Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Room to move

Where do you go to see some contemporary NZ art? Los Angeles is one place thanks to a project being run by artist and cultural entrepreneur Fiona Connor. In her space Laurel Doody (ok front room) in midtown LA, she has presented some outstanding projects and developed an intimate style of conversations around art that is all her own. Laurel Doody has attracted a surprising amount of attention and commentary in LA with its casual seriousness. The mode tends to installation but graphic designers, film makers and writers are in the mix and the windows are determinedly kept wide open to the street in case something interesting blows by. 

Kate Newby certainly made the most of this inside-outside (and very LA) flow. When we were there a few days ago a wind chime was suspended between the tree outside and the kitchen window, the front of the main room was partly covered in a couple of hundred ‘Newbyed’ bricks, and honey-coloured wax stained with pollen from stamens puddled on the floor. Connecting other artists to facilities, materials and conversations is what Connor prides herself on. She and Newby worked at the last remaining brickworks just outside LA making custom bricks for the Laurel Doody work. Bricks were taken off the production line to be drilled, scraped, inset with glass and metal, chipped, abraded and then returned to the line for firing. The results are fluid as the various materials react to each other and leaves and bugs from outside find new places to settle. Next month Nick Austin has the space. 'So where do the 200 bricks go?’ we asked Fiona. 'Nick’s show will be rad', was the answer.

Images: Kate Newby installation at Laurel Doody