SatARTday!

Ronnie van Hout's Quasi on the roof of Christchurch Art Gallery.

Spring has certainly sprung this week, the weather has been stunning! I have missed the winter though, I feel like we didn’t experience much of it in the east of the country. However, the lack of a proper winter won’t stop me from enjoying the spring.

James and I had a bit of a spring in our step on Saturday so we decided to have a bit of an art crawl. There are plenty of great little gallery spaces to visit around Christchurch and I try to make the most of opportunities to visit them when I am not working. We popped into Chambers to view the current group show Battersea, which I really enjoyed as a whole. I particularly liked Tim Middleton’s work Command and Thomas Hancock's three works depicting objects in a minimalist fashion. Check them out when you get the chance, the show runs until 10th September. 

The National gallery next door to Chambers has a really visually captivating show on at the moment by Crystal Chain Gang duo, Leanne Williams and Jim Dennison, who are contemporary cast glass artists. This is their second solo exhibition at The National. There’s a lot to behold in each work, so be sure to take a closer look. My favourite piece was Ground Control, it has somewhat of a kinetic quality to it, frozen in time.  I love how they have successfully used plaster and glass together, it creates a very alluring aesthetic. Along the way we also took in some street art around the city, there is so much to see. One of my favourites is the Flox mural on Welles St. It is a sumptuous display of colour and design.

Detail: Wild South- Young Mountains by Scott Flanagan

Next up was CoCA. It was great to see so many people enjoying the gallery and so many families too. There were several works that I spent a while with; among them Jacquelyn Greenbank's shame poles Squatch, Scott Flanagan’s Wild South- Young Mountains, (Detail pictured above) and Tim J. Veling’s D,P,O., (which I found very moving). Follow the links below to learn more about these fascinating works or better still, go check out the exhibition. If you haven't been to CoCA since the reopening you won't be disappointed by the commanding space.

http://www.coca.org.nz/exhibitions/contemporary-christchurch/squatch/

http://www.coca.org.nz/exhibitions/contemporary-christchurch/wild-south-young-mountains/

http://www.coca.org.nz/exhibitions/contemporary-christchurch/dpo-2014/

We finished up at Christchurch Art Gallery, which is always a pleasure to walk though. I have been hoping to visit again since the July opening of Fiona Pardington’s impressive display of work. Where did the time go! I was thrilled to finally see the show and I intend to go again before it ends in early November. There's a vast array of her photography and different bodies of work from over the years, prepare to spend a while there if you want to take it all in.

Upstairs, the Christchurch art gallery currently have a show on that is of particular interest to me and my continuing body of work. Bad Hair Day focuses on- you guessed it- human hair! Through the variety of work selected for the exhibition it investigates visually the nature of hair, how this affects human behaviour etc. albeit in a very lighthearted manner that only scratches the surface of what I know to be a very rich topic of discussion.  I enjoyed the interactive aspect of the exhibition which, despite the fact that it was aimed at children could equally pique adults interest and opinions. The interactive aspect took its form in several printed A5 cards available to take away and which had various artworks from the exhibition on the front of the card. On the back of each card is information about the featured artwork and a short questionnaire or activity to participate in, either at the gallery or later at home. So, it is a great show to take kids to and open their minds a bit, particularly about a subject that rarely gets much attention.

All in all it was a great day out! I'd love to repeat it once a month and visit a few more galleries next time. As you can probably tell I enjoy a wide variety of art, I feel in good stock of inspiration...

Reflection in Scott Flanagan's work: Wild South- Young Mountains. I am taking in Tim J. Veling’s D,P,O. Image captured at CoCA.

