Friday, March 27, 2015

Show and tell

The survey exhibition that curator Maud Page and Michael Parekowhai have put together in Brisbane is extraordinary. And that’s just from a quick look during the last minute rush to get finished for the opening tonight. The space GOMA has dedicated to the show is immense. Parekowhai has got to be one of the few New Zealand (or Australian) artists who could manage both the scale and the volume of these cavernous spaces. He’s done it by carving out three large areas. The opening space is dominated by a full-scale, two-storey house (the original can be seen in Sandringham, Auckland) that shows off the most recent work in the exhibition - an oversized, stainless steel sculpture of Captain James Cook. Loosely based on the famous Nathaniel Dance painting, it traces a full circle for Parekowhai back to one of his first works, The Indefinite Article, which was a 3D version of Colin McCahon’s 1954 painting I am. The middle section of GOMA is marked off by a massive version of the Cuisenaire wall that featured in The far side exhibition at Michael Lett in 2011. Behind the wall is an idiosyncratic survey of Parekowhai’s work mixing up work from different periods in a series of domestically-sized rooms. And then it’s into a huge, almost empty space with the carved red piano He Korero Purakau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: Story of a New Zealand river and an elaborate neon sign. We’ll be at the opening tonight and will post photos on Twitter and Facebook as soon as we can.

Image: catalogue for the exhibition Michael Parekowhai: The Promised Land at the Gallery of Modern Art at the Queensland Art Gallery and The English Channel a stainless steel sculpture of Captain Cook.