EXHIBITIONS / BOTTLED LIGHTNING
19.07.2012 to 11.08.2012
Bottled Lightning continues Reuben Paterson’s lively exploration of materials, which started with glitter-on-canvas depictions of kowhaiwhai and fabric designs, and diversified into a range of media including sequins, foil, diamond dust, shoes, gourds, video and installation. Guiding this is Paterson’s ongoing conceptual investigation into aspects of time and energy through the properties of light, which reflects the power of history, memory, whakapapa, spirituality and place. His work combines the celebration of the future with a melancholic consideration of the present as it slips into the past – like the faded glory of a much-anticipated party, gleefully recaptured in morning-after stories.
Kinetic energy is a key feature in Paterson’s work, whether it is the optical effects of abstract painting, the spiritually charged dance of light and dark on reflective surfaces, or the kaleidoscopic distortions of his interactive and digital works. His fluctuating surfaces deny a fixed response and seduce us into repeated looking, to reconsider our position and assumptions. Whether crumpled on the floor or contained on a canvas like bottled lightning, they challenge our perception and control of the present as a state of flow, an analogy for capturing the elusive creative process as it shifts between boredom and inspiration. They remind us of the power that ripples beneath the land we stand on, with its ever-changing layers of history.
Bottled Lightning is curated by Andrew Clifford and is distilled from the survey show organised earlier this year by The University of Auckland’s Gus Fisher Gallery. An accompanying publication will be available.
Reuben Paterson is dynamic artist known for the scale of his creations in both glitter and diamond dust. Reuben Paterson was born in Auckland and is of Ngati Rangitihi, Ngāi Tūhoe, Tūhourangi and Scottish descent. He completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Elam School of Fine Arts in 1997, followed by a Post Graduate Diploma of Teaching at The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education.
Drawing from both his Māori and Scottish ancestry Paterson combines traditional pattern and design with non-traditional media, reinvigorating and extending Māori expression. Paterson incorporates formal painting properties and techniques of sharp line and ornate detail in specially commissioned glitter colours to elicit curiosity and joy. His use of traditional motif produces works that link to memories of our recent and ancient pasts; memories that are visceral, tangible and intangible. More recently Paterson has extended his subjects to include animals as well as materials the distill the essence of revelry, or the origin and history of glitter.
He has had solo exhibitions at Pataka Gallery (2011), Dunedin Public Art Gallery (2007 & 2006), Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2005), and in New Zealand Fashion Week in collaboration with WORLD (2003). His work has been included in the Biennale of Sydney (2010), Asia Pacific Triennial, Brisbane (2009), Prague Biennial (2005), and in exhibitions at PLUG-IN Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg (2011), Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (2007), and the Rarotongan Cultural Centre (2003), as well as public institutions throughout New Zealand and Australia. He was recipient of the New York International Studio Curatorial Programme Development Prize in the Wallace Art Awards (2005), a finalist in the Castteleon City Arts Council Arts Prize, Spain (2005) and the Moet et Chandon Arts Fellowship in Avize, France (1997).
Andrew Clifford is Curator at The University of Auckland’s Centre for Art Research, which manages the Gus Fisher Gallery and The University of Auckland Art Collection. He is also a freelance writer with essays in recent books on Sean Kerr, New Zealand music and black in New Zealand culture, as well as regular contributions to magazines and journals. Recent exhibitions include Auckland Council’s Living Room 2011: Metropolis Dreaming, Sean Kerr’s Bruce danced if Victoria Sang..., and the touring Pat Hanly show, The Seven Ages of Man. He is currently a board member for the Audio Foundation.
Reuben Paterson appears courtesy of Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland, Nellie Castan Gallery, Melbourne and Milford Galleries, Dunedin.
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