Update: Pipe Series

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2016. From left to right: Pipe #1, Settle and Pipe #2. (Ink on paper). Private Collection

Recently I have taken part in two exhibitions that were in conjunction with the fantastic First Thursdays event. I was very excited to be included in both the Alchemists and Vessel exhibitions, amongst other artists I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for. Both exhibitions opened Thursday 4th August. The First Thursday event itself was a great success with a very large and enthusiastic turnout. The night market that was held at The Colombo mall was one of the best yet and the atmosphere was a buzz of fun and excitement. It was great to see so many familiar faces, creatives and artisans and hear all of the positive feedback. It was a personal success for me with all three of the works I had entered for The Alchemists show selling (as seen in the photograph above). I feel humbled every time I sell a piece. I hope these works will bring much enjoyment and conversation to the new owners. They were certainly a joy for me to make and are part of an ongoing series I am currently working on, there will be more to come soon and I look forward to sharing this with you. For now, I am getting close to the point where I need to take a personal break for some rest and contemplation. All will become clear toward the end of the year when I hope to start preparing for more exhibitions again. I will still tick away with work when I can until then, but not to the extent that I have been through out the year. 

As so many of you are personally aware it can very challenging working full time whilst trying to keep your art practice alive, but I will always need to "make," it's a huge part of who I am. So, I look forward to the next First Thursdays event (which I believe is due to take place in December?), whether I am able to have work exhibited or not I know I'll take pleasure in the event itself and all of the other great exhibitions that are bound to be on around that time. Best wishes for now everyone and thanks again for all the support and positive feedback!

Abracadabra! First Thursdays 4th August is almost here!

Brave the cold weather and come along this week to another fantastic First Thursdays event! It promises to be a great night out with plenty to do, see and taste! There will be a diverse range of art to ponder, in addition to the night market, music and delicious food!
I am participating in two exhibitions; Alchemists at the Colombo, 363 Colombo Street and Vessel at Delana, 102 Buchan Street. Check out the posters and links below for more information. I hope to see you there...

http://firstthursdayschch.co.nz/news/2016/7/14/group-exhibition-the-alchemists

http://firstthursdayschch.co.nz/news/2016/7/14/group-exhibition-vessel

Vertigo Sea at CoCA

John Akomfrah, Vertigo Sea 2015

I really don't want to write too much about my experience of Vertigo Sea, as it is a show I think people need to go and see and experience for themselves, so I'll keep it short.
From the promotional material that has been floating about for the last few weeks in anticipation of Vertigo sea I had been really been looking forward to attending this exhibition. I was so affected by the visually stunning imagery, the score and the occasional audio that I had to go back again for a second viewing. The way Vertigo Sea is shown using three large screens to display three sets of related imagery transcends the work from a stunning film in the traditional sense to more of an immersive experience. Your attention is diverted from screen to screen in a some what jarring way that plays a large role in your emotive reactions to the work. The timeline and ticking clocks not only aid in the story telling, but the way I received these tools was as though there was a message they were conveying. Time is ticking and we as humans may have the power to change where is leads us. Go and experience Vertigo Sea, make your own mind up about it, I am sure you'll be blown away and moved by the juxtaposing beauty and horror of the imagery before you.

 

De-compose Exhibition

Come along at 5:30pm tomorrow evening to the Artbox for two opening exhibitions: Ko Tāku Kupu Ko Tāu / My Word is Yours and De-compose. I will be participating in the De-compose group exhibition in the small gallery alongside Stefan Roberts, Deborah Marshall and Mark McEntyre. It will be a fun night and I hope to see you there.

CoCA Exhibition Preview 11/02/16

Last Thursday I spent the day working, whilst impatiently anticipating the Centre of Contemporary Art exhibition preview of 'Precarious Balance', which would take place that evening. I felt very lucky to have received an invitation and couldn't stop thinking about the event all day. My hopes were not deflated when at last I was able to walk through the doors of the new CoCA, it did not disappoint. CoCA proves that some of the most horrible and tragic events can indeed lead to great and better things. CoCA was my favourite gallery space in Christchurch before the February earthquake in 2011 and now, five years on it is even better than before. A space that has a majestic feel to it and so much light! I felt inspired and emotional to be in that special space again and see it reformed into something greater than it was before. Precarious Balance wowed me and judging by the looks on the rest of the audiences faces, I was not alone.

As I walked up the stairs to the main gallery I was first greeted by the sight of two performers; a man and women harmoniously using the weight of one another to precariously balance (sorry, I couldn't resist!), whilst offering wine to enthralled viewers as they passed by. Then I was struck by the work and how ingenious the idea was to incorporate such performers into the gallery space. There were other performers present, such as a very elegant ballerina and in the tiny glass room above the stairs, two performers used there movement and weight to counteract the other using what resembled some kind of arched spring board. 

The exhibition could not be more significant to Christchurch and obviously the gallery itself. It reflects the last five years of flux and uncertainty that Christchurch has been through, and after yesterday’s 5.7 quake, continues to experience. But for me it also questioned the uncertainty of the future with a positivity, vigour and humour. Like so many others, I feel tremendously excited that we have another wonderful gallery in Christchurch and excited at the possibilities it offers for the art community here, but also the wider community of Christchurch. After all, the new CoCA is a space for everyone, so please go along and enjoy all it has to offer. 

Whilst I enjoyed the exhibition as a whole, I would recommend that there are some works worth paying particular attention to. Storm Sequence, 2000 by Shaun Gladwell is a captivating moving imagery piece that I found hard to take my eyes off. Shaun performs tricks on his skateboard, but it is the effect slow motion plays on your senses that really makes the work so successful. I felt a tense anxiety, wondering if Shaun would complete the next move or if he would miss it. If he missed it, what would the consequence be? The work is an experience akin to the uncertain times we have experienced in our city, albeit on a smaller scale. The oncoming storm is the perfect backdrop.

Big Yellow by Richard Maloy is on the face of it a fun, bright and happy work that immediately made me reminisce about my childhood love of building dens. For me there is also connection to the changing city with the rebuild in full flow. The way that this work has been constructed ensures Big Yellow is far from static. The work has an energy and vibration that makes the way that you move around it envelop you, you become an active participant. Take a walk around the work, peek through its peep holes and you will understand what I mean With the ongoing vision of CoCA I felt it was a particularly successful work.

I also felt a strong connection to Untitled M1 (Brimham Rocks), by Abigail Reynolds. I was sucked in by the initial aesthetic pleasure the work affords. When I realised on closer inspection there is more at play this only increased the enjoyment of examining the work. What lies beneath?  As I discovered imagery emerging from beneath the top surface I reflected on the many landmarks and spaces around Christchurch, what they used to be, what they are now and how they have changed. CoCA is part of that.

I must stress that all of the works that make up 'Precarious Balance' are worth thorough interaction with and you will have your own favourites.  CoCA offers the perfect space to share this type of work with the Christchurch community and draw in audiences from further afield. I can't wait to see what they have on offer next.

Settle

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2016. Settle. (Ink on paper). Private Collection

Here is a recent finished work. I am making some large scale works in this series that are very intricate and time intensive. Check back next week for another update...

Settle detail 2016

Settle detail 2016

Exhibition Shots

Lara Mumby-Croft, Closer Look Series at the Smallville exhibition in Christchuch, 2015.

Lara Mumby-Croft, One and Many at the Smallville exhibition in Christchuch, 2015.

Here's a few exhibition shots from my last two group shows that took place at the end of last year. I have been keeping busy creating new works for the last couple of weeks and will post some new work next week...

An Eerie Happening...

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2015. Banshee Cardigan Strand. (Digital photograph) Collection of the artist

The strangest thing happened to me today, I will explain...
This week I needed to buy a new cardigan and with my busy schedule I didn't have the time to go out shopping and look for one, so I did what many other people do and I looked online. I found the perfect red cardigan and ordered it. It arrived promptly and I washed it as I do with all new clothing before I wear. Whilst hanging it out to dry in the gorgeous sunshine today I noticed what I thought was a stray piece of dark string that appeared to be caught around a button. Upon closer inspection and to my complete horror, I realised that it was a very dark strand of human hair (yes, after all this time working with human hair, it still makes me gag) . Worse still, it was not one of my own hairs, as I have recently had it all chopped off and the strand was too long and dark to be mine. I unbuttoned the cardigan to try to release the hair from around the button, only to discover it has actually been sewn into the button hole. I immediately grabbed my camera and started to photograph this. It seems so strange to me that this has happened to me of all people. Yes, I am sure these things happen from time to time, but as you are probably well aware, I have been reading about hair theoretically, scientifically and researching generally into human hair for a long time. Not to mention my interest into the cultural beliefs that surround hair and the transition that occurs when hair goes from attached to detached resulting in judgmental changes from beautiful to abject. So, to have this happen to me of all people seems a little poetic, or maybe I am reading too much into it? The photographs I have taken just happen to bare resemblance to the Banshee series of photographs I made a couple of years ago. It is all so convenient, as red has been a recurring colour in my work and I am quite taken aback by these coincidences, take a look for yourselves...

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2015. Banshee Cardigan 1. (Digital photograph). Collection of the artist

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2013. Banshee Series #111. (Digital photograph). Collection of the artist

 

The last three months I have struggled to make new work, due to lots of overtime at my job, but now it looks like I may have some free time coming up to make new work. I feel this couldn't have happened at a better time and I feel strangely inclined to work on this. In the last month I have also started writing about a subject heavily related to human hair, so I am looking forward to adding this entry to my second chapter. I look forward to making some new work and putting those three months of thinking into some physical work for people to contemplate... watch this space! I am not finished with hair, or maybe hair is not finished with me?

Smile

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2015. Smile. (Pen and ink on Bristol board). Collection of the artist

It has been another busy month, as always! Here's a brief update on what I have been up to...
I was part of the First Thursdays event in Sydenham at the beginning of the month, which was a great night. As part of the event I had work in the Solid Gold Vol. ll exhibition (as seen in the photo below). I have also been very busy at my full time job, plus I had a commission to make, which was lots of fun (Fonzo seen in the image below). Today I have been working on some drawings that I will donate to the Gynaecological Cancer Foundation for their fundraising gala in September. I also have a huge busy month coming up with my job, so I am not sure how much work I will be able to make. Hopefully August will be a calmer month and I can busy myself with making some new work, but for now I can't complain, I am making the most of the business!

 

Image from Solid Gold Vol. II exhibition, 2015

Image from Solid Gold Vol. II exhibition, 2015

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2015. Fonzo (pencil and ink on paper). Private collection

Paper, Scissors, Rock 'n' Roll!

First Thursdays Paper Scissors Rock n' Roll is on next Thursday 4th June! Very much looking forward to this great night out. I will have work in the Solid Gold Vol. II exhibition. Please come along and share in the fun!

CoCA Visit

Today I went along to CoCA to to meet with Claire (Gallery manager) about the next stage of volunteering and I was happy to meet Paula Orrell (Director and Principle Curator) for the first time as well. Whilst there I took the opportunity to have another tour around the gallery space. It has been a while since my last visit to CoCA in February, so today I was very much excited by how much progress has been made. You can see the difference by making a comparison between the pictures I posted in February and the pictures attached to this post, follow the link here:  http://www.laramumbycroft.com/myblog/2015/2/9/coca-tour

My eyes were repeatedly drawn to those beautiful skylights! As I said on my last tour, the sense of light is really something special. Now that more work has been carried out it is even more apparent how the light will flow through the main gallery space. The plans are very exciting and I believe the new CoCA really will captivate a wide variety of audiences. We don't have too much longer to wait until CoCA opens later this year...

Golden Light on Human Thread- Study

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2015. Golden Light on Human Thread- Study (Acrylic ink and gouache on paper). Collection of the artist

Here is Golden Light on Human Thread, finished! It is a study for a larger work I am intending to start this week. However, I also have several small studies that I have already begun and would like to continue with. I will be upscaling my work in a variety of ways, so watch this space!

New Work

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2015. Copper Top (Ink and Gouache on paper). Collection of the artist

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2015. Copper Top (Ink and Gouache on paper). Collection of the artist

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2015. Golden Girl (Ink and Gouache on paper). Collection of the artist

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2015. Golden Girl (Ink and Gouache on paper). Collection of the artist

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2015. Jolene (Ink and Gouache on paper). Collection of the artist

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2015. Jolene (Ink and Gouache on paper). Collection of the artist

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2015. Golden Color Smash (Ink and Gouache on paper). Collection of the artist

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2015. Golden Color Smash (Ink and Gouache on paper). Collection of the artist

Well, as usual, the last couple of months have been very busy. Last month I was part of Anatomy, a group show at Matchbox Studios in Wellington and recently I have been creating lots of new work. I am working with ideas surrounding the adornment of human hair. I have begun to introduce iridescent pigments that convey an opulence. This adds to the transcendence of waste human hair as a material to create art works with a complex irony. I have lots of work prepped to go, so I'll be posting some new work soon...

Through the Glass Ceiling Exhibition at Tin Palace

If you haven't been along to see Through the Glass Ceiling exhibition at the Tin Palace in Lyttelton, I would recommend going along. I finally had the chance to go on Saturday and really enjoyed my visit. The portraits by Julia Holden have a lovely effortless quality about them and the incredible women they portray broke conventions in their time. Women such as suffragette Kate Sheppard, whom not only had great impact on women's suffrage in New Zealand, but also had impact in other countries and graces the face of the New Zealand ten dollar note. The most impressive and impactful part of the exhibition was the Women's refuge sculpture of Kate Sheppard. The sculpture is made of glass layered resin and has messages engraved on each layer. It was designed and made by Propeller Studios in Wellington and was supposed to go on display for three months at Parliament, I hope that one day it will get there, it certainly deserves to. Well done on Tin Palace for bringing it to Christchurch.  

Examining the Strand

Lara Mumby-Croft. 2015. Examining the Strand series (Digital photograph). Collection of the artist

From today onwards I have six days booked off work, they are spread over two weeks, which should hopefully mean I can get lot's of new work started. I am determined to be positive, despite a poor start to my two week art schedule. In spite of working very hard today on a variety of ideas, I have very little to show for it. I worked on some drawings of hair that were along the same lines as the photographs seen above, but they seemed to have little to say. I also worked on a painting I started a while ago, but that resulted in irredeemable failure. I will have to paint over it and start something entirely new. 

I spent half the day examining a single strand of hair. I made some drawings of it and then took some photographs, as seen above. I was captivated by what I perceived to be an undervalued beauty. I am not sure if this observation will lead anywhere yet. 

Despite the failures I did enjoy the actual process of making today. Tomorrow is a new day and I will strive to do better! There is always something positive to learn from mistakes, hopefully I won't make the same ones again. 

New Studio

After nearly eighteen months of having no creative space or area to work in I finally have a somewhere I can go to be actively creative. It has been difficult trying to keep my practice flowing at the kitchen table, with no storage and lots of annoying distractions around me. Believe me, I know I was just one of many in this situation, but with the help of my husband James, I have turned the spare bedroom in our little flat into a small art studio. James made the storage units for me. I have an A3 sized unit that sits on top of our desk and a much larger A0 storage unit to keep my larger drawings, paintings and framed works safe. I am have started making new works and have a couple of weeks booked off to seriously get a flow of new work started. It is very exciting and I can't wait to share some of it with you.

It is amazing how so much has changed in the two weeks since the art room was completed. I already have a list of ideas that I want to get started on. Compare this to the weeks before when I was beginning to become concerned that I was hitting a wall. Having a genuine creative environment to work in seems to have cleared a block and it just goes to show how important different work areas can be to productivity. I have my own little haven again and as I sit here writing this blog in my modest art studio I know it is the beginning of a new love affair!

CoCA Tour

As mentioned in my previous post I am currently volunteering for Centre of Contemporary Art, aka CoCA. Today I had the opportunity to visit the CoCA site, where great work is being carried out to refurbish the building. I felt a strange mix of emotions being inside CoCA again, it felt like such a long time ago since I was last there. Being inside brought back many memories and I felt inspired to see the work underway to create, what I believe is going to be a great gallery space that people are going to enjoy. I cannot wait to see the new CoCA and feel very happy to be a very small part of this stage of preparation.

Here are some photographs I took inside today (please forgive the poor quality, they were taken on my phone). I hope they will give you a feel for the space inside. Despite the grey weather today and the scaffolding blocking much of the light, I could really get a great sense of the natural light that will flow through the gallery when it is finished.

 CoCA is set to re-open later this year! Stay posted for more updates.