Spring is here and its irrepressible bursts of warmth, joy, and beauty aremuch welcome visitors. Spring encourages us to pause in the sun, gather those we love, and move forward. This month’s picks are a diverse range of exhibitions that burst open the city’s art spaces with timely thinking, making, and events. Cast aside that memory of Zoom-like depersonalised experiences and encounter art that celebrates the tactile, the poetic, the resilient, the personal, and the imprint of the artist’s hand.
Spring is a season of renewal and, as we’ve seen recently, people and communities are nothing if not adaptable to change. Presenting the work of 16 local and international artists, DE-celerate reflects an unprecedented but shared experience of lockdown/isolation. Attempting to capture fluctuations in artists’ thinking during this time, the exhibition explores how ways of doing, thinking, and being in the world might shift. The global pandemic has proven to us beyond all doubt that we live in an interconnected world, but did we learn anything? Are we ready to decelerate and consider how to live with more empathy and compassion and less materialism? The exhibition is accompanied by activations and events, check website.
Sayed Ali Karam Jawhary The Reed Pen’s Tale Continues: To Be One In Heart
Part of Auckland’s resettled community, Afghani-born artist Sayed Ali Karam Jawhary brings together the contemporary and the calligraphic. A flowing and dynamic artform, calligraphy is a highly respected artistic and literary tradition of the Middle East, rich in visual and compositional impact. In Jawhary’s exhibition a relationship between calligraphy and Persian poetry emerges, bringing to life the words and philosophy of poets including Rumi and Hafiz as well as classical musicians from the region. If 2020 needs anything, it might well be the strong message of compassion, kindness, and common humanity that this beautiful work offers.
In the mid 1970s Peter Hawkesby made the audacious choice to lose the potter’s wheel and make ceramics by any other means. In doing so he explored clay as a means of expression, rather than ceramics as a discipline. An artist who has consistently defied the constraints and expectations of his medium, Hawkesby has fashioned an individual approach characterised by a sculptural sensibility and an insistence on the incomparability of ‘touch’. Bold, colourful, and intriguingly curious with a lexicon of its own, don’t miss this exhibition which tracks the range and depth of Hawkesby’s production since his return to full-time making in 2015.
The legendary annual exhibition of Muka Studio lithographs returns to Auckland this November. Believing the best way to make young people acquainted with contemporary art is to get real works of art in their hands and at affordable prices, Muka offers original lithographs from international artists exclusively to those 5–18 years old. Hiding artists’ names and letting young people connect with works that speak to them, the event encourages budding art collectors to spend time with art without adults around and choose with their eyes and hearts. Unframed works $80, DIY frames can be ordered for an additional $80. No adults allowed! Under 19s only.
Get in quick to see this visceral and stirring performance by New Zealand-born artist Alicia Frankovich. Remember when skies over Auckland darkened, turning orange this past January as a 5.5 million square kilometre expanse of smoke from Australia’s wildfires blew across the Tasman? Frankovich was in Canberra and her firsthand experience of that unfolding and devastating tragedy inspired this new work. AQI2020 sees choreographed movements based on source material including experiences, anecdotes, and images from the fires performed inside a transparent orange box that echoes daylight distilled through a smoke-filled sky. Performed daily 11.30am–3.30pm at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki until Sunday 8 November. Evening performance 5–9pm on 6 November.
Victoria McIntosh & Kelly MacDonald, Modified for Display
Objects carry power and sometimes the most ordinary or humble item can capture an entire world, reflecting on personal or social context as much as it exists as a thing of creativity. These two contemporary jewellers see the body as both site and subject. Victoria McIntosh pits artisanal processes against industrial fabrication using a combination of precious and everyday materials. Items such as a sugar bowl, vintage underwear, pearls, and embroidery combine to create intriguing and elegant items you’ll covet. Kelly McDonald celebrates the domestic, discarded, and industrial. Exploiting the symbolic power and functional possibilities of utilitarian objects, she reimagines them as unique items of jewellery. Turn Me On is reworked from a steel and chrome plated brass light switch into a striking brooch that deconstructs place and purpose.