh rectangles jammed underneath - and various handmade forms (to evoke grass-height landscape) casually spread across the floor and around the ‘watching’ sentinels, Rhodes generates a sense of improvisation, advancing movement and continual change. Sometimes wirenetting is entangled with similarly coloured, springy dried bushes, or rolled into buckled, rust-stained, paper tubes that could be robust, snapped-off branches. Now and then pairs of crossed black poles lean against the walls.

With Rhodes the fine detail in her seemingly ‘scattered’ installations is important, as is its positioning. Tightly wrapped tubes of unreadable printed text become fine rods that visually mingle with the stainless steel ones that serve as struts. In Gallery One the textured grey floor seems to be a plane of prime importance with its polished concrete and inlaid specks of fine grit and assorted pebbles - like a ground down riverbed. It dominates so that the height of the brutalist concrete walls bordering it is not accentuated. This, and the grey ceiling, somehow keeps the verticality of Rhodes’ installation compressed on a restrained, relatively shallow, level: not soaring but prodding and pushing horizontally.

It’s good to see a sprawling installation like this in Gallery One. Rhodes has in the past made more spectacular shows, but this ‘vector’ work works well with the St Paul St Gallery floor and corner window, and is pitched perfectly, without superfluous distractions on the walls. It needs several visits to grasp the structure of the raised up configurations (the two heights) and the intricacies of their compositional alignment.

John Hurrell 

Print | Facebook | Twitter | Email

 

Recent Posts by John Hurrell

JH
From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery One at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett

From Scratch Survey

TE URU

Titirangi

 

From Scratch
546 Moons


3 March - 27 May 2018.

JH
Alfredo Jaar, Other People Think, 2012, light box with black and white transparency. Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, purchased 2016

Reason and Sentience in Others

AUCKLAND ART GALLERY TOI O TAMAKI

Auckland

 

International contemporary collection sampler
Other People Think


10 March -10 June 2018

JH
Imogen Taylor, Imposter Syndrome, 2017, acrylic on canvas; Isobel Thom, Stacking Storage Boxes, Teapot, Cup and Trivet, Bottle Bell, Geodesic Cup and Salt Pigs. Photo: Sam Hartnett

Taylor, Cochran and Thom

TE URU

Titirangi

 

Imogen Taylor (with Vita Cochran and Isobel Thom)
Pocket Histories,

 

10 February —13 May 2018

JH
Natasha Matila-Smith (all 2018, poly-velvet blend, spray paint):  The Scent of You Stays With Me; His Lips Pink and Swollen; Spaghetti, Alone.

Bad Education

ST PAUL St Gallery

Auckland

 

Louisa Afoa, Natasha Matila-Smith, Molly Rangiwai-McHale, Faith Wilson
Between You and Me

 

19 April - 1 June 2018