Jan 26 - 17 Feb, 2018
Brenda Nightingale’s new show is simply called Water. Two distinct lines of research inform it: the modernist pots of senior Wellington potter Jill Bagnall; and supermarket trolleys as used by the homeless for portage and shelter.
The notion of vessel is also important here. Enjoyed in Bagnall’s ceramics and Picasso’s too, the fluidity of Nightingale’s drawings animate the first space of this exhibition. They are often richly coloured and playful, and conjured in a variously brushed mix of watercolour and acrylic on paper. Their movement is a lovely counter to the weightier geometries of the significantly modified trolleys. Re-welded and beautifully lined with blue tiles grouted onto cement board, these unlikely objects feel like spa pools for the homeless or baby baths for the rich. Filled with water, we are reminded that this pristine element is an increasingly rare thing, fraught now with issues of ownership, exploitation and commerce. In New Zealand, its consumption is a democratic right, a civic responsibility. But who is really looking after the ledger of profit and loss?
Paintings on linen round out the show in the smaller back gallery. Vessels dominate consistent centrally-focused compositions. However, it is the treatment of edge, sometimes layered and at other times cut-in, along with tonal scumbling of rich colour ranging from blue to yellow, orange and red, which give this suite of painting a singular haunting insistence quite different from the rest.
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List of works
Trolley 1 – 3 cement board & glass tiles on abandoned trolley 1050 x 660 x 1020mm
Water I – XIV acrylic & watercolour on Fabriano 200gsm cotton 480 x 380mm & 380 x 270mm
Water 1 acrylic on linen 400 x 300mm $1800
Water 14 acrylic on linen 800 x 600mm $3000
All works are from 2018