The Wet Room

February 03 - 28, 2009

Neil Pardington

Neil Pardington continues his fascination with collections and collection areas in his new exhibition The Wet Room, at Jonathan Smart Gallery until February 28. 


Land Vertebrates Store #1


Building 355 #1These photographs are part of Pardington's ongoing body of works entitled The Vault, which will be shown in its entirety at Christchurch Art Gallery from November 5, 2009.

In Pardington's words, "this series focuses on the places we store those things that are most precious to us, and conversely those very similar spaces we store the obsolete and unwanted. In the process of making the work I have visited archives, museums, art galleries, banks and libraries."
Wet Room #1The works are now available in 3 sizes: 500 x 700mm, 1000 x 1200mm, & the much larger 1200 x 1500mm. Their presence is almost painterly. Purposeful depths of field and glossy surfaces enable an all-over sense of detail, while the central vanishing points (or tunnel-like compositions so enjoyed by Pardington) further enhance the embrace of this painterly view. Witness Building 355 #1: imagine the photographer with tripod, calmly astride a tank turret, capturing storage shed 1 replete with Te Rau Aroha, the canteen truck which served the Maori Battalion in Nth Africa during WWII.

Wet Room #2Photographs from the Wet Room at Otago Museum, exhibit a slightly different feel. Wet Room #2 offers the detail and care of placement typical of still life, whereas Wet Room #1 shares some of the Gothic qualities of Quattrocento Dutch painting. The colour of the tiny deer specimens and their cramped angularity recalls the grotesque in Flemish painting, while the thick, tactile quality of the glass that encases them adds richness and suggestion.

The visual impact of The Vault series is undeniable. We are given access to spaces and objects rarely made public, from a viewpoint that may appear detached, but which also evokes the bizarre and the poignant. According to Pardington, "These images have their own rhythm, or beat, as the stacks grow or shrink and gleam in their dark stores. There is a redolence of a different kind - the collected culture and history of those things we deem important enough to keep, and those we too easily discard. And in the end we may wonder which tells us more about ourselves."

Selected works

Building 355 #1, National Army Museum Te Mata Toa 2008,  1200 x 1500mm


Entomology Store #1, Auckland Museum 2008,  1200 x 1500mm


Herbarium Corridor #1, Auckland Museum 2008,  1200 x 1500mm


Land Vertebrates Store #3, Auckland Museum 2008,  1200 x 1500mm


Natural Sciences Dry Store #1, Otago Museum 2008,  1300 x 1200mm


Polynesian Spear Storage, Otago Museum 2008,  1200 x 1500mm


Wet Room #1, Otago Museum 2008,  1200 x 1500mm


Wet Room #2, Otago Museum 2008,  1500 x 1200mm


Wet Room #3, Otago Museum 2008,  1200 x 1500mm


Land Vertebrates Store #1, Auckland Museum 2008, 1200 x 2215mm

All works are LED prints on Fuji Crystal Archive paper, cold mounted onto Dibond.
Each has an edition of 15.
The works are available in two other sizes:
1000 x 1200mm, cold mounted onto Dibond
500 x 700mm, unmounted