In From The Garden

Reviews/Reports 02.08.09

I must admit I was immediately interested in this exhibition by the title, given my fascination for the human predilection for moving plants about.  Getting off work early and running through the rain along Ponsonby Road to Objectspace on the last day of the exhibition was utterly worth it though.

With ‘garden’ in mind I went straight for Renee Bevan’s brooches, the most literally ‘garden’ inspired works in the show.  Layers of wood built up to form an abstracted three dimensional rose combined with kitschy stuck on rose imagery form an interesting re-representation of cultivated nature.

Near by were  the meticulous wooden creations of Ben Pearce.  His miniature villages and abodes  hinting at the lives of unseen occupants were beguiling, and his evident craftsmanship in creating tin cans from timber was impressive.

The work of Blue Black was certainly the most difficult to reconcile with any of my preconceptions of craft or design, and as such was some of the most interesting work in the show.  On first inspection I could only describe the brightly glazed ceramic forms hanging from their makeshift steel gantry as grotesque, but was surprised to find the more time I gave them the more they transformed into intriguing individual characters.  Maybe there is some deep life lesson here!

Certainly the most deliberate work in the show was ‘In Harm’s Way?’ by Victoria McIntosh.  Her tableau of carefully selected found objects got straight to the point, provoking a discussion of our origins and development as people.  I found the cupcake tin brooches included very satisfying as objects and interesting in terms of the semiotic potential of the materials used